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NBD! vintage Italian retro-futurist content

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by davidprice, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. davidprice


    Jan 1, 2005
    This one is admittedly not to all tastes...

    After YEARS of looking for one, I finally found the king of the 1960s retro-kitsch Italian 'fetish' basses, a 1965 Meazzi Hollywood Jupiter Bass:

    There are many things which sets this model apart from both other period Italian basses as well as anything that was available anywhere at the time. First, it's the only full long scale Italian bass I know of among all the short and medium scale basses made then and there. This is 34" from zero fret to bridge:


    (shown with the tbird for scale.)

    Also uncommon for 1960s European basses, a bridge which can actually be intonated! Clearly a knock off of a Fender bridge but of quite good quality - the entire bass appears very well made. Later versions of this model switched to a much less flexible separate floating bridge and tailpiece.


    Now on to some of the more eccentric aspects - those big sliders? Front one is master volume:


    Back one is blend/pan (any other bass have this function in the 1960s?)


    Now the first real surprise; this logo badge:


    It hides a secret. Think Alembic was the first with active electronics? Well, to borrow a phrase from a certain reality TV star, "WRONG!":


    This powers the active circuit for the bridge pickup; which is insanely bright - makes a Ric sound like a mudbucker by comparison - not really usable on its own other than as an effect though useful to add edge/bite to the very bassy passive neck pickup. The two regular knobs are tone for each pickup.

    The truly amazing feature I don't have a photo of as it is internal. There is a gravity activated mercury kill switch which takes effect when the bass is placed vertically (in a stand, leaning against a wall or amp) which both mutes the volume AND disconnects the battery.

    Pickup design uses the same concept as the Guild Bi-Sonic
    /Darkstars with screws to adjust polepiece height:


    Removing the back cover, the paper seal remains unbroken from 1965:


    Overall construction is unconventional but well done:


    Headstock is a bit too normal relative to the rest of the bass. Some corrosion on the tuning machines but functionally they are much better than what's typical on these old Euro basses:


    The nut is strange - seems like ceramic - the frets are very small. Much thinner than vintage Fender frets. Radius is close to flat:


    Overall, I'm really, really pleased with it. It plays well (and in tune!) and is remarkably flexible in tones for a 50+ year old bass, has a great Dada/Picasso meets the Jetsons vibe - or even streampunk if one prefers... Only downside is it is heavy.

    I am missing one of the two original knobs (just put some Fender ones on for the pictures). If anyone reading this happens to have a spare Meazzi knob in a parts drawer, please message me!


    EDIT: sound samples added - page 5.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
    agent19, StayLow, Giffro and 95 others like this.
  2. Energy


    Jun 20, 2006
    The original Steam Punk bass. Very cool!:cool:
  3. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    central NY state
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Wow. Those curved sliders have always entranced me.
    nixdad, RichardW and davidprice like this.
  4. davidprice


    Jan 1, 2005
    Those are the first attention getters for sure - and it's really cool beyond that. Seems like it's full of oddball secrets; while still being a solid useful instrument.
    bholder likes this.
  5. jd56hawk


    Sep 12, 2011
    The Garden State
    Wow, what a find!
    davidprice likes this.
  6. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i've never seen anything like it: 'unique' to me: congratulations! :thumbsup:
    davidprice likes this.
  7. davidprice


    Jan 1, 2005
    Thanks! They are hen's teeth rare. I'd only seen pictures and have been looking for ages.
    JRA likes this.
  8. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Fantastic bass...unlike steampunk, everything has a function. Congrats!!
    JIO and davidprice like this.
  9. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    Far out! Nice score. While I love traditional styling, I equally love the unusual, different and even bizarre styles too. :D
    davidprice likes this.
  10. cdef


    Jul 18, 2003
    Here's the view with the warranty cover removed:

    AGH, nerkoids, JIO and 1 other person like this.
  11. giannispezza


    May 22, 2010
    Venice Italy
    As Italian I have nothing else to say but: Bellissimo!:bassist:
    Novarocker, andonbray, JIO and 4 others like this.
  12. TMARK


    Jan 10, 2012
    Richmond VA
    Really, really nice.
    davidprice likes this.
  13. Funkier than a Safeway chitterling!

    Love it, nice score.
    gebass6, Owen Bacon and davidprice like this.
  14. Atshen


    Mar 13, 2003
    Grim Cold Québec
    So much cool in that pic. I love the Italian quirk, the T-bird, the aluminium bass, and the (I'm guessing) whale collarbone!
    Mister Boh and davidprice like this.
  15. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Pretty cool! Thanks for sharing!
    davidprice likes this.
  16. Phenomenal find!
    davidprice likes this.
  17. Plake

    Plake Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2010
    drool That is cool. Congrats on ending your long search. Awesome!
    davidprice likes this.
  18. davidprice


    Jan 1, 2005
    Thanks! Yes, all functional (not just a bunch of random gears stuck on with a hot glue gun...)
    The kill switch blows me away. So much better for an active bass than plug in and unplug every time you use it. I'm amazed no one has thought of it since. But then I have no idea where one would source the mechanism. Normally I'd be skeptical of the longevity of the device but this one still works flawlessly 50 years on...

    Thanks! Me, too!

    Very cool. Thanks for posting that. Do you have one as well?

    catcauphonic, JIO and giannispezza like this.
  19. davidprice


    Jan 1, 2005
    Thanks! Correct on all points. Good eye :)
    Atshen likes this.
  20. Dadagoboi

    Dadagoboi CATALDO BASSES Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 1, 2005
    Florida Swamp
    CataldoBasses: Designer/Builder ThunderBuckerPickups:Consultant
    Gravity kill switches are on every portable electric heater, so there's no problem doing that today. But thinking of it, that's the genius part!

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