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Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Ulyanov, May 14, 2001.
Does anyone know when 5+ stringed basses first started to appear? Just curious.
i think fender started experimenting with a low b 5 string in the 60's.
danelectro and fender had 6 string basses, tuned like guitars but an octave lower, and with tight, guitar-like string spacing, since at least the 60's if not earlier.
i'm pretty sure the first 6 string bass was in the 70's, made by carl thompson for anthony jackson.
Actually, the original 60's Fender Bass V had a high C, not a low B, and had something like 15 frets (no need for those high notes with the extra string!).
Alembic was making 5-strings in the 70's, but they also mostly had high C's--I believe Jimmy Johnson's 1975 Alembic 5 was the first with a low B. And you're right, the bass built by Carl Thompson for Anthony Jackson in 1974 was probably the first 6-string bass tuned B-to-C. They were pretty rare until the early 80's, though, when high-end makers like Ken Smith, Tobias, Modulus, etc. leapt into the fray. By the mid-80's, folks like Ibanez and Yamaha were producing a few relatively inexpensive 5's, though 6's have still been pretty rare up until the last few years.
That's how I rememebr it, anyway.
Jimmy Johnson is usually credited with the first low B 5 string. Anthony Jackson with the 6. There may have been earlier ones, but these were the first "name" players to introduce them.
Thanks everyone, greatly appreciated. I could only trace the 5 string back to 1985, when Geddy Lee played his 5 string Wal on Power Windows. At least I think he did, it was a 5 string something, correct me if I'm wrong.
Actually, Geddy played the Wal 5 on "Hold Your Fire", the tune was "Lock and Key".
yeah, geddy recorded all of power windows with a wood-grained 4 string wal that belonged to peter collins, and then got the black one made for him that he used in the video for big money. he didn't get the 5 until hold your fire, like dave said.
interestingly enough, back then their 5 strings and 4 strings had different body styles, and geddy was the first one to get a 4 string from them that had the 5 string body style - the red 4 string that he used for roll the bones.
oh, ok. that makes sense. thanks.
The 5 has an elongated top horn. The first 4 to have that body shape was the midibass in 1989. I played one at a music fair with Pete Stevens (nice bloke) changing the patches.
BTW I did an 'active upgrade' for an owner who didnt know that you could make them active by pulling the pots. And I didnt charge him.
yeah, and 24 frets. the older 4's didn't have 24 frets either.
i wrote a letter to wal in 1986 where i asked them to make me a 6 string bass - i was in college at the time, and i was going to see how much it would cost and get a job and work towards it, but unfortunately they didn't make 6's at the time. i still have their letter, the sent me a brochure, what a bunch of beautiful basses. i've always had a soft spot in my heart for wals and the way they sound. i'm gonna pick up a 6 one of these days, or who knows, maybe they'll make a 7
Wal is one of those basses that I have always wanted and never got around to owning. I nearly got a 5 in 88 and didnt. Nearly got a fretless in 90 and didnt.
I spoke at length to (the late) Ian Waller on the phone and he was so enthusiastic about basses and had time to talk to amateurs like me. As stated before I met Pete Stevens and he is a gentleman.
Its nice to see makers who treat lesser mortals with respect (even if they never owned one of their basses).
John have you seen the doubleneck ?
yeah, i've seen jonas helbourg's - actually, doesn't he have 2? there's this other guy who had one, i saw him in an ad for his band's album with his guitarist, i think they were some kind of fusion/speed band in the late 80's.
I had forgotten about Jonas Hellborg I think he had the first one.
I'm sure I saw a Wal (Jonas Hellborg-style fretted and fretless 4) doubleneck advertised at the Bass centre Wapping for £495 a couple of years ago....I wonder who picked it up......
I remember that ad, too. He was wearing a trenchcoat.
5+ stringed Bass Viols ( like double-basses ) were around in the 16th century. I've seen 7-string Bass Viols.
Is that what those things are called? I saw one of those on a tv show where a couple of people were playing baroque music, but it had frets.
Yep. Viols generally had frets made of some kind of gut wrapped around the fretboard like on a Lute.
Check out this site for some more pictures of some cool baroque instruments:
I remember I saw one of those at the Globe Theatre in London, on a school trip. I didn't know what to think of it.
what's really cool are barytons - they have up to 7 strings that are fretted, and anywhere from 9 to 22 resonating/harp strings that can be plucked simultaneously.