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5/6 string bass, What year invented and by who?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by cassanova, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I have to give a speech in my public speaking class and I'm doing it on the history and evolution of the electric bass guitar. I need to know what year the 5 and 6 string electric basses were invented and by whom. Ive been looking and cant find the info. Ive never been good at research. So if you happen to find it please post the link because I'll need to site my sources on my works sited page of the outline.
  2. Petary791


    Feb 20, 2005
    Michigan, USA
  3. BillytheBassist


    Aug 18, 2005
    <<<<< Just off the top of my head.Anthony Jackson was one of the first to play a 6 string bass.....You might do some research on him... And I believe Carl Thompson built one of the first 6's
  4. I don't know if he was first, but Flim Johnson (from Flim and the B.B.s) was one of the earliest to make great use a 5-string with a low B (an Alembic). And that was in the early 70s I think...
  5. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I found out the 6 string invention year. Still not sure who the exact person was that invented it, but thats ok. I have a company name and that'll work fine.

    I still cant find the invention year and by who on the 5 string bass.

    JAUQO III-X Inactive

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Do you mind showing us your find?the reason I ask is because there are a lot of misinformation floating around.
  7. I had always assumed it was Leo Fender in the 60's, remember the BassVI? 1961 - 1975 According to this site:
    Not many posts but a quick google found it.
    I never really considered it a bass, but it was. :)
  8. TBalls


    Mar 18, 2005
    The Bass VI is not a proper bass as we know them today -- it's really a baritone guitar of sorts.

    I believe the first modern 6-string (wide neck) was built by Ken Smith for Anthony Jackson (1981).
  9. I thought the 6 was invented by Carl Thompson. I think it credits him with it on his website.

    JAUQO III-X Inactive

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    Carl made Anthony Jackson's first 6 string bass and the first modern(non Fender 6 string baritone guitar,which is usually referred to as a 6 string bass)6 string electric Bass.In the very early 80's Anthony collaborated with luthier Ken Smith(the modern wide string spacing for 6 string Bass was one of the innovations that came out of it)and shortly after that when Vinne Fodera left Ken Smith he and Anthony collaborated on his 6 string bass concept that is still going strong today.and it was Carl Thompson who also gave us the first piccolo electric bass made for Stanley Clarke(an original concept of Clarke's).
  11. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    There was a Bass Player Magazine anniversary edition a few years ago that went through a list of bass "firsts". In it they credited Alembic with making the first usable 5 string basses and the Anthony Jackson / Ken Smith / Vinnie Fodera collaborations with development of the 6 string bass.



    JAUQO III-X Inactive

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    This is from a two part interview with Anthony Jackson from a few years ago with Bass Player Magazine(and he touches on Carl Thompson making his very first 6 string bass).

    Anthony Jackson Interview
    Part 1: Inspirations

    By Chris Jisi

    The electric bass guitar was a brilliant invention, but its acceptance came slowly. Although Monk Montgomery and a few other pioneers latched onto the early Fenders immediately, a decade went by before the instrument's first virtuoso, Motown sideman James Jamerson, gave it legitimacy and respectability. Inspired by Jamerson's brilliant-and uncredited-work, such stylists as Paul McCartney, John Entwistle, Jack Bruce, and Larry Graham brought the instrument center-stage in the late '60s.

    Over the past two decades, appreciation of the instrument's possibilities has elevated such modern masters as Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, Jeff Berlin, and Billy Sheehan to celebrity status. And yet, one of the most innovative and important bassists of our time has-like Jamerson-functioned primarily as a sideman, and he remains largely unknown to contemporary audiences. His name is Anthony Jackson.

    Driven purely by an unshakeable love for, and dedication to, music, Jackson has consistently broken down musical barriers. His mastery of various pick and fingerstyle techniques and startling ability to restructure instantly the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic direction of a piece of music mark him as an innovator of the highest order. Jackson has also conducted exhaustive research into the instrument's design and sonic reproduction, and his idea for a "contrabass guitar" predated the current boom in extended-range basses by nearly 20 years. Most important, as an artist, his refusal to compromise his integrity for popular trends has enabled him to retain his individuality in all musical situations.

    Anthony Jackson was born on June 23, 1952, in New York City, approximately one year after the introduction of the Fender bass. By age 12, his voracious listening habits, combined with a few years of "poking" at the piano, evolved into a desire to play the guitar. He started out on a standard 6-string but soon began to play bass guitar as well. By the time he was 16, he had moved to bass full-time, drawing from a diverse collection of musical mentors, chief among them James Jamerson, Jack Casady (of the Jefferson Airplane), and French modernist composer Olivier Messiaen.

