Ampeg scroll basses (aeb-1, amb-1)

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by link wray, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. I find myself suddenly obsessed with Ampeg scroll basses. I think i must have seen one as a kid on television or something. I came across this bass on internet and something just went 'click' in my head: this is the perfect bass inside my head. This is the first time i have GAS: i enjoy playing bass, but i find most basses not very attractive to look at. The scroll bass is the exeption.
    Do any of you have one? please post some pictures or post your stories.
    Also, if someone knows if Bruce Johnson ( is still making the reissues, please reply.
  2. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    We need some pics in here, for the good of all TB!
  3. Yes please; to start of with, these are some of Bruce johnson's vintage basses:
  4. Well, i have to say, that's definately not my kind of bass, but hey, if you like it, then it's all good! Those just look a little bit too... i dunno, but they are just too weird for me.
  5. bigbajo60


    Nov 7, 2003
    Laredo, Texas
    As a senior in High School (many moons ago)... I had the opportunity to play a very modified Ampeg Scroll Bass in the school band's Jazz Ensemble. Being the "know-it-all" 17 year old I was, I played it with utter disdain, since it wasn't a Fender, or Gibson or Rickenbacker, or *insert Manufacturer of choice here*.

    Looking back on it all these years later... I have to admit it played very well and sounded very solid!

    But I remind myself and any other interested parties... it was very heavily modded (badass bridge, P-style pickup, etc.).

    As to the Bruce Johnson re-creations, I had seen those awhile back and thought them very interesting takes on the originals.
  6. X Wolf

    X Wolf Guest

    I am very familiar with Bruce Johnson's Basses. Go to Bruce's website to get a complete history of these basses and you will also find information on his current models which are updated and improved versions of the Scroll Head concept. Bruce is an engineer and also a Bass Player and he has a small factory in Burbank, California where he designs and builds Scroll Heads. I might add that Bruce is really a great guy and he will answer your questions, hint; it's better to give him a call rather than email.

    I played an original Ampeg AMB-1 Scroll Head from 1968 to 1976 and used it both live and in the studio and found it to record very well indeed. As far as the looks go I think it's beautiful, just my opinion. The new updated models look even better after Bruce's re-design, no I don't have any pictures but you can see them on his site. Also since I live within ten miles of his facility I have been able to visit his shop 2 or three times in the last few years.

    Definitely check out his site, it's really interesting!


    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    When i asked for info over the summer from Bruce this is what he sent , their is actually a few guys who do own them over hear but they dont post very much. Yeah i have GAS for one of these basses from Bruce.

    The next available AEB-2/AUB-2 Scroll Basses right now are in the batch
    which will be completed in the spring/summer of 2006. I don't have any
    in stock, other than a few of my own personal player/demonstrators.
    a few of my Scroll Basses have ever been sold by their original owners,
    so used ones aren't available. Over the years, I've taken a few of my
    earlier instruments back as trade-ins against newer models, but that's

    The current price for an AEB-2 or AUB-2 Series IV Scroll Bass is
    US$3400. This includes your choice of color scheme, custom case, and
    shipping within the US. Because of my backlog and uncertainty of
    delivery schedule, a small deposit of $100 is all that's necessary to
    reserve your place in the schedule. This deposit is fully refundable if
    you change your mind. Check, Money Order, or PayPal (to are fine. The balance is due when your bass is
    ready to ship. Let me know if you want to put your name on one.

    I've been building the Scroll Basses for 8 years now, and I'm
    to develop the design. My web site is way out of date. I'm just
    finishing up the development of the new Series IV model of the
    AEB-2/AUB-2 Scroll Bass, and I don't have any pictures of them yet. The
    instruments shown on my web site are the Series III's, which I built
    from 2001 to 2004. When the first Series IV's are finished sometime
    summer, I'll be doing a major update on my site.

    The new Series IV models will be the best yet of the Scroll Bass
    I've put many new features into them, including a new pickup system
    which combines a main pickup in the center of the body with a
    new-generation version of Ampeg's "mystery" pickup under the bridge.
    percussive thump of the mystery pickup can be blended in with the warm
    general tone of the main pickup and, like on the earlier Series III's,
    there are independent output jacks for each pickup. The main pickup has
    individual coils under each string which are all adjustable. I now make
    all the pickups myself, including winding the coils.

    Other new features of the Series IV include extending the neck to 24
    fret length, a thicker body, and redesigned internal chambering. The
    Series IV's will also come with two different interchangeable
    tailpieces, "classic" and "modern". The classic tailpiece will be a
    rectangular-shaped block at the back, reminiscent of the AEB-1, and
    require the special super-long strings. The modern tailpiece will be
    tapered and rounded, and extend up closer to the bridge to allow the
    of more commonly available strings. The two tailpieces can be swapped
    any time. My customers of the previous models seem to be torn between
    the classic look and practicality, so the new model will give them
    As on my earlier models, this bass is specifically tuned for flatwound
    strings, and is designed to be plucked hard to produce a rich warm tone
    very similar to an upright bass. Most of my customers are studio jazz
    and blues players, who usually also play upright bass.

