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Bass History "Highlights" Timeline

bass clef image
  • 1490 : 6 & 7 string Bass Viola da Gamba from Silvestro Ganassi - Venice, Italy
  • Late 1500's : First Double Bass from Gasparo d'Salo - Italy
  • 1910 : Gibson builds for 20 years the Mando Bass (Acoustic Bass without amplification, 24" scale, 17 frets)
  • 1926 : First "Electric Upright" from Lloyd Loar
  • 1933 : Paul Tutmarc builds first amplified Bass guitar (article here)
  • 1935 : Audiovox Electric Bass Fiddle (article here)
  • 1936 : Rickenbacker Bedpost-Bass (something like a Electric Upright Bass)
  • 1939 : Serenader Bass from Paul Tutmarc
  • 1947 : Everett Hull builds a pick up for Double Basses (2 years later he founds AMPEG)
  • 1951 : Fender Precision Electric Bass from Leo Fender
  • 1952 : Kay Electric Bass
  • 1953 : Gibson EB-1 "Violin-Bass", a short scale Bass (Gibson's answer to the Precision)
  • 1953 : Hohner Fretless - Only 36 made it out before a fire destroyed the shop!
  • 1956 : Hofner's 500/1 Bass (Beatles Bass)
  • 1957 : New Design for the Fender Precision
  • 1957 : Rickenbacker 4000 (THE Rickenbacker)
  • 1958 : EB-2 (Semi-Acoustic Bass)
  • 1959 : First 6 string Bass UB1 from Danelectro (Tuning: E A D G B E)
  • 1959 : Gibson EB-0 (First Les Paul Junior Styling, later SG like styling)
  • 1960 : Fender Jazz Bass
  • 1960 : Gibson EB-6 6 string Bass (Tuning: E A D G B E)
  • 1960 : Danelectro's Longhorn Bass
  • 1962 : Fender VI (Tuning: E A D G B E)
  • 1962 : First active Bass BURNS TR2 built by English Guitar maker Jim Burns of London
  • 1963 : Gibson Thunderbird
  • 1964 : Fender V
  • 1965 : First fretless Bass Aubi from Ampeg
  • 1965 : Leo Fender sells his company to CBS
  • 1968 : Hagstroem 8 String Bass
  • 1969 : Dan Armstrong's See-thru clear acrylic bass from Ampeg
  • 1970 : Alembic founded
  • 1975 : Carl Thompson builds Piccolo Bass for Stanley Clarke
  • 1976 : Music Man StingRay designed by Leo Fender
  • 1976 : Rocket Science meets Bass Guitars. Aerospace Engineer/Bass Player Geoff Gould of Modulus is inspired to develop the industry's first Carbon Fiber necks.  Read more here.
  • 1977 : Rick Turner of Alembic, and Geoff Gould (above) present the first limited production (graphite neck) instruments at the National Association of Music Merchants convention.
  • 1978 : Hamer builds the first 12 string bass for Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick
  • 1978 : Carl Thompson builds the first 6 string fretless, later owned by Les Claypool
  • 1980 : Michael Tobias builds half-fretted bass (fretted to the 5th, then fretless) for Bob Greenlee
  • 1981 : Steinberger Bass and Status graphite bass were shown on Frankfurt Music Show
  • 1981 : Ken Smith builds the AJ6 - Anthony Jackson's 6 string (B E A D G C)
  • 1983 : Ibanez MC 924 "half and half" (fretted to the 12th fret then fretless)
  • 1981?: Leo Fender starts G&L Guitars
  • 1987 : Guild Ashbory with 22" scale and Silicon strings
  • 1987 : Michael Tobias builds his first* custom 7 string bass for Garry Goodman
  • 1989 : Double neck Basses from Le Fay (Dutch site) and Jerry Jones
  • 1993? : Christopher Willcox, head of LightWave Systems, begins optical pickup development.
  • 1997? : Conklin builds first double neck 7 string bass
  • 1998 : Warrior guitars builds the worlds first 15 string bass, a triple 5-string tuned Eee Aaa Ddd Ggg Ccc, in a collaborative project with Jauqo III-X.
    - Source 1 | Source 2 | Video 1 | Video 2
  • 2003 : Noguera YC Sub Bass - Designed and tuned one octave lower than normal (E - 20.6Hz)
  • 2004 : "Sub-Contra" Bass by Adler Guitar's artist, Jauqo III-X (Tuned C#,F#,B, E - low to high)
  • 2004 : 11 String bass by Michael Adler. Uses the C#00 (17hz) string. First played and currently owned by Garry Goodman.

Timeline Original Source: Leo's Bass Page

* This entry may or may not also be the entry for the world's first (electric) seven string bass guitar, period. We may never know for sure... Here is Mr. Tobias's own confirmation of that date:

That date is probably correct for Garry Goodman's bass.  That is the only one we ever did at Tobias.  I make a few 7 string basses at MTD but only about 3 per year.  The first 5 string bass I ever built was in 1979 for Bob Greenlee (then playing with Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change band).  I also built him a bass fretted to the 5th and fretless from there on in 1980.  Are theses industry firsts???  I have not a clue.

Nice site by the way!

Peace,
Michael Tobias
MTD (Michael Tobias Design)
voice: 1 845 246 0670
www.mtdbass.com



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