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Question about the "traditionality" of semiacoustics

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fluke, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. Fluke


    Jul 20, 2002
    Semi-acoustic basses, like Guild and Gretsch are generally considered "cheesy 60s one trick ponies" and "good for that 60s vibe" etc. Now i understand how that notion applies to GUITARS, but does it ever occur to them that all the FIRST electric basses made were solid bodies? So what was the idea behind hollow body basses in the first place? I guess the first were intended to have a more upright-like sound, or perhaps just go with the look of semi-acoustic guitars which were still quite popular well into the 60s. I'm interested to hear everyone's opinion on this.

  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Well, for one, it was the ease of manufacture. Early on, some offshore manufacturers would simply drill four holes in a headstock instead of six with no concern for the difference in scale and ship 'em off as basses. They also visually matched the guitars. I suppose since the idea of a bass guitar was new at the time, making it as similar to a guitar as possible made them easier to sell.
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Solid body electric guitars were still new-fangled things in the 50s when the P-bass was introduced so most of the competition (Gibson was an exception, but by then they had come up with the Les Paul) stuck with hollow bodies for their earliest electric basses.

    By the time the 60s rolled around and the guitar craze was in full swing (fueled by surf music and the British Invasion) both solid and hollow bodied axes were common.

    The high volumes of late 60s blooz-rock was a problem for hollowbodies, so they started to die out.

    The final nail in the coffin was probably the growth of funk, which called for tight, percussive tones that most hollowbodies couldn't produce.