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love of Ampeg and other Scroll Basses, Part 2

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


  1. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Hey Bobo;

    I really, actually spent some quality time working on #016 yesterday afternoon! Final fitting of the control plate and pickguard to the body, all in preparation to start painting. And the rest of the week is looking clear. I should be able to spend most of my shop hours (within the restrictions :mad:) on it. I'll get a few pictures as I go.

    It felt good.

    Edit: Well, I think that was a record. I counted about 30 seconds between me posting and you hitting Like! And it's 3:35 am.
     
    farace, Bass 45, Ed Bloom and 2 others like this.
  2. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    Bruce, this is wonderful news! I’m happy and grateful for both of us. I’m sure the rest of the Scroll-Toppers in the queue are also. With all the changes in both of our lives the past 2 years, playing music and reconnections with old friends and band mates and the anticipation of holding a scroll top that you have crafted means more to me than I can put into words right now. I am looking forward to plugging sweet #016 into my amp for the first time and being able to post her first recording to share with you and the rest of the Fillmore Underground. I hope you realize how much we all appreciate you, and how much we all celebrate your passion for what you love to do - make and promote the love of scroll top basses. Cheers, Bobo
     
    farace, Ed Bloom and bholder like this.
  3. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    I didn't get to spend all day on #016, but I got some time on it. Here's the body, doing the last details, getting it ready for paint. I fit all the hardware and drill all the screw holes and re-check the fit before starting the finishing. A lot of screw holes.

    IMG_6849B.

    That's the rout for the split pickup. I also verified that there is enough height for the Hot version of the pickup to fit in there.

    IMG_6850B.

    The last step is truing up and smoothing out the perimeter.

    IMG_6851B.

    To be continued tomorrow.....
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2019
    Joshua, GKon, Ed Bloom and 2 others like this.
  4. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    Thank you so much, Bruce! I’m absolutely giddy! (or should I say, Geddy?)...well, I’m excited! Good night, sweet dreams!
     
  5. Ed Bloom

    Ed Bloom

    Oct 24, 2017
    Yokota AB, Japan
    Bobo,

    I share your excitement. One, because I love seeing the detail with which Bruce works. He continually teaches me patience and detail in my work. Two, because you seem like a great guy. Three, because the sooner Bruce finishes #016 the sooner he makes more progress on #018! LOL Best, Ed
     
    Bobo likes this.
  6. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    LOL! Thanks, Ed! There are so many boutique bass shops popping up all over and they post some amazing photos. Organza swirl creamsicle sequined body, 17 1/2 string lollipop basses...amazing looking...they give a quick burst of excitement; however, they don’t do it for me. There is something about the lines, the shape, the feel of the scroll top design. It’s a classic beauty. It’s hard to describe. If I see a Ferrari fly by me on the highway, I can appreciate it for what it is, but I’ve never seen myself behind the wheel of one, or even wanted to own one. If I see a 1955 Chevy Nomad wagon, well, that to me is classic beauty. When I looked at the photos Bruce posted last night, I felt like I was looking at the most beautiful ‘55 Nomad I’d ever seen. I imagine my right hand resting in those lovely grain patterns in the left side, and the strings responding to my touch, and the new hot pickups translating the sound to my amp. Seeing the f-holes and knowing how awesome and unique they are, how beautiful. I’m getting misty. Heck, you know exactly what I mean, or you wouldn’t be in the queue! I feel very lucky to be in the company of other bassists who appreciate the unique qualities of the scroll top, and I am so grateful to Bruce for his artistry, passion and dedication. I am trying to take a zen-like approach to my anticipation...but inside, I know Santa is almost ready to pack his sleigh...ok, ok...I’ll stop now...⛄️Cheers, Bobo
     
    Ed Bloom and dloase like this.
  7. dloase

    dloase

    Jun 20, 2016
    Bruce that is one beautiful piece of wood and work. It reminds me of some of the gun stocks we used to produce. You can always tell a true craftsmen when you see their work, and you sir are a true craftsmen by any definition of the word.
     
    Bobo likes this.
  8. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    I concur!
     
  9. Ed Bloom

    Ed Bloom

    Oct 24, 2017
    Yokota AB, Japan
    Bobo,

    I'm giving you one like for the scroll top bass comments and a second for the '55 Chevy Nomad comments. Believe it or not, there is a vintage car club that must be near here because they periodically drive by our base. I've seen more '55 Chevy Nomads in Japan than I ever saw in Texas, on the road yet. For a long time they had an almost mythical status for me! Best, Ed
     
    Bobo likes this.
  10. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    Amen, brother! About 35 years ago I walked out to get our newspaper and I heard a deep, pulsing exhaust system coming down our road through thick fog. As I looked up, a white ‘55 Nomad wagon with flames down the side throbbed its way past me. My jaw dropped and I stared until it slipped away into the fog. Amazing...
     
    Ed Bloom likes this.
  11. So, do any of Bruce's current 'production' basses have a "mystery pickup", or are they all standard magnetic?
     
    Bobo likes this.
  12. J Gold

    J Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    Houston,TX
    It’s almost a shame to cover up all that pretty walnut with a pickguard.
     
