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Who built the 1st elec. bass - Gibson in 1938

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by pfox14, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. pfox14

    pfox14

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    Yes, it's true. Gibson was the first company to manufacture an electric bass guitar in 1938. Although it was meant to be played upright like a bass viol, it is clearly Gibson's attempt to build a practical electric bass, based on a guitar body, complete with a Charlie Chistian-style pickup. It was never pictured in any Gibson catalog or brochure and apparently never made it into full production.

    Here it is:
    http://orgs.usd.edu/nmm/PluckedStrings/Guitars/Gibson/10474/GibsonUprightBass.html
    and here:
    http://www.vintageguitar.com/2006/gibson-1938-electric-bass/
  2. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

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    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    Tis true! I have seen this and read about the bass before. There take that Leo :bag:
  3. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

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  4. GBassNorth

    GBassNorth

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    Correct. Gibson may have built the first upright electric bass but not the first electric bass guitar.
  5. electracoyote

    electracoyote

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    That's why we must be careful to include the qualifier, "First successfully mass-produced electric bass guitar."

    Which was a Fender.

    Sure, lots of experiments, none of which were practical, cost-effective, or caught on with musicians and the general public. Not until Leo.

    I'm not sure even Leo Fender himself would be so arrogant as to claim he "invented" electric bass. Surely, he was aware that others had fooled with the concept long before he did.
  6. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 Supporting Member

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    I'm just having a little fun. ;) Never heard of this Paul Tutmarc guy, learn something new everyday.
  7. DogBone

    DogBone

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    There were quite a few attempts at early amplification of stringed instruments, including bass, it's not like Mr. Fender thought the entire concept up out of thin air.

    There were several early attempts by individuals and the larger musical instrument companies. Gibson, Rickenbacker, and Ampeg are notables that all had a workable electrically amplified bass instruments by the mid 1940s, but what these had in common was they were designed to be played like an upright.

    However, the instrument that we now know and love as the electric BASS GUITAR was originally called a "Fender Bass" for many years, and for good reason. ;)
  8. cnltb

    cnltb

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    I think tutmarc may have beaten that by a couple years...http://www.vintageguitar.com/1863/audiovox-736-2/
  9. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Audiovox 736 (c. 1936)

    Covered ad nauseam here on TB. "Search"

    [​IMG]

    Electric Upright (c. 1933) & Bass amp.

    [​IMG]

    Sheet from his Instrument Catalog of "mass produced" instruments.

    [​IMG]


    Decide for yourself.


    Leo F ripped off the idea. But so what.
  10. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

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    Yeahhh... I don't think so. Building a failed novelty instrument in the 30's doesn't make one a pioneer. Just like the guy that thought to put 2 tin cans on a piece of wire didn't invent the telephone.
  11. cnltb

    cnltb

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    Yupp...+1
  12. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Do your homework. Read a dictionary. Tell better jokes.

    Then Bloviate.
  13. smcd

    smcd Supporting Member

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    Is English your first language?
  14. Templar

    Templar Supporting Member

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    Yeah, and keep a synonym thesaurus handy so you can use cool words like "bloviate". lol
  15. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Supporting Member

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    "Ripped off" doesn't necessarily apply. A lot of these early pioneers of amplified instruments were working independently in regional markets on similar ideas, with only limited awareness of what other guys elsewhere in the country were doing. Tutmarc was in Seattle, 20 years earlier, didn't properly patent his ideas, and never got it widely marketed; Fender was working in California, later, and probably didn't have much awareness of Tutmarc's work.
  16. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Again, tell better jokes.
  17. bassteban

    bassteban

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    You wanna demonstrate? Dudes doing better than you ATM, just sayin... :)
  18. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Apparently, Tutmarc's son had published some catalog's prior to Leo F's earth-shaking invention, that were distributed nationally in various trade shows. One can only speculate, but Leo F et al had to have seen them - since they too were involved with these trade shows.

    Also, the Lap Steel businesses of the two were somewhat competitive at this time.

    Leo F. knew.
  19. Stick_Player

    Stick_Player

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    Want to join in the topic or stay annoying?
  20. jj4001

    jj4001 Supporting Member

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    :bassist::D:D:bassist:

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