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Standard Classic bass designs.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Philbiker, Mar 5, 2006.


  1. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    My recent comment in a thread about a Peavey bass got me thinking.

    What are the absolute MOST CLASSIC STANDARD bass guitar designs. I'm talking the basses that define the instrument or time period. In order to qualify the bass must be
    • Instantly recognizable
    • Copied by others
    • Played by very famous very well known players
    • Define a genre or time period
    It helps if the manufacturer has made other models which no matter how great or how much of an "improvement" on the original have not managed to stay in production.

    The list I've come up with so far is the following:
    Fender split-pickup Precision Bass No brainer, I know. Copied by countless other manufacturers, played by countless players. This is probably the number one most classic standard design ever.
    Fender Jazz Bass Same as above.
    Music Man Stingray The pickup design Leo Fender came up with is in use by countless other instruments. The design is classic and eye-catching.
    Hofner 500/1 The "Beatle Bass". Enough said. Not as often played as the others, but lots of people have something like this in their collection, and there are lots of copies.
    Rickenbacker 400X models Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, Michael Rutherford. Practically a requirement for '70s progressive rock bass players.
    Spector NS models The Ubiquitous bass of 80s rock, it has been often copied and has been played by many very high profile bassists.

    I can't think of another bass as massively important as these. Can you? Gibson Thunderbird perhaps?
     
  2. Aside from the T-Bird, I was thinking Gibson EB series and perhaps the Guild Starfires to an extent.
     
  3. KayCee

    KayCee

    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    I think that I'd have to nominate the Alembics of the 1970's which Stanley Clarke and others made famous. Inspired a generation of "hippie sandwiches". I don't think that Alembic has duplicated that level of success with models developed since then.
     
  4. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I'm going to nominate the goregous Upright Bass. it doesn't get any more classic than that.
    It's easily the most recoginizable shape as far as instruments. Even though some call an upright bass "A big cello", they're close enough.


    -Mark
     
  5. SuperDuck

    SuperDuck

    Sep 26, 2000
    Wisconsin
    Fender P-Bass and J-Bass. Start of thread, end of thread. :D
     
  6. KayCee

    KayCee

    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    A classic instrument, but doesn't qualify as a "bass guitar design".



     
  7. KayCee

    KayCee

    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    Doesn't appear to be the end of this thread. :p

     
  8. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Your criteris:

    Instantly recognizable
    Copied by others
    Played by very famous very well known players
    Define a genre or time period

    Entwistle's one-off Explorer bass meets 3 of the 4 criteria. It wasn't really copied by others, however. (But I might buy the parts from Warmoth and build one!) Also the Buzzard he played at the end of his life. It was offered for sale, but they never really caught on in a big way.
     
  9. GabeN

    GabeN

    Feb 27, 2006
    Chugiak, AK
    Rickenbacker 400x + 1!!!!

    Rick's definitely fit into the 'classic bass design' category.
     
  10. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    I was thinking the Alembics also (as a fan of both Stanely Clarke and John Entwistle). The problem with them as one of the classic standard designs is that they and the copies are inaccesible. Ibanez never made a $200 Alembic knock-off and not enough players used them (though some of my favorites like Flim Johnson did).
     
  11. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Nope. My original post called for the "MOST CLASSIC STANDARD bass guitar designs."
     
  12. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Steinberger. Even if they're n ot you're thing (they're definitely not mine) you gotta admit that when you think 80s, you think Steinberger.
     
  13. rogerbmiller

    rogerbmiller Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 16, 2003
    NYC
    I'd say the Les Paul bass style is a classic. Also, the flying V (not sure who made the first bass-- I assume Gibson did), and the Fender Coronado.

    Also, in a way the Kubicki Factor fits the mold as it inspired the headless basses with real bodies that later ensued.
     
  14. Spector_Ray

    Spector_Ray

    Aug 8, 2004
    Texas
    B.C. Rich Mockingbird, Bich and Warlock. Immediately recognizable and all have been copied as cheaper versions by their own company and others. If these don't say 80's metal, I don't know what does!
     
  15. WalterBush

    WalterBush

    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    I believe the Steinberger XM came first, although I could be wrong about that. Steinbergers inspired tons of copies, and I think the XL and XM models easily fit the criteria.
     
  16. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Definitely.
     
  17. markjazzbassist

    markjazzbassist Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    actually there is an alembic Knock-Off. It's made by Kawai. It's the F2-B bass. Cheap i think like 800 new back in the day, now used around 500.


    http://www.kawaius.com/bass.htm
     
  18. KayCee

    KayCee

    Oct 4, 2004
    Shawnee, KS
    I don't know about Ibanez, but Wish is making $200 basses that owe a lot more to Alembic than to Fender or any other bass designer.

     
  19. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Steinberger - maybe. The problem is they're not currently in production like they were (though they still are there), and not many people are using them any more. However, they were the king of 80s basses (along with Spector), were played by everybody, and were widely copied.