    Bobo likes this.
  13. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Hey Diegom;

    All this has been covered in detail in previous pages of this thread, but here's a quick summary:

    The only models I'm currently building are the AMB-2 (and its variants) and the SSB. They have conventional-type magnetic pickups. The AMB-2 is patterned after the Ampeg AMB-1, the rock/blues version of the Scroll Bass.

    My other main line of Scroll Basses is the AEB-2 (AUB-2 fretless), which are more suited for old style jazz and Salsa. The percussive thumpers. I introduced the Series I AEB-2 in 1997, the Series II in 1998, the Series III in 2001, and the Series IV in 2006. The Series IV is the most exotic of them, with a full Magnetic Percussive pickup; a 3-D version of the Mystery pickup. That's the real percussive thumper.

    I built a total of 17 of the Series IV AEB-2/AUB-2 models, finishing the last one in 2018. I don't plan on building any more. It's a fantastic bass, but it's too expensive to build.

    One of my ongoing R & D projects is the new Series V AEB-2. I've worked out a new different version of the Mechanical Percussive pickup for it. It's a less complex instrument than the Series IV, and the price will be around the range of the AMB-2.

    The Series V AEB-2/AUB-2 will be the new thumper Scroll Bass. When I finish the development and get it into production....It's mostly designed in the computer, but I haven't started the tooling or building the prototype. I'm not taking orders for them yet.

    As you've read on here, 2019 has been a complete mess for me, and I've been struggling just to finish up AMB-2 orders. Almost no time at all for R & D on new models. But things appear to be clearing up, and I hope to be able to spend a lot of R & D time in 2020.
     
    bholder, Ed Bloom, diegom and 2 others like this.
  14. Thank you for the summary. There's so much information in this thread that sometimes is difficult to get to specifics.
    Looking forward to the new thumper!

    Diego
     
    Bobo likes this.
  15. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    We've talked about this a while back, right after I built the first Walnut AMUB-2, #010. If you haven't seen it, #010 has the pickguard faced with walnut veneer:

    IMG_4640B.

    Uhler IMG_1568.JPG

    I thought it would look cool, adding more walnut to the theme. The owner is happy with it. But the more I look at it, the less I like it. I don't want to do any more of the walnut-faced pickguards (although I actually have a spare on the shelf).

    Several of you suggested that I redesign the body of the Walnut AMB-2 to leave the pickguard off. Put the control cavity on the back, with a removable walnut cover. I thought about it, and I could do it technically, but I don't want to.

    The big black pickguard with all the screws, and the bold hardware are such a big part of the design of the Scroll Bass. It looks technically complicated (and it is), almost a little SteamPunk-ish. I don't want it to become a smooth blob of wood with strings on it. Then people would want me to put highly figured tops on them, burls and flames and swirly stuff. An exotic wood sculpture that can also be played as a bass.....Like so many Luthiers make. No! I don't want to go there.

    I like to say that I build race cars, not show cars. My basses are almost all about engineering and performance; how they play and sound. I chose the Ampeg style for my basses because it's very distinctive, and it looks like a mysterious sophisticated machine. It's not a frilly showpiece. Also, it's complicated enough to build that hardly anyone copies me!
     
    diegom, Runnerman, Joshua and 4 others like this.
  16. J Gold

    J Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    Houston,TX
    You’re right! Now that I see that, the black is cooler.
     
    Joshua likes this.
  17. farace

    farace

    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    I wonder how a dark smoke plexi pickguard might look? Basically black, but the grain can show through. Probably not as good as I'm imagining. :D
     
    lousybassist likes this.
  18. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    “engineering and performance” - i'm with you on this, bruce. it’s interesting looking at all the boutique basses, but i don’t see myself strapping one on. while it might be awesome to take a ferrari for a spin, i’d rather see a 1930 model a in my garage. i love my ‘68 amub-1, and i know i’ll love my #016. cheers, bobo
     
  19. farace

    farace

    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    I learned to drive stick on a '29 Model A that my dad had when I was in high school. No synchronized gears, cable-operated brakes . . . I'm glad my "fun" car is a '71 Alfa Romeo Spider. :D Sort of in between the strictly utilitarian and the exotic, and the only car I've ever owned that truly seems to have a soul.

    But I have to finish putting it back together. Replaced the fuel injection pump three years ago and still haven't gotten to buttoning everything up.
     
    Bobo and Bass 45 like this.
  20. Bobo

    Bobo

    Apr 11, 2017
    CT
    my brother bought his ‘30 from Page’s Model A garage in Maine. It cost $200. That included delivery to CT. They stiff hitched it all the way. The delivery driver said he had 3 flat tires on the way down. We drove it for a while, then my brother tore the engine down and rebuilt it. He had the headlamp re-silvered at a place in CA. He found parts he needed around the state and country. When we were finally done, it was time to start it up. Wouldn’t catch! Our friend Henry owned a garage and came over. He was amazed at how good the car looked. We tried the starter and tried the hand crank. Henry fiddled with the glass bulb and line to the carb while my brother cranked the started. It coughed and sputtered, but it finally kicked over! Joyous celebration. Thanks for helping me pull that one from the archives. BTW, we found a 1930 CT license plate at a flea market. I wire brushed it and painted it blue with white letters to match the modern CT plates. We only used it a few times to transport it to my grandmother’s garage, honest! Good times, good memories.
     
    farace likes this.

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