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Whats a Swellback?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Gary C, Apr 1, 2004.

  1. Gary C

    Gary C

    Mar 16, 2004
    Canton Oh
    Can't find anything definitive when I search.
  2. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I'm guessing it is another name for round back, as in a rounded back bass. It is the more common design in contemporary basses, those not rounded, oddly enough, being called "flatback."
  3. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    "Swellback" sounds like another ebay word. Like "Ebonized" and "real laminated wood".

    Most plywood basses have a swelled-back. There are plywood flatbacks out there, but they aren't as common. "Carved back" means the back of the instrument was cut from a chunk of wood. Plywood instruments get their "arch" from being pressed into a mold, during construction.

    Where did you read the word "swellback"?
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Swellback is actually a 'slang' word for a carved back. As you look at it from the side, it appears to be swelled out. We all know they are not pressed out that way like plywood is but that term has been used as far back as I can remember.
    BTW, there are examples of Basses that have been pressed into shape using solid woods from what I have heard. Not common but has been done centuries ago.

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