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The Precision Bass in the 1950s

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by stratovani, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. Fender sent me a link to this article in my email. A pretty interesting read all about, as the title says, the P-Bass in the 1950s.
  2. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Eastwood Guitars, CHC Guitars, GHS strings

    As much as I love Fenders, I still have to point out that none of this info quoted above is true. The fretted electric bass guitar was around for quite a while before Leo Fender "invented" it.

    Now if those quotes had said "first commercially successful bass guitar", they would have been true....but the electric bass guitar was invented and marketed a decade and a half before Fender.

    Audiovox Model 376 Electric Bass

  3. Good point. I guess Fender is a bit guilty of "tooting its own horn"!
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    It's a pretty common error. Not everyone appreciates the difference between "the first..." and "the first commercially successful..."

    But it is a very significant difference, indeed!

    And when people complain that they don't have to be careful about how or what they write, I offer that as an example of why it is indeed important to be careful when writing.
  5. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Eastwood Guitars, CHC Guitars, GHS strings
    Don't get me wrong...I've been a Fender customer for over 30 years know... I love 'em dearly, especially pre-CBS and "early CBS" instruments....but though I enjoyed that article, it is definitely not "historically accurate".

    (thanks for posting, BTW)
  6. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Eastwood Guitars, CHC Guitars, GHS strings

  7. Dark Horse - While I don't disagree with you, I think the difference is in semantics -

    The Audiovox instrument was considered and called an "electric bull-fiddle." It still had an end-pin from those photographs and was advertised as "Cello" size. Leo invented the "fretted bass guitar," shaping it like a strat, making it way cooler to the rockers and much more acceptable to the mainstream.

    I think Leo still deserves his due for the "invention of the electric bass guitar"

    Edit - that may be something else hanging down from that picture and not an end-pin - I can't tell. But it still appears from the audiovox article that that instrument was designed to play stood up.
  8. A quick sidebar - the Audiovox Manufacturing Company mentioned in Dark Horse's link is not the same company as the Audiovox Corporation mentioned in this Wikipedia link. I wasn't sure so I figured I'd check it out.
  9. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Eastwood Guitars, CHC Guitars, GHS strings
    To quote from the article....

  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses, Hipshot products
    So now that Fender is aware, I'm sure they'll go back and fix all that. I mean, they're an honest reputable company, aren't they?
  11. bluesdogblues


    Nov 13, 2007
  12. elroyjetsn


    Mar 21, 2010
    West Virginia
    Not sure why Leo still gets the credit. But Paul was selling his own electric fretted horizontal bass guitar over 10 years before Leo.

    This is a picture of one of Paul's Audivox basses held by a player with one of his 18watt Audiovox bass amps nearby. Reminds me a little of the 60's Vox Phantom bass. He used a horseshoe magnet with rail pole pieces and a single coil on the early ones and his son Bud later made them with a coil on each pole for noise cancelling (humbucking) giving them the "Serenader" brand name.

    Attached Files:

  13. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Because some people are not persuaded by facts that contradict what they believe.
  14. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    It's corporate communications.

    Probably better to update the wikipedia article to be more thorough :)
  15. pbassnut

    pbassnut Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2004
    Falls Church, VA
    You can nitpick all you want about who "invented" the electric bass, but there's no doubt that Leo Fender was the one who put it on the map. All other prior attempts are nothing more than interesting footnotes in bass history. Fender nailed it 99% right out of the starting gate in 1951, and then improved it pretty close to perfect by adding body contours in 1954 and the split coil pickup, four saddle bridge and Stratocaster style headstock features we all know and love in 1957 ... IMHO, of course! His 1957 Precision configuration has stood the test of time like few inventions ever ... it's still a standard and is as good a bass as just about anything out there despite all the science, engineering, and manufacturing advances in the last 50+ years.
  16. uOpt


    Jul 21, 2008
    Boston, MA, USA
    Nobody said anything against Leo. Just against the corporate writers at work here and now.
  17. elroyjetsn


    Mar 21, 2010
    West Virginia
    Leo gave us the modern bass without a doubt, but.... didn't INVENT the fretted electric bass guitar.

    BTW, appearently Paul Tutmarc also actually INVENTED the magnetic pickup for the guitar and thus the ELECTRIC GUITAR! His associate (according to his son, Bud) Stinson??, took the invention and sold it to Richenbacker's parent company for $600.

    Later on Paul's wife made it big as a recording artist, "Bonnie Guitar" and divorced him. She became the first major female session guitarist, opened her own studio, introduced us to the "Ventures" among others.
  18. I'd love to know more about this picture. Who, when where? Thanks.
  19. Yools


    Jul 24, 2009
    Deepinaharta, TX
    This quote from the article caught my attention, and I can't believe that Fender a) didn't know the true story and b) wouldn't use it to their advantage:

    The truth is, Elvis himself actually played the bass in the studio on that song. It turns out Bill Black had some trouble getting the feel of the bassline the way Elvis wanted it, so Elvis played it himself.