    Jackson began to perform locally in 1966 and played on his first recording session in 1970. Two years later, he joined Billy Paul's band, receiving his first gold record for the hit "Me And Mrs. Jones." As a result, he started working regularly with the Philadelphia production team of Gamble and Huff. In 1973, he earned a writer's credit as well as an immediate reputation for his unforgettable bass line on the O'Jays' hit "For The Love Of Money." Shortly after, an informal demo session in New York for arranger Leon Pendarvis led to a session with pianist/singer Roberta Flack, and word of Jackson's sophisticated style spread quickly through the Big Apple's studio scene.

    A 13-month stint with Buddy Rich's sextet at the drummer's East Side club gave Jackson additional exposure. He then toured with both Flack and violinist Michael Urbaniak before the demands of session work kept him in town. Always one to disdain categorization, he nevertheless became known as a "studio musician," despite his seminal work with fusion artists such as Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, and John Scofield. (He also received an offer to join Weather Report in 1975.)

    After moving to Los Angeles in 1977, Anthony worked on projects with Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Tom Scott, and others. He returned to New York on the eve of what was to become a pivotal year, 1978. During the period that followed, he reached new technical and creative levels, resulting in some of the finest contemporary bass playing ever recorded, with such diverse artists as Chaka Khan (Naughty, What Cha' Gonna Do For Me), Steely Dan (Gaucho), Al Di Meola (Electric Rendezvous), Paul Simon (Greatest Hits, Etc.), Eyewitness (Modern Times), and Michel Camilo (In Trio).

    In 1975, Jackson "terrorized" luthier Carl Thompson into building his first contrabass guitar-a 6-string bass tuned (low to high) B, E, A, D, G, C -an idea he conceived while in his teens. Working with successive guitar makers to improve design and playability, he finally began playing the instrument exclusively in 1982.

    Although his uncompromising commitment to the contrabass guitar, his refusal to "mindlessly" slap and pop, and the increasing mechanization of music have led to unpredictable career turns, Jackson has remained immutably on course. Last year, he fulfilled a lifelong goal by paying homage to his mentor James Jamerson, contributing three transcriptions and a thoughtful analysis to the book Standing In The Shadows Of Motown: The Life And Music Of Legendary Bassist James Jamerson; he also performed one of his transcriptions on the accompanying tape. Recently, Jackson has fit the development of a new prototype contrabass guitar, his seventh, around projects with vocalists Amy Sky and Phoebe Snow, composer/pianist Carlos Franzetti, composer/drummer Roland Vasquez, composers Akiko Yano and Ryuichi Sakamoto, guitarist (and old friend) Lee Ritenour, drummers Dave Weckl and Simon Phillips, and a new edition of Eyewitness.

    Anthony Jackson has grown tired of addressing the same handful of "controversial" issues, such as his reluctance to slap or to record the obligatory solo album. Instead, in Part One of this interview, he traces the development of his style and instruments, a discussion that provides an eye-opening view of a number of important musicians and valuable insights into the history of the bass guitar.
  13. I bet Jean's name will be on there sooner or later, for the 12.
    Heheh, I didn't know you were on there Jauqo, you should have a certificate or something. "First REALLY Low Tuning"

    JAUQO III-X Inactive

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Thanks Drake,but it's not for the first really low tuning,I'm credited for my Sub contra bass concept( Low C# string and the instrument itself C# F# B E)and not to take anything from Jean but Mike Adler made the first 12 string electric Bass(that is owned by Garry Goodman)I'm also credited with conceiving the worlds first 15 string Bass(tripled 5 string).here's info on it and my Sub contra bass concept


  15. Wow, so you actually came up with the C# string, or made it a reality?
    I didn't know that about Adler, it only has him listed on that site for the 11 string (a feat in itself), not any of his other inventions.

    JAUQO III-X Inactive

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    No I came up with the Low C# string itself.
  17. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    IIRC, the Carl Thompson six that was made for Jackson was relatively unplayable because it had a 42" scale.
  18. 42' scale...isn't that in double bass territory? I understand the quest for great tone and stuff has to do with scale length, but that's just ridiculous...at least for an electric bass.
  19. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    I could be off by an inch or two, but that's what I remember it being. It was probably because they didn't know if they could get a low B string tight enough without a long scale (with the lack of available high-tension strings).

    Carl's big into long-scale basses anyways though- he's made several 38" electrics. Knuckle Basses has about 39" as it's standard.
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