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Show me your 'A' basses by Albey Balgochian

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DLM, Mar 31, 2009.


  1. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    Let’s see those 'A' basses made by Albey Balgochian! I haven’t seen much mention of these discontinued basses here on TB so I wanted to start a thread to see who here owns one of these.

    I bought mine off the TB classifieds several mos. ago and I’ve included some pics.

    This particular model is a Jade bass, made out of the familiar combo of alder body, hand-rubbed maple neck and 3/16” slab of rosewood fingerboard. It sports Aero single coils, a 3-band preamp with a push/pull series/parallel volume knob, BadAss bridge, Shaller tuners and 21 frets. (Albey never understood why the Fender Jazz design had the apparent “shortcoming” of 20 frets. From his perspective, the Jazz bass should be able to extend a full 3 octaves. In one of those pics, you can see how he integrates the 21st fret by extending the fingerboard past the neck joint so that his basses could, indeed, reach 3 octaves in the key of E.)

    Albey Balgochian left the bass-building business because his growing success was taking away from his first love--making music. As such, his basses are no longer in production.

    Taken from the website, Albey's process for aging the neck makes it melt in your hand. He apprenticed with master luthier Peter Kyvelos for 3 years, learning to rebuild and repair the violin family which perfected his technique for finishing the neck.

    For more information - http://www.abasses.com
     
  2. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    A couple more pics...
     
  3. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    and a couple more...
     
  4. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    There's gotta be a few here on TB, no? :confused:
     
  5. Lo end PUNCH

    Lo end PUNCH

    Jan 28, 2005
    Racine,Wi
    I remember these, Daryl Jones used to endorse them and there was a sig fretted and fretless. I believe Foley(Miles Davis, Funkadelic) had a couple of customs built by A basses.
     
  6. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    Stanley Clarke, Tommy Shannon, Reggie Scanlon, to name a few more...
     
  7. ElMon

    ElMon Supporting Member

    May 30, 2004
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I'm dyin to try one of these, having heard second-hand stories for YEARS about how they were the best J bass they'd ever played. Did ever make J5's?
     
  8. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    His headstock looks like a cross between an older Strat and a Valenti:

    DSCN2865. [​IMG]
     
  9. bongomania

    bongomania Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    ;)

    What's the price range for his J basses?
     
  10. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    That's weird, I had heard a number of years ago that Albey was getting out of the bass building business to concentrate on his music making. LOL, guess that didn't work out! Glad to see he's back at it, I always liked his instruments.

    First one I ever saw was Greg Mooter's: in 1980 he had Albey build him a fretless with a huge neck nearly the size of an upright bass' and a sound to match. iirc it didn't look at all like a Jazz Bass, had an almost singlecut-type shape, with squared-off edges...kinda like a giant Telecaster!
     
  11. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    That's still correct. Albey was, and still is, formally out of the bass building business so that he can concentrate on music, but I believe he might still dabble in bass building from time to time.
     
  12. basadam

    basadam

    Nov 29, 2005
    The current Lakland Darryl Jones model has his name as designer.
     
  13. DLM

    DLM

    May 25, 2004
    California
    Quote from the horse's mouth..."No, i never made a 5-string, plans were in the works but we did the Lakland thing before i got to it."

    At any rate, show me those 'A' basses. Post up!
     
  14. JAUQO III-X

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    CHICAGO,IL.
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    The Lakland DJ4 is a descendant of the Albey/DJones sig bass.
     
  15. MR PC

    MR PC Banned

    Dec 1, 2007
    Albey and DJ are at it again!

    http://www.abasses.com/bass.html

    I've an instrument with one of his early "20 fret" fretless necks on my Franken-Jazz. There is something to Albeys's statement that he has an "aging process" that makes the neck "melt into your hand". I don't know what that means, but I really like the feel of this neck.
     
  16. tortburst

    tortburst Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2007
    New Jersey
    [​IMG]

    Just recently got this, my father in law found it at a flea market in CT.

    I contacted Albey to confirm the make and model. It's 'A' bass, #6, built around 77 or 78. Has the tele slab style body.

    When I first saw it I had no idea what it was and suspected it was some kind of coffee table job. Once I held it and felt the neck I knew it was more than that. The neck and action felt so good.

    * correction I have #6 not 4
     
  17. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    Holy smokes, what a find!!! :eek:

    I owned #10 for awhile. It had a similar slab body, but the neck was modeled after an upright bass. I eventually sold it back to Albey. What a sound on that thing!

    Congratulations on a great score and (I'm sure) a wonderful bass

    :bassist:
     
  18. tortburst

    tortburst Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2007
    New Jersey
    Thank you. The neck feels great. I used to play upright and the way it sits in my hand feels so comfortable.

    The pickup wiring was a mess. I like passive pickups so I'm planning on putting a Fralin split-jazz in it b/c it only has the one pickup.

    Also was thinking of having it routed for a bridge pickup but I'm hesitant to modify it.
     
  19. RickC

    RickC Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2005
    Mine was *literally* an upright sized neck. Not the length of course, but the thickness and shape were taken from a local upright player's old German carved double bass. It felt enourmous on a bass guitar. Huge slab of Gabon ebony for the board, curved just like it would be on an upright (it was a fretless).

    Personally, I wouldn't add a pickup, but that's just me.

    /rick
     
  20. tortburst

    tortburst Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2007
    New Jersey
    Agreed, I'll replace it with a good passive pickup and hold onto whatever is in there now, but keep it otherwise original
     

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