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Extended Range Bass History

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by styd, Nov 23, 2004.

  1. styd


    Nov 23, 2004
    I'm new here...

    I'm doing a paper on the background and history of the extended bass, so would like help with web links or articles related to this topic. Also would like to know some players and luthiers in this field. Also apart from Leo Fender (who is widely considered the father of "extended range basses" with his baritone guitar, from my research it seems Alembic played a major part in this area too. Any help or corrections greatly appreciated. So far the info I have to start with is summarized:

    "The existance of extended range basses begins when Danelectro's Baritone guitar leads the way for the first 5 and 6 string basses in the mid-1960s. Though the Long Horn and Short Horn Danos were the forerunners, the Dano Baritone was it's actual prototype. The first true extended range basses were made by Carl Thompson, a six-string for Anthony Jackson, a professional studio bassist, in 1975. Anthony Jackson is acknowledged as the first bassist to play Extended Range basses ie: six-string. One year earlier in 1974, Alembic developed the first 5-string bass for Jimmy Johnson. Later luthier Bill Conklin further developed extended range basses. Today Warwick basses are the most well-known of these type of basses."

    Please correct me if I'm wrong track. Look forward to your replies. Any website articles related to my query, much appreciated.
  2. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    There is a thread on this forum in which a member (IIRC his name is Gary Goodman) claims to have ordered the first 7 string bass from Ken Smith (and subsequently had one built by Michael Tobias). The thread got quite firey, but if you can dig it up, it may have some interesting history of extended range basses (as well as the big argument that ensured). I can't remember Gary Goodman's user ID, but if you search for all posts by Ken SMith you will eventually come accross the thread.

    Certainly Warwick is not the most well known extended range bass, as we would usually refer to an extended range bass as 7 strings plus, however if you are taking a 6 string to be extended range, then you may be correct.
  3. I guess bass guitars would be a more fitting heading. I think of baritone guitars differently than bass guitars.

    When I think of extended range basses I think of 5 and 6 string uprights from the 19th century. But there were some pre-barouque multi string basses too.

    I did a related paper in college on the history of bass guitars. According to my instructor, Leo did NOT invent the electric bass guitar. He just made it a popular and commercially viable axe. I don't know what was "extended" about Fender's basses unless you call the Bass VI a BG.

    It is a most worthy subject though.
  4. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    If you have safely graduated, you need to write your professor back and tell him he was dead wrong. If Leo Fender didn't invent the electric bass, whoever made before him had an impact of less than zero.

    Warwick is defintely not the leader in extended range basses. If anything, it would Ibanez, Fender/Squier, Peavey, or Yamaha if we are going by sheer numbers. As for most esteemed or desired extended range bass, it depends on what is hot at the moment.
  5. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    I would specify "extended range bass guitars" as well, as there were six and seven-string uprights dating back hundreds of years, some of them even fretted (I can post some pics of them if you'd like).

    I've never thought of a baritone guitar as a bass, either, so I've never counted the Fender Bass VI as a bass. Fender did actually make a five-string bass in the mid 60s (the Fender Bass V), but it was uncommon and not too well received.

  6. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    Oh yeah, and I'd agree that Warwick is nowhere near close to the most well-known maker of extended range instruments.
  7. 6-string double-bass type instruments existed hundreds of years before the electric bass was even invented. Here's one from the 17th or 18th century.


    That thing is probably the size of a standard double-bass. Check out http://www.orpheon.org/ for hundreds of photos of some create Baroque-era instruments including numerous ERB's. :D

    - Dave
  8. BeeBassist


    Oct 24, 2004
  9. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Here's the thread on invention/origin of XRBs. (Caution: put on fireproof suit before reading. :) ) Ken Smith's posts might be missing, since at one point he deleted all his old posts for an unrelated reason.

    A baritone guitar is generally not considered a bass, since it does not go down to a "bass low E." Being tuned lower than a standard guitar does not make it a bass.

    I do believe though that the Fender Bass VI does qualify since it was tuned as a guitar but one ocave lower.

    The Fender Bass V is an odd instrument, in that while it does have five strings, it has the same range as a four stringer, due to fewer frets. The idea was to allow horizontal playing patterns, not extended range.
  10. iamthebassman


    Feb 24, 2004
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Baritone guitars are tuned A-A or B-B, a Fender BassVI and others like it(Dano, Rick 4005/6, Gibson EB-6,etc.)are basses with extended range.
  11. artistanbul

    artistanbul Nihavend Longa Vita Brevis

    Apr 15, 2003
    and now there is this SubContra bass...
  12. It is not an unusual thing for the true inventor to have a "less than zero impact", commercailly speaking. Look, bro, just because you have been told something or have read something 1000+ times, it doesn't mean it is true.

    I forget who actually invented it. I graduated college in '92. But When Bass Player Magazine had the 50th year annivesary edition of the Fender Bass, it acknowledged that Fender's was not the first true bass guitar.

    BTW, I once lived in metro saint louis.

  13. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
  14. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
  15. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Um. No. :rolleyes:
  16. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Check out the Viola Da Gambas (sp?) as well. They were 6 string instruments with a simlar range as a bass, but with different tuning.
  17. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    ...or Basso Da Gambas, IIRC.
  18. hey styd,

    my site is down at the moment, but I have a piece in my 'Writings' section that may be of use to you. in a day or so, chcek here: http://www.subcontrabassist.com

    as to the players, here are a few:
    - Garry Goodman (an 11-stringer, www.garrygoodman.com)
    - Al Caldwell (an 11-stringer, plays with Vanessa Williams)
    - Jean Baudin (an 11-stringer, solo artist, Nuclear Rabbit)
    - Gregory Bruce Campbell (9-stringer)
    - Bill Dickens (the first 9-stringer, arguably)
    - Yves Carbonne (8-stringer, www.yvescarbonne.com)

    some of the luthiers to investigate:

    - http://www.conklinguitars.com
    - http://www.beebasses.com
    - http://www.warriorinstruments.com
    - Chris Stambaugh
    - Michael Dolan
    - Matt Schmill of FBB Custom
    - http://www.jpbasses.com (making their first 9 this year)
    - Jerzy Drozd

    as Dave pointed out, you will find a ton of useful information at extendedrangebassist.com, too.

    please feel free to email me if you want a copy of my piece.

    from the lows,

  19. Bryan R. Tyler

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

    May 3, 2002
    It's arguable that Dickens was the first nine-string player? Was there someone else who has made the claim?
  20. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I'm glad someone posted the thread on the Audiovox bass. I think I may have read about it years ago, but clearly I had forgotten.