This is a book that tells the story of the electric bass guitar. Modern music would sound completely different had it not been for this remarkable musical tool, the most subversive new instrument of the 20th century. With so much attention levelled at the guitar today it is astonishing how little effort has been afforded to the history of the bass. The book uncovers some fascinating tales: how Leo Fender’s ground-breaking Precision model was described in the 50s as anything from a “sensational instrumental innovation” to “an amplified plink-plonk”; how Alembic grew from the vision of a hallucinogenic manufacturer to establish a radical new look and sound; how Ned Steinberger turned conventional design on its head with his graphite “superwood” basses. And that just for starters. At the same time, we find that the story of the bass guitar is inextricably linked to its players. Bassists have constantly inspired and driven makers to produce new, different and exiting instrumental variations—from extra low-tuned strings to fretless fingerboards—that in turn have stimulated fresh musical routes and diversions. On these pages you also find specially commissioned photographs of rare and beautiful bas guitars owned by players such as Jack Bruce, Stanley Clarke, John Entwistle, Mark King, Paul McCartney, Marcus Miller and Pino Palladino. Closing the book is a comprehensive reference section, a unique compendium detailing instruments from the world’s leading bass manufacturers.
Tony Bacon has been writing about music, musicians and musical instruments for nearly 20 years. Barry Moorhouse has been a professional bass player for many years, and while initially involved in orchestral percussion, he continued to indulge his passion for bass guitar by playing, trading and collecting. This culminated in 1984 in the opening of The Bass Centre in London, which quickly became a mecca for European bassists.