    This year, I'm also finally introducing my new-generation version of
    Ampeg's infamous Devil Bass. The new Devil Bass is mechanically similar
    to the Series IV, but with the long-horned body and slightly different
    headstock. It's fingerboard extends to 28 frets, and the neck is
    smoothly blended into the tang of the body, although it still unbolts.
    As on the AEB-2, the body shape is close to the original Ampegs, but
    slightly reshaped for comfort and appearance. The new Devil Bass is the
    same price as the AEB-2/AUB-2.

    Eventually I'll be offering 5-string versions of the Series IV
    AEB-2/AUB-2 Scroll Basses. I've also started the preliminary design
    on the Series V Scroll Bass, which be the acoustic/electric version.
    That's a few years away.

    The Scroll Basses are my own "flagship" line and I intend to keep
    refining the design and building them for many years. I build every
    of every one of them myself, including all the metal hardware and the
    paint. And it's going to stay that way. I'm never going to hire a shop
    full of people or farm out parts to other companies just to increase
    production rate. Over the last few years, I've only been turning out
    about 6 Scroll Basses per year, but I hope to build 12 in 2005 and
    eventually reach about 20 per year as a steady rate.

    Sometimes I can be slow answering e-mails, but I'll try to answer any
    questions that you have.
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    There's a store near me that has a couple, most likely NOS.
  9. Zebra


    Jun 26, 2005
    I played an original model much like the one on the right in that picture. they're weird-looking, but I like them. I'd love to have a fretless one.
  10. Fionntallica


    Jan 12, 2010
    What do you mean by NOS?

    Also, I seem to remember hearing about a reissue of these basses on the interwebs. Can anyone give me any info on that?

    Thanks guys.
  11. MaddAnthony_59

    MaddAnthony_59 Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2006
    Columbus, IN
    I Channel Surf During Commercials. (Drives my Wife CRAZY!!!)
    I owned a few of these. In original configuration I didn't care for the sound. They use basically a MicroPhone pickup, and it sounds very String-Biss. Sustain is non existant, very neck heavy, and didn't mix well. Build Quality was not very good either...

    I Modded a "Devil Bass", adding a Dimarzio EB replacement pickup. It sounded Great! Well, better. I ended up trading it at Freedom Guitar in San Diego, CA. where it still sits today I believe.

    The Fretless one I played was interesting, but other than being Valueable by Collectors, I didn't/don't care for these basses at all...
  12. joeyjoejoe


    Apr 12, 2010
    thats too bad the price went up so much. for $2100 i was thinking about saving up, but for $3400, i can't do it.
    eastwood guitars makes a copy minus the scroll top.
  13. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA

    These are mine. They're well built and they play great. The action on that Devil bass is as low as any boutique bass I've played. They're also very light in weight. Neck dive is a minor issue, but nowhere near as bad as a Gibson Thunderbird.

    The drawback is that they sound terrible. On a scale of 1-to-10, I'd give these basses a 4.
  14. joeyjoejoe


    Apr 12, 2010
    here's the eastwood copy. not bad for $700.
  15. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    New Orleans, LA
    yeah i played an ampeg fretless scroll in san francisco once. great neck, feel, tone, fretboard. and guess what? WAY cheaper than bruce's. get a vintage piece, it only grows in value with time, bruce's do not.
  16. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    Yeah I'm diggin the Eastwood EEB-1 version. Way more affordable at $700 than the ones mentioned above for $3400!!!
  17. stiles72


    Mar 20, 2009
    Albany IL
    The Eastwoods would be even cooler if someone could devise a scroll to attach to the headstock to give it even more vintage mojo. The body is mahogany - and I bet a thunderbird pickup would sound killer in it!
  18. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    I had an original AUB-1 (the fretless model). It was an amazing bass! The tone from the original pickup could be very honky and peaky, but someone in the 70s had added a Dimarzio P-bass pickup and it just sounded fantastic. The two pickups used at the same time could get some of the hugest tones I ever heard from a passive bass. The neck on that bass was pretty chunky compared to my current basses, but just felt fantastic and was sturdy as hell. I actually attached it to a Fender Jazz body for a few years and used that bass as my #1- it definitely was a crowd pleaser!

    I will always regret selling that bass, though it did fund my introduction to the magical world of G&L, so I can't complain too much!

  19. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Here's my lefty Eastwood.
  20. joeyjoejoe


    Apr 12, 2010
    how is the eastwood?