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love of Ampeg and other Scroll Basses, Part 2

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by smperry, Jan 9, 2014.


  1. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    Me, Homesick John O’Leary and Stacey Phillips at a University of New Haven freshmen party. It was very H O T out that day!
     
  2. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    Water color by Kyle Lavorgna
     
    Ed Bloom likes this.
  3. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    Bruce, I’d say it’s about 60/40, fretless/fretted playing. That formula also relates to upright/horizontal playing. All things considered, I’d prefer to have my fretted/horizontal performances and recordings feature a Bruce Johnson/American-made AMB-2. That’s my story, and I’m proudly stickin’ to it!
     
  4. Yeah, I’d like a fretless scroll bass. :D
    Oops, LOVE.
     
    Bobo likes this.
  5. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    2073447D-A707-4D13-B0A1-7D837CD1C9CD.
     
    Ed Bloom likes this.
  6. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    It is LOVE! When I found ‘Peg, I played her for about 2 hours in the store...the first 1/2 hour unplugged, just listening to her sing in the fretboard...yeah, I’d definitely say “LOVE” is the right word. I turned to Brian at Brian Guitars, “What do you want for this?” The rest is, as they say, history.
     
  7. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    I think you should have a discussion with Mr. Johnson...
     
  8. Who is this Mr. Johnson you speak of?
     
    Bobo likes this.
  9. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    Gilmourisgod and Chickenwheels like this.
  10. Jesse Hoskins

    Jesse Hoskins

    Nov 2, 2016
    I guess it doesn't really matter all that much, but I thought your basses were usually made with 35" scale lengths.
     
  11. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    My AEB-2 models (Series I, II, III & IV) are all 35" scale. The AMB-2 series, which I introduced in 2012, is 34 1/4", just like the original Ampeg AMB-1.
     
    nouroog and Bobo like this.
  12. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Deep in the backlands of California is a small town. In the middle of the town is a huge old packing house building that appears to be abandoned. Down in the basement of that building is a secret laboratory. Strange sawing and thumping noises can be heard all through the day and night. Sometimes you can barely hear crazy laughter. It's all very mysterious. If you watch patiently, now and then a box containing a Scroll Bass will be pushed out the door and quickly snapped up by a UPS driver. Off to an unknown location.

    That's the story the locals tell. You can also read through this thread:

    Inside The Secret Underground Laboratory
     
    bholder, nouroog, Joshua and 2 others like this.
  13. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    Mwuh ha ha ha!!! I live in one of those ‘unknown locations’ patiently waiting for one of those boxes to be pushed out the door to the UPS driver...[cue creaking door and maniacal laughter]
     
  14. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    00C1016C-9E14-4E3A-960A-F6EC3A8C6147.
     
  15. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    E7C093F2-FFC8-4FC0-A73A-F75D0F17BBD9.
    Bobo when he was a seasonal ‘driver’s helper’ a few years ago...delivering scroll tops to good little bass players...
     
  16. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I swear that was you at my door just the other day, peering in the windows, asking if there were any large boxes to be picked up.......Now I know, it was you! :eyebrow:
     
    GKon and Bobo like this.
  17. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    Ha! I only did that one year, right after I got ‘downsized’ at the utility company. They run you ragged from Thanksgiving week until Christmas eve. It was fun while it lasted. ;-)
     
    GKon likes this.
  18. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    OK, it was me...
     
  19. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Meanwhile, down in the depths of the Secret Underground Lab....I've been about halfway sick all week with a nasty sinus cold/flu thing. But I did manage to get some quality shop time in, within the "allowed" hours....

    Steady progress on the crazy AEB-1 #966:

    The pickguard turned out to be a mess, in worse condition than I thought. It was coated with something like Tru-Oil. I used automotive Carburetor Cleaner to clean most of it off, but the surface underneath was bad. The top black surface was all pitted and worn, like it had been scrubbed with Scotchbrite or something. So, I had to do the more drastic repair, painting the top surface black. I've done this before on a few other Ampeg pickguards that had bad wear or repairs.

    The first step was to carefully level-sand the whole top surface with Mirka Autonet 240 and 600 grit paper. This removed the last of the previous gunk and roughened the surface of the Bakelite, so the finish would bond tightly to it. I've mentioned it before that these Ampeg pickguards are very brittle and fragile, easy to crack or snap. I did the sanding with it on top of a smooth flat board to support it.

    IMG_6840B.

    Then I sprayed it with three coats of Varathane Ultimate WB Polyurethane, with black pigment mixed in.

    IMG_6841B.
    When the black was dry, I went around the perimeter gently with a small file, to clean the black paint off of the white edging. And I used a machinist's scriber to scrape the black out of the engraved Ampeg logo.

    IMG_6843B.

    Then three heavy coats of the Varathane, clear. It's still wet here, so it looks bluish from the water on the surface. Then let it dry overnight....

    IMG_6845B.

    I made up a rectangular plate from black vinyl pickguard stock. This will be glued down on top of the pickguard, over that big ragged hole that was cut around the mystery pickup.

    IMG_6846B.

    I cleaned up the insides of the body, painting the routed areas black to seal up the wood. Someone had previously shielded the control cavity crudely with aluminum foil. I scraped it all out and re-did the shielding with copper tape. We certainly don't want #966 humming, with all these hot pickups going in. That would be dangerous.

    IMG_6847B.

    Although the prior shielding was sloppy, they had done a good job installing a braided wire contacting the near-side tailpiece post, to ground the strings. I kept that wire, and anchored it to the shielding with a lug.

    IMG_6848B.

    Next up: Polishing up the pickguard and stuffing all those pickups in there.
     
    aetheriac, GKon, Ed Bloom and 3 others like this.
  20. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    9922DF57-A7B3-405D-9815-65A2FEDC0DEE. 125AC733-6ADC-44A3-9A38-E69FB56989FC. 9686433C-E45B-42BC-88E8-CA4CD05A76E3. AMUB-1: 2019 at the 92Y concert in NYC with Doc Halliday, Robert Silverman and Scott Hamilton. Then 1982 at the Elm City Diner in New Haven CT with Robert Silverman.
     

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