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Ampeg AMB1 Wood Reissue Bass Made In Japan

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Markamb1, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    I have been looking for this bass forever. I’ve looked through pictures and signed up for websites all over the world just to ask if the one they were selling on eBay, reverb,talk bass, mercantnio musicale actually sold or not...

    Mercantino is an Italian website, written in Italian, I guessed my way through the website in order to sign up. He still has the bass but seems not to want to sell internationally. I even asked if he’d sell it to a local shipping company who would send it to me.

    I have a Wanted ad on Kijiji, I have one on here. Although it seems to be in the wrong place or no one looks at Wanted ads. I’m at a dead end and I really want this bass. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Please help...if in no other way than just Not Complaining about this thread. I need this bass.
    Bass V likes this.
  2. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    I’d also like to know more about this bass. I’m curious about production numbers as it’s so hard to find and I have only ever seen one in person and never seen a single professional with one. I’ve played one so I know it’s a great bass with unique advantages and sound.... so why I’ve never seen a popular band with one... I have no idea.
  3. Bass V

    Bass V

    Dec 11, 2008
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I’ve never seen or even heard of these, and I doubt many others have either, so there's that.
    but it's a cool guitar, I'd try one if they were around, I like that they're ''light'' as opposed to the acrylic styles and it's a short scale. I know your frustration well, sometimes the easiest things manage to be anything but, I've even tapped the tb masses for help like you are as a last resort a couple of times and unfortunately met absurd resistance, I offer kudos for your disclaimer towards complainer trolls lol it seems to have kept the negative replies at bay and may help in keeping the focus on actually helping you get this bass. what that aid might be is concerning as you seem to have tried everything and all I can suggest is keep bumping this thread until a great idea pops out and works or someone spies one easily available and alerts you. it can happen!
  4. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    Thanks because I don’t know what else to do. I guess I could crash ever semi related thread. Amb and scroll bass....short scale bass....lots of clubs. Forums have changed since I was a kid. I used to be on taborama as forever ends tonight. Copyright over tablature rights shut it down.
  5. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    There was one for sale not long ago local, wanted about $900 iirc. Appears to be gone now.
  6. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    I think thats one of the talk bass people I contacted
  7. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I'm copying my post from the Love Of Ampegs part 2 thread. Here's some quick background on the SLM/Ampeg AMB1, for any of you who are interested:

    The instrument that you are looking for is the Ampeg AMB1 (no hyphen) which was sold by St. Louis Music from 1998 to about 2002. You probably know it already, but the AMB1 has no real relation to the Ampeg AMB-1 Scroll Bass, made by Ampeg from 1967-1969.

    The AMB1 wasn't Japanese; it was assembled here at SLM's plant in St. Louis from components made by several subcontracting companies. The project started in 1996, when SLM was preparing for Ampeg's 50th anniversary coming up in 1997. They decided to come out with a line of fairly faithful reproductions of several of Ampeg's classic basses from the 1960's. I got going with them developing a new version of the Scroll Basses, and Steve Azola got going on a new Baby Bass. Each of those are their own long stories. The whole idea was that these Classic Basses were short term promotional things. Not really expected to sell well or become steady product lines for Ampeg/SLM.

    SLM decided that they also wanted to bring out a fairly close replica of the Dan Armstrong Plexi bass from 1970. They initially looked for an overall subcontractor, but ended up building them in-house. They found one company to cast and machine the clear acrylic bodies, and another company to make the wood necks. And they had Dan and Kent Armstrong make up the pickups. Dan was still alive at that time, but was semi-retired. I believe that he designed the pickups, and his son Kent did most of the production.

    The new Plexi's (I forget what the official name was, offhand) were not an exact replica of the ones from the 1970's, but they were close. Some technical improvements, and some reviews said that they were actually better than the originals. The first prototypes just made it to the 1997 NAMM show, along side my first two AEB-2's and Steve's Baby Basses. So, we had a grand old time at the big Ampeg 50th show in 1997.

