Why is Leo Fender (and not Paul Tutmarc) considered "the Father of the Bass Guitar?"

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by DChalo, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. DChalo


    Dec 16, 2015
    Austin, TX

    This Electric Bass came out over 15 years before Leo Fender's first P bass, and yet nobody seems to really think of Paul Tutmarc. Every bassist I've asked or talked about the creator of the bass guitar says Leo Fender did it, but he really wasn't the first. Not by a longshot. Is there something missing here? Does mass production usually signal someone to be the "pioneer" of something? Sort of like with Automobiles and Henry Ford?

    Edit: Key Takeaways:
    -Thomas Edison was an A-Hole
    -I HATE Thomas Edison
    -Paul Tutmarc IS indeed the creator of the bass guitar, from an academic standpoint
    -Columbus didn't discover America.

    - TB User @design might post a demo of a replica Tutmarc bass in the coming days. Look out for it!!
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2016
    lomo, seang15, Goteky45 and 1 other person like this.
  2. JTE

    JTE Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    A. Leo had distribution, marketing, and a sales force. That's the single most important reason
    B. Leo had an amp that worked
    C. Leo had strings that worked
    D. Leo didn't introduce it while the world was careening into worldwide conflict while still reeling from a devastating economic depression
    E. Leo had a way to make a bunch of them consistently

    Where are all the Tutmarcs? That tells you a lot about the instrument's success in the market. Have you ever heard one (I never have) so does anyone really know how they sounded with the amps of the period? Did it fill the needs of the musicians the way the Precision immediately did?

    Broke, tomersg, 2cooltoolz and 53 others like this.
  3. Mvilmany


    Mar 13, 2013
    Upstate NY
    Leo Fender was the Steve Jobs of electric guitars and basses. He didn't invent the electric guitar. He didn't invent the solidbody electric guitar. He didn't invent the electric bass. He envisioned what the future held for these concepts, designed the best solutions, and changed the world.
  4. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA

    And this.

    Leo didn't make the first one. He made the first SUCCESSFUL one. Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile or the assembly line. But he sure took both to the next level.

    When is the last time you saw someone playing a Tutmarc? But half the crowd here would give their left pinky tow to own an early 50s P bass in pretty good shape.

    The Tutmarc was awful. The Precision bass is the sound of bass in most of our heads.

    No comparison.
  5. DChalo


    Dec 16, 2015
    Austin, TX

    Well I understand that, but shouldn't they call him "The Great Innovator" instead of "The Father/Creator?" I mean that's kind of a slap in the face to the person that ACTUALLY created the first one. Idk, it might just be me.
    Lackey and Bassaga like this.
  6. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I don't wanna play this:

    Do you?
  7. DChalo


    Dec 16, 2015
    Austin, TX
    I don't think you understand what i'm saying....

    By all means the Fender bass is better than the other one, but the other one was LITERALLY the FIRST ELECTRIC BASS. I just wanted more credit to the actual Father of the Electric Bass
    bassista6, aguacollas, Lackey and 2 others like this.
  8. Because the Turmarc sucked and the Fender didn't. Anyone can make a baby, but it takes a lot to be a father.
  9. DChalo


    Dec 16, 2015
    Austin, TX
    That's a good answer, but I still think Tutmarc deserved more credit. Maybe the Electric Bass could have had 2 fathers? I mean, it's 2016, that should be okay by now.
  10. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    I understand exactly what you're playing.

    Sure, Leo wasn't first. But he made a bass people wanted to play. So he did that first.
  11. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Hippocrates did not invent medicine. He is the father of medicine.

    Browning didn't invent the firearm.

    Ford didn't invent the car.

    Etc. Etc. Yada Yada yada....
  12. DChalo


    Dec 16, 2015
    Austin, TX
    lol Hippocrates. What a name, considering the topic at issue XD
  13. I think he certainly deserves more recognition, but the credit has to be earned. Let's say I invented the idea of wiping ones own dirty butt with a tiny square of paper after it was soiled. It's all the rage. A year later, some other guy puts a bunch of tiny pieces of paper together and rolls it up. Suddenly people's hands are less crappy, their butts are much cleaner and the other guy gets all the credit and makes a billion dollars while I wallow in obscurity, forgotten and wiping my butt with a tiny square of paper.

    See where I'm going with this?
    WhoSeyes, CBRXJ, red_rhino and 9 others like this.
  14. When this topic comes up, it reminds me how much of a miracle it was the electric bass even was allowed to exist, since amplification in those early years was about the equivalent of a quiet, but wet fart. Us bass players owe more to the advancement of amplification than we do to either Tutmarc or Leo, IMO.
  15. DChalo


    Dec 16, 2015
    Austin, TX
    Yea, but I feel it is a bit more complicated than a piece of poopy paper. From online articles, the Tutmarc bass was functional, but considered too "ahead of it's time." Only sold a couple hundred units or less I think. How do you think he felt when Leo Fender came out with his "Big Invention?"
  16. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Reviewer: Bass Player Magazine
    Hopefully someplace less gross than where you started....:D
  17. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    Had no idea so many people here have played one.
    Unlike Leo, @JTE here really got it right the very first time. ;)
    To the OP: the pseudo-fact that Fender invented the EBG is a too-oft-quoted myth that has to die, but probably won't. This said, in this here tiny subset of the already tiny world of bass players, many (but by no means most, let alone all) know about Tutmarc and don't give an F. That's how it goes, regrettably.
  18. zontar


    Feb 19, 2014
    BawanaRik, LonF, DChalo and 7 others like this.
  19. He probably felt like he should have put a little more thought into it. Another interesting aspect of this was that Leo didn't even play bass/guitar. This gave him a perspective that allowed him to think outside the box and to not let his judgment be biased one way or the other.
    Aqualung60 likes this.
  20. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    I'd be honoured to.