Cool and classic basses: Ampeg AEB-1

Posted Jun 19, 2012 at 10:59am

The AEB-1 bass guitar is a curious design indeed with hardly any body visible as it had two large f-holes cut right through and a huge scratchplate that covered most of the rest.

The scrolled headstock with side-mounted tuners was similar to their upright Baby Bass and the AEB-1 also made use of the same 'mysterious' pickup design. This was effectively a contact mic using a Silectron Steel diaphragm to transfer the string vibrations to the two magnetic coils set beneath. Actually it's a neat idea as it allows the use of non-magnetic (nylon or gut) strings.

The bridge has individual saddles and players often exposed it by removing the chrome bridge cover. Just Volume and Tone controls are fitted however the Volume had a switch incorporated that you could 'Pull to Kill' and knock out the Volume instantly.

It has a deep thud of a sound but is very penetrating. It's a bit unwieldy to play as the scroll makes it rather top heavy and the tailpiece extends beyond the body edge.

The serial number is stamped into the back of this tailpiece. Some instruments were shipped with a bound fingerboard and the AUB-1 Fretless version was also available and notably used by Boz Burrell with King Crimson and Bad Company.

Read our full Ampeg AEB-1 profile here

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