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Hot Ax Bass/Guitar Hybrid

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Boplicity, Aug 11, 2000.

  1. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Today Bet on Jazz/Jazz Central had a duet of a drummer(leon Parker) and guitarist (Charlie Hunter) that was fascinating in that the non-drummer was playing a hybrid I had never seen before. It was a seven string "Bass-tar" made by Hot Ax. The bass strings are tuned EAD, and the five guitar strings are the bottom five guitar strings. The musician played this, as he explained, contrapuntally", using the bass strings rythmicaly and the guitar strings more melodicly. He said he had been developing the technique for seven years and still had much to explore!

    He often added chorus to his sound for yet another texture. The bass-tar was made of natural wood. The tuners for the bass strings were on the top of the head and the five guitar string tuners were below. The bass-tar had four pickups, two for the bass and two for the guitar. The fretboard had an interesting arrangement in which the frets closest to the pickups were angled almost diagonally!

    If you would like to hear the unique sound, the two have a CD. It is "Duet" by Charlie Hunter and Leon Parker. (This is NOT a press release. I don't know these musicians, but I thought that bass guitar/guitar was a really interesting crossbreed of instrument.) Jason Oldsted
  2. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State

    The "Hot Ax" Bass/Guitar is actually a Novax "Guitar" built by Ralph Novax - The inventor of the Novax fanned fret system that is more well-known from Dingwall basses.

    If you go to http://www.novaxguitars.com the 8-string Guitar/Bass you are describing comes up right on the home page.

    I think Charlie Hunter and his Novax 8-strings are both pretty cool. :cool:
  3. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Hey, thanks for the tip! I went to the Novax web site and, sure enough, the very bass-tar Hunter played was pictured there...same color and everything. I had tried to read the name on it on my TV and thought it said "hot Ax", but it certainly may have been "Novax" instead. It was interersting to glance at some of the technical information at the web site, too. I'm an equipment junkie and get as much of a kick out of new bass equipment as I do in playing and hearing basses be played.

    I knew some basses had been made with the fanned frets. I remember them from a Bass Player annual equipment edition (I love those), but had forgotten it was Dingwall who made them. I didn't know Lee Sklar ever played one. I wish I could have heard him. (I wonder if he still has that long beard.) Anyway, it's fun to surf by BET on Jazz once or twice a day and see what surprising things turn up.

    JAson Oldsted

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