1966 Ampeg AEB-1 Bass

Ampeg’s AEB-1, otherwise known as their Horizontal Bass or Scroll Bass, was a revolutionary new design that was introduced in late 1966. The highly unique instrument featured a magnetic vibration sensor pickup assembly under the bridge that would translate the bridge’s acoustic movement into electrical signal, specifically to allow the use of gut strings. The instrument’s body was equally unique, with a semi-hollow maple construction and a pair of F-holes that are cut clear-through. Other unique design elements are the scroll headstock, extra long string length, and smartly designed tailpiece with dual strap buttons. The bass uses custom-made Labella extra-long strings, so we’re thankful that there are few extra sets in the case-pocket. They are hard to find.

This example is in great shape, plays well, and is perfectly set-up. It’s been a professional’s main squeeze for the last while and has had its controls hardwired (RCA connectors eliminated, and tone circuit rewired. The pickup is original and intact, and the bass has not been modified in any other way. The original electronics are included with the sale, as is the original bridge cover with integrated string mutes.

A few of the metal parts are engraved R. Crumb, to whom this bass once belonged. Robert Crumb is the American cartoonist and musician who brought Fritz the Cat to the world, and the Keep on Truckin’ cartoon that inspired the hippie era. The previous owner of this instrument purchased this bass from Crumb’s brother shortly after Crumb’s move to France in 1991. Earlier on, it is purported that Crumb played this bass alongside Merle Haggard, but there is no hard documentation to this effect.

An early example of a particularly rare instrument that remains in great playing shape and largely original.

With original vinyl case, and three sets of LaBella 41” long custom strings.