    After the show was over, the push was off on all three of the Classic Bass models. SLM took some orders for them and passed them to myself and Steve. The replica Plexi's didn't sell very well, which disappointed them because they had invested a fair amount of their own money developing them. They had pre-ordered a lot of parts. Sometime, I believe in late 1997, someone suggested that the Plexi could be a pretty cool bass...if they just got rid of the acrylic body.

    That's where the AMB1 came from. They decided to make up a wood-bodied version of the replica Plexi bass. I believe that they had a different subcontractor (here in the US) make up the wood bodies. But the main point was to use up the extra stock of the Plexi necks, pickups and hardware that they had bought. Since the Plexi's just weren't selling. From what I understand the AMB1's sold better than the Plexi's, but still not well enough to really turn them into a steady production instrument.

    I don't know how many were built, but my guess is 200 to 300. The last ones were sold off by 2002 or 2003. If someone knows more, speak up.

    I never owned an AMB1, but I had a chance to try one out once or twice back in those days. I remember seeing them occasionally at Guitar Center. Not really my kind of thing, but it was a nice bass. Good quality construction and nice sound.

    So, I can't help you much in finding one. But, that's most of the story behind them. Keep watching the stores and listings.

    I just wish they hadn't named them AMB1. Too much confusion with our beloved AMB-1's.
    For reference here's an SLM/Ampeg AMB1:

    Ampeg AMB1.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  8. Axstar


    Jul 8, 2016
    East of Eden.
    I encountered these online, but went for a Chinese Dan Armstrong copy. I won't find out how foolish or otherwise this decision was for a while!

    The AMB1 reissue is an odd instrument. It reminds me of Dearmond's choice to reissue the Jet Star bass in the '90s. With the Dearmonds, the gumby outline was correct, but the sparkly pink and purple finishes were new. Oddly enough, sparkle pink and purple now look a bit too '90s and a bit too dated. A bit like Squier Vista Venus guitars, there was this odd little renaissance of '60s-style gear, but it was all weirdly chopped and blended and somehow very '90s looking. The AMB1 basses came in finishes that now look a bit too 'twenty years old', namely flamey maple tops or purply sparkle finishes.

    These days Ampeg/Yampeg would probably reissue the original plexi basses, though the lack of adjustable pickup or bridge height (or intonation) on the originals might need to be changed.
  9. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    Thanks Bruce. I have to ask though why they all have made in Japan on the back of the necks by the body and serial number? I love the flames finishes, burst, red and purple. I’d take solid colour too. There’s nothing 90s about quilted maple purple. I’m oddly partial to the purple then red then burst then flat...not into the sparkle but at this point I don’t care. Bruce if you can think of anyone from the past who might have a good line on these please contact them. I wish I knew anyone in Italy. That guy would sell it.
  10. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    Does anyone know how find a good mail forwarding service in abruzzo Italy...I’m not even sure how to find one anywhere but I could have sworn that years ago there was an eBay store started where people could have their items shipped. I would need a shipping company or a person willing to accept money, pay for the bass and ship it to me.
  11. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
  12. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    That's news to me. I'm pretty certain that in 1997-1998, they were all being made here in the US. I wasn't really talking much to the SLM guys after 1999. Maybe something changed after that? SLM had contacts and suppliers all over the world, so maybe they did find a builder in Japan. The AMB1's that I remember seeing and trying out were natural straight grain wood bodies, I think walnut? I've never seen one of the flame top bright gloss color ones up close.
  13. Markamb1


    Oct 24, 2018
    Good to know. Now I’d like to try both. The bass you showed as a reference looks like one of the Japanese ones. I’ve never seen a year earlier than 1999 for a Japanese.
  14. stuntbass77


    Nov 6, 2007
    I could read Bruce’s stories all day long, great source of knowledge!

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