The new 2001 model of the AEB-2/AUB-2 Scroll Bass is in production and available! Demand has been heavy for them, and I've been struggling to keep up with the orders. I'm slowly getting this web site updated, so some of the pictures and text will still show the '99-'2000 version for a while.
The new 2001 model has several significant improvements:
-A new tailpiece assembly has multiple string anchor holes to allow the use of different length strings, including the commonly available "Extra Long Scale" "Long Scale Plus" and "Super Long Scale" sizes, as well as the special "Ampeg length" strings. This will give you much more choice in string brands and gauges. I normally will ship your Scroll Bass with D'Addario Chromes flatwounds in the special Ampeg Length, unless you ask for something different.
-There are now two pickups, and a new controls and output jack configuration, with three output jacks and volume, tone, and blend controls. Two of the jacks are direct "hotwire" feeds from the pickups, and the other is a "normal" output, blending the signals from the two pickups and passing it through the volume and tone controls. Any of the jacks can be used simultaneously, which can be very handy in the studio or on stage. The entire pickup system is mounted to a sturdy brass plate that shows through the pickguard.
-The fretted AEB-2 model now has very tiny #764 mandolin-size frets. These work great with the flatwound strings and make the neck exceptionally smooth and fast feeling.
-I've redesigned the back of the neck/body joint to make it cleaner and stronger. There are now two chrome plated 1/4" thick brass bars which are recessed into the back of the body.
-There's a classy brass nameplate just ahead of the bridge that is engraved with the instrument's serial number and assembly date.
The AEB-2 (fretted) and AUB-2 (fretless) Scroll Basses are new instruments that are nowin limited production and available from me. I designed them, and I build every one of them personally here in my shop in Burbank. Although they look like the AEB-1 and AUB-1 basses that Ampeg made in the '60's, they are not "reissues" or copies. I've kept all the key design features and the overall style and character of the original Ampegs, but I've fixed the weaknesses and improved on almost every detail.
I've always felt that the Ampeg AEB-1 was a significant step in the evolution of the horizontal electric bass, but a few technical problems kept it from catching on in the '60's and becoming a serious challenger to the Fender basses. With thisproject, I'm trying to correct that, and bring the Scroll Bass design up to its full potential.
Compared to the original Ampegs, the AEB-2 and AUB-2 are higher quality and more comfortable to play. They have a much wider tonal range, and the geometry is optimized for aggressive playing on the flatwound strings. The controls can be set to duplicate the warm, booming thump of a '66 AEB-1, but they can also be opened up to play a full frequency range with clear, crisp high overtones and subharmonics. Played up high on the neck, these basses have a clear, smoothcello-like tone, with long sustain and a mild "bloom" on the notes. Played hard through an overdriven amp, they'll produce a crisp, biting distorted tone.
If you've ever owned or played a vintage Ampeg Scroll Bass, here's what's new on the AEB-2and AUB-2:
-The scale length has been extended to 35".
-The neck is very thin and comfortable to play.
-The edges of the fingerboard are rounded off and polished.
-The back of the neck is coated with Tru-Oil, rubbed to a satin finish
-The headstock is fully carved from maple, with more dramatic scalloping and contouring.
-The body is hollowed out with a series of acoustic chambers that add warmth and sustain.
-The whole instrument balances nicely on a strap and on the knee.
-The pickup was developed specifically to work with flatwound strings; it captures the warm low-midsand the percussive attack, while keeping the high end clear and smooth.
-A three position switch gives two ranges to the tone control, plus a bypass position which connects the pickup directly to the output jack.
My Relationship With Ampeg &
A Quick History Of This Project
I'm an independent one-man company with no direct business connection to the Ampeg Division of St. Louis Music, Inc. However, from the start of this project, I've worked with the good folks at SLM, and they've been very helpful and supportive of what I'm doing. SLM hasn't been involved in the design or manufacturing of these instruments, although we've tried to work together on promotion and distribution.
I'd been collecting and researching Ampeg basses for many years, and in 1995 I began to think seriously about developing a new generation of the Scroll Basses. At the January '96 NAMM show, I talked with Tony Moscal and Paul Meisenzahl of SLM, and presented my idea to them. The plan was that I would develop and manufacture the new instruments, and SLM would distