What was first modern looking bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by byrdsfan, Mar 30, 2004.

  1. byrdsfan


    Feb 9, 2004
    What was the first modern looking bass? You know, sort of curvy with the top "horn" more prominent?
    I'm thinking Alembic. If that's the case (or if it was some other high end brand), what was the first mass production one?
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Modern as far as not similar to a P or J?
  3. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    I guess that would depend on your definition of "modern". I think the first modern bass hasn't been invented yet, and probably never will.
  4. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Probably the first modern "looking" bass would have been the old Ric "frying pan". The first modern "sounding" basses would have been Jack Casady's modded Guild Starfire with Alembic active electronics. Phil Lesh had one too. ;) Once you start to get into the late '70s and early '80s when high-end bass builders were starting to pop up here and there and active electronics were more established and pervasive, the modern look and sound were already established.
  5. byrdsfan


    Feb 9, 2004
    I mean style-wize, with the projecting top horn, like a Yamaha. I'm thinking Peavy was the first big name to do it, after Alembic, but might be wrong.
    Rics look different than Fenders but they dont have this curved look that is semi standard now.
  6. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    Carl Thompson maybe. He has been building forever.
  7. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    "Modern looking" is relative.

    I'm thinking the Fender Precision looked pretty damn modern in 1951.;)
  8. I'd say the first modern looking bass was a Rickenbacker. they've been making bases since the late 50s, and their first basses didn't look that much different than they do now. Even though today we think of Rickenbackers as being classic rather than modern, their are a lot of modern guitars and basses that borrow heavily from the body and headstock shape of Rickenbacker basses.
  9. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    Which ever brand was popular for the beatle bass...hofner maybe?
  10. metron

    metron Fluffy does not agree

    Sep 12, 2003
    Lakewood Colorado
  11. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    I'd also say Alembic. First bonafide furniture bass - multilam neck thru construction, LEDs, brass hardware and multipiece bridge, active electronics, humcancelling dummy pickups, weird body shapes. Lots of innovation packed into those instruments.
  12. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    Lucite. Space Age, indEed.
  13. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Multilam neck-through: Rick 4000 (1958?), Gibson T-bird (1964?)

    Multipiece bridge: Fender was one of the first to use a single piece bridge on a guitar or bass. The T-Bird (again) had a multipiece bridge without a trapeze tailpiece.

    Active electronics: Gibson EB-0F had an onboard fuzz tone in 1962, Vox had fuzz, treble boost and a tuner (!!) around 1966 in both basses and guitars.

    Weird body shapes: Gibson Explorer and Flying V (1958), OK those were guitars...T-Bird (again)

    Not to say that Alembic was not an innovator but many of the things they tried had been done before.
  14. byrdsfan


    Feb 9, 2004
    I figured Alembic. What was the first mass produced (less expensive) bass to copy, or take off on, the design?
  15. WORD!




  16. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    As far as "modern' basses, I think either Rickenbacker or Gibson would be the earliest to do popular, non-Fender type body styles.

    I think Rick was also first neck-thru.

    I think Alembic was first with 5 string electric basses, particularly as we know them today (I know, Fender VI).

    Who was first with electric fretless? My guess is Fender?
    Who was first with an electric singlecut?


  17. I know I have heard numerous times that the Rainbow Bass was made in the 90s at Claypool's request. I could be mistaken, and I may be thinking of another bass, but I don't think that is the case.
  18. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I think ampeg had the first fretless...
  19. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Some people would say that description is downright old fashioned.

    How's this for modern? It's not even made of wood!