Pickups in the 50s
Long time lurker posting again after many years.
I was talking to a friend who is of sufficient years to have heard jazz live in the 50s. He says he saw bass players with Stan Kenton using amps in the 50s, specifically Don Bagley, who posts on TalkBass. I was intrigued. Is this true? Were they using pickups, and if so, what? Or were they miking the bass? Or is my friend's memory addled?
I believe that Don used the original Ampeg which was a pickup built into a replacement end pin, ergo Amp Peg. A friend showed me one in an original box but I never heard what they sounded like. I was told they were very boomy.
Back in the 40's, deArmond came out with a bass pickup that was fitted between the tail piece and top table. We didn;t have bass amps back in those days, so they were used with guitar amps, or thru the PA systems. I used one for a short time back in the 50's. (still have it) They pretty much sounded like s**t. The Ampeg and the deArmand are the only 2 that I can remember from those days.
I used the L&K pickup in the '60s. It was a magnetic pickup that attached to the end of the fingerboard with a simple clamp. The underside of my bass's fingerboard bore the scars of the attachment clamp for years.
BTW, the pickup sounded terrible.
Nostalgia Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be
I remember hearing this pickup and the DeArmond. They pale in comparison to the microphones that were around in the 50's. Since Oscar, Don, and Chubby all played in big bands I can see that they might be appealing to those players.
I believe there are pictures of Jimmy Blanton standing directly in front of the microphone, at concerts in the late 30's and early 40's. Duke was apparently aware that this would make a difference projecting the bass out to the audience. What
I don't know is whether they just did this for his solos, or he used it all the time. Back in those days, there was usually only one mic on the stage. I found this picture of Oscar Pettiford and Lucky Thompson a while ago. Oscar has a mic for himself and he's playing with a bow!
You'll notice that there is an Ampeg Bass Amp directly behind him to the right.
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