Featured Regarding the Passing of SWR’s Steve Rabe

Discussion in 'News & PR' started by TalkBass, Oct 5, 2021.

  1. TalkBass

    TalkBass News Poster

    Mar 12, 2004
    The family of Steve Rabe, the founder and President of SWR Engineering Inc., has announced his passing on September 30th 2021 at the age of 73. Known for his innovative and breakthrough designs in bass amplification products Rabe was the chief engineer from his founding of the company in 1984 until it was sold in 1997. Later the brand was sold to Fender.

    The company’s name was derived from Steve’s initials, Steven William Rabe. Prior to starting SWR, Rabe had worked at Acoustic Amplification and A.M.P. He developed his own ideas for a hybrid design of amplification that included a tube preamp with a solid state power section. In addition to iconic bass models and memorable names such as the Redhead and Goliath, SWR produced the California Blond series which set a new standard in acoustic guitar amplification. Rick Carlson, who headed up sales and marketing at SWR and worked side by side with Steve for ten years reflects “Steve redefined the boundaries of bass amplification and changed the game, his legacy lives on in the hearts of the musicians that knew him and all those that played SWR gear. His influence was considerable and set the course for bass amplification as we know it today.” Steve leaves behind his wife Linda and sons Brian and Michael.

    Steve Rabe at work.jpg

    Steve Rabe 1.jpg
    bassbooty, MYLOWFREQ, Kijuer and 46 others like this.
  2. Isaac_James


    May 20, 2021
    Eugene, OR
    RIP Steve. I used a Basic Black for many years, and then a Workingman's 15. I still have the Workingman, it belonged to my brother and even though I don't play though it much anymore I keep it as a memento. I might need to dust it off this week in Steve's honor.
  3. baxter_x


    Nov 27, 2013
    I played on two Goliath III for many many years. I never really liked SWR amps, but the cabs were awesome.

    Behind me, my GIII, back in 2019:

  4. lowfreqgeek


    Mar 15, 2010
    Tijeras, NM
    I've been using some piece of SWR gear more or less continuously since 1997, and even played through my old burgundy Bass 350 just this morning. Steve W. Rabe, SWR, and Raven Labs were an integral part of my inspiration as a young electrical engineer. Even though I never got into building amps, the inspiration has served me well through my career.
    Jefus and SirMjac28 like this.
  5. SC Bassboy

    SC Bassboy Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Birmingham, AL
    Peace out, Steve. As a teenager I could only lust over the SWR product brochure but later on I was lucky enough to play and own many of their amplifiers and cabinets (still do). He was a pioneer and a scholar. He will be missed.
  6. baxter_x


    Nov 27, 2013
    Hahahaha, my story too! No porn magazines, only SWR brochures
  7. GMSweet


    Oct 12, 2007
    New Hampshire
    I still miss my old SWR Grand Prix...I should get one again for the rack. It was what I considered the first piece of "professional" bass equipment that I owned. These are still with me though. The Triad has had some work done, but I still have the original SWR badged 15" boxed up. I appreciate the work Mr. Rabe did.

  8. Low Down Brown

    Low Down Brown

    Jan 8, 2018
    R.I.P Mr. SWR. The Interstellar Overdrive and Henry the 8x8 are two of my most favorite pieces of bass gear ever created. Thank you for the your gifts to bassists as well as your effort and inspiration!
  9. A great thread going on in the Amp section for the last few days including some family members telling stories about Steve and early SWR times, worth a read or replying to. Click>Steven W. Rabe RIP
    BBQisgood, basya2, SirMjac28 and 2 others like this.
  10. Johno Dunn

    Johno Dunn Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2007
    Carpinteria, Ca.
    RIP Steve.
    BBQisgood and SirMjac28 like this.
  11. onamission

    onamission Supporting Member

    The Redhead was my dream amp for many years. Wound up with a Silverado. Steve was a brilliant engineer. His equipment was sturdy and sounded great. He certainly set the stage for the future of bass amplification. Rest well young man.

  12. I didn't know he worked at Acoustic Control Corp!

    Sorry to hear of his passing. That basically leaves Mark Gooday, David Nordschow, and only a few others, from that generation of influential amplification designers and/or product developers.
    Iristone and SirMjac28 like this.
  13. ficelles


    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    I still have this, the junior version of the California Blonde:

  14. NYCBass

    NYCBass If it feels good it must be a Jazz Bass Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2006
    Queens NY
    I worked with a Rep Firm in the 90’s that sold SWR Amplifiers in New York and New Jersey. Steve was a great guy, very down to earth and humble. He will be greatly missed.
    SirMjac28 likes this.
  15. MikeBass

    MikeBass Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Royal, Oak, MI.
    RIP Mr Rabe

    Whenever I was asked what SWR meant, I always said - Sh!t Works Right
    Gigging an early 90’s Redhead to this day.

    He was a legend in the bass world.
  16. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    R.I.P., Steve. Condolences to his family and friends.

    I, too, owned several pieces of SWR gear, all pre-Fender. In the very early 1990s, I bought new an Electric Blue head and a Triad cabinet when word of the brand was getting up and rolling. I played my very first gig with this rig! Both pieces treated me well, especially the Triad, which I later paired up with a Bass 350 head (which was also new). Later, I moved on to a used Super Redhead and a used Goliath Jr. cabinet -- a nice setup! I really wish I still had that Goliath Jr., a little beast of a cabinet = killer tone and exceptional build quality.

    It saddened me when I got the news Fender bought the company as I knew what was gonna happen next... and unfortunately, it did.

    SWR's print ads were always super-cool. Bold, stylish and full of heavy hitters, these pieces definitely made an impression on me. I've attached a few for everyone to take a walk down Memory Lane.

    1990-Jimmy-Haslip-One-Name-That-Plays-Swr.jpg a5d3189ec8a968300c692089dd3e2163.jpg s-l400-1.jpg s-l400.jpg swr ad 1991 copy.JPG
  17. Farewell Steve, may you rest in huge RMS.

    Thank you for the privilege of being the owner many years ago of a Mo' Bass head, Goliath III and Big Ben. Absolute monster of a rig. received_329031715622520.jpeg
    Hawaii Islander and baxter_x like this.
  18. Bleecker

    Bleecker Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2006
    Etown NY. USA
    RIP Mr. Rabe!

    I have a Strawberry Blonde, I used it for coffee house type blues gigs with a Fender Jazz. Killer vintage tone with this little set-up!
  19. Benj-jammin

    Benj-jammin Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2020
    North Carolina
    I never owned a SWR amp, but a few years back, a friend let me jam with his Black Beauty combo with the 15"...it was a monster of a combo, great sound, but that puppy weighed about 95 pounds, almost 60 more than my current Rumble 500.....how times have changed! Heavenly vibes sent to you from NC, Mr. Rabe. RIP, and thanks for all that you did for us bassists.
  20. petergales


    Dec 29, 2009
    Leeds UK
    I used to have a 350x head and a Goliath 2x10 cab as well as a Black Beauty combo. It was all great gear.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Oct 19, 2021

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