Ampeg, Dan Armstrong Fretless Bass Guitar ARMUB-1, 1969


Dan Armstrong Fretless Bass Guitar ARMUB-1
The Story Behind


About the Guitar:

At the 1969 NAMM show in Chicago, the Ampeg Dan Armstrong “see-through” guitar, was the most regarded show-stopping piece of gear.

The guitars were designed by soughtafter session musician/guitar expert Dan Armstrong.

With a cool, unique body made of Plexiglas that was machined and finish-sanded just like a wood body, they had a bolt-on maple neck with 24 frets (a full two octaves) clear of the body for greater access, and interchangeable pickups so a player could tailor its tone. The six interchangeable single-coil pickups were designed by Armstrong and pickup guru Bill Lawrence, given suitable monikers like Rock Treble, Rock Bass, Country Treble, Country Bass, Jazz Treble, and Jazz Bass, and sold for $35 each. Its aesthetics were topped off with a faux-woodgrain Formica pickguard and matching headstock overlay, while its tones were controlled via master volume and tone pots topped with cool metal knobs, a three-way tone toggle switch, and a metal Danelectro-style bridge with rosewood saddle. After early models experienced tuning stability issues, Ampeg started using high-quality Grover tuners as standard equipment, and slightly rewired the tone toggle.

The instruments quickly became popular with many top rock artists of the day; the Stones’ Keith Richards and Bill Wyman used them on tour starting in late ’69, as did Leslie West and Paul McCartney, while Cream bassist Jack Bruce used the bass version. Financial issues between Dan Armstrong and Ampeg led to the guitars being discontinued in 1971.

This is a rare example of a fretless bass guitar version of the Ampeg Dan Armstrong “see-through” guitar.

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