NBD: Ampeg AEB-1 edition! + question

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by magnaton, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. magnaton


    Dec 12, 2013
    New York
    Ever since I got my first flip top I’ve had a real soft spot for Ampeg. Never owned one of these but came across a couple in my travels and always got inspired by the serious thump you get out of them — not to mention those wild f-holes and headstock.

    Found a real gem in an estate sale that was in better condition than any I had seen. Just arrived today and lucked out with so much of its history tucked away in the original gig bag pocket. Wanted to share for those who’d enjoy :)

    Alsooo.. a small bummer I’m trying to chase down is that the signal distorts when I dig in to the strings a bit. I know these piezo pickups can be a little temperamental and these strings look to be original but any ideas on how to remedy?

    Independent of amp, happens across all four strings, is helped a little by reducing tone / volume, and completely goes away when I play lightly which makes me think its unfortunately a pickup thing

    Photo Mar 25, 4 37 11 PM.jpg Photo Mar 25, 4 39 01 PM.jpg Photo Mar 25, 4 38 06 PM.jpg Photo Mar 25, 4 41 54 PM.jpg Photo Mar 25, 4 35 55 PM.jpg
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2019
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    drool I need to find a bridge cover for mine...
    magnaton likes this.
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Wow all that case candy and extra strings too! :thumbsup:
    staurosjohn likes this.
  4. bluesblaster


    Jan 2, 2008
    Bruce Johnson at extremely strange musical instruments is gonna be your guy.

    Check over at the Love of Ampeg and other scroll basses thread.

    A very nice, and collectable find you have there
    HypersoulRocks and magnaton like this.
  5. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Wow, what a find! Congrats!
    magnaton likes this.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    excellent! congratulations on your new instrument! :thumbsup:
    magnaton likes this.
  7. smcd


    Jun 28, 2009
    Boston, MA
    Wow. Very nice. Extremely rare to have a factory gig bag.

    This is my AEB-1 (serial no.22)
    ampeg 22.jpg
  8. farace

    farace Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2016
    Connecticut USA
    I have the gig bag for my AUB-1. I suggest making sure the handle is not tearing through the vinyl. Then again, yours looks pristine, almost unused. It's a beauty.

    Bruce can give you hints on improving the sound. I would imagine there are setup notes amongst the case candy. There are adjustments for the mystery pickup (not piezo), and there is a proper adjustment for the tailpiece as well that can help the sound. If you find an unpleasant nasal quality to the tone, Bruce can tell you of a completely reversible mod that just involves tack-soldering another capacitor into the circuit. My bass was vastly improved by this. Previously the tone control couldn't be turned up.
    jumbodbassman and magnaton like this.
  9. Bruce Johnson

    Bruce Johnson Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 4, 2011
    Fillmore, CA
    Professional Luthier
    Hi guys! Just a quick message; I'm incredibly busy right now with the daily radiology treatments, plus sorting out the last of Mike's estate, and......everything else! I'm feeling okay, not sick or in pain, but just tired and overwhelmed. My posting on TB will be light for the next month or so.


    Wow! #399 is a pure mint condition example of an AEB-1. That is as nice as they get. When I first looked at the pictures, I thought it had to be one that I restored. But it's not. It looks to me to be in perfect original condition. I have no previous records on it. It's been sleeping somewhere for 53 years in a controlled environment. There are only maybe two others that I know of in the world today in that level of original condition. Wow again!

    How about re-posting this over on the Love Of Ampegs Part 2 thread? That thread (and Part 1) have become the established worldwide resource of information about Ampeg Scroll Basses. We need to get the story of this bass in there, and we'll all talk you through questions and problems on there. That way any other future Ampeg owners easily find the info.

    Farace (Bob) is right about the mystery pickup. There are some tricks to tuning them up properly. They often sounded fairly bad as set up from the factory.

    Gotta go....Congrats on finding that treasure! Take care of it.

    Some more details....I can't stop looking at these pictures....

    To the best of my knowledge, #399 was made in October or November 1966. Is there anything on the paperwork with a date?

    We're all familiar with the instruction/setup sheet. I have a stack of reprints here in my desk. One of the guys posted a PDF of it on the Love Of Ampegs thread a while back.

    Yes, those strings on the bass are the original factory flatwounds, made for Ampeg by LaBella. Unless they got corroded, they should be fine. If they are corroded, we'll talk you through how to clean them. Do Not take them off and toss them aside! With care, they'll last another 50 years.

    It looks like there's a set of Black Diamond strings there with the bass. I presume the owner bought them as a spare set?

    I don't recognize that machined aluminum part above the Allen wrenches. ???

    That case is also in amazingly good condition. I have two of them here, and both are badly shrunken and cracked and cracked, falling apart.

    I still can't believe that the paint is in such beautiful shape. It must have been kept in a vault. That's a perfect example of the early production run AEB-1 color scheme. Note how the black around the perimeter of the body just barely feathers onto the front and back surfaces.

    Nice photos, by the way!
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2019
    actualsize, magnaton, ELG60 and 6 others like this.
  10. diegom

    diegom Supporting Member

    Talk about a time capsule.
    Congratulations on an UNREAL new bass. It looks so mint!!! I can't get over it.

    LOVE IT!!! Enjoy it for many, many years to come!

    magnaton likes this.
  11. ToneMaven


    Dec 22, 2018
    Maximum jealousy here. That is a great find! Cograts!
    magnaton and jumbodbassman like this.
  12. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    DUDE!!! How sweet is that??? Definitely take Bruce's advice and post it in his Love of Ampeg Scroll Basses thread...you will most certainly get some good advice from not only Bruce but the others who frequent the place. That is a freaking time capsule bass!
    magnaton and jumbodbassman like this.
  13. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Daaaaaaaaaaang !!!

    Congratulations ... that’s an amazing find !
    magnaton likes this.
  14. Beautiful!!
    magnaton likes this.
  15. magnaton


    Dec 12, 2013
    New York
    Thanks all! Excited to share the find and be its next caretaker. Will continue the discussion re the distorted signal in the love of Ampeg and other Scroll bass channel.

    @Bruce Johnson thanks for chiming in with all your expertise. Wishing you well with your health. To answer your questions specifically, I couldn't find any dates on the paperwork unfortunately. I thought maybe the strings (even the Pyramids might have something close to a serial number) but no dice.

    Re the aluminum part above the allen wrenches, I have no idea haha. I thought maybe an attachment for a floor peg but your guess is as good as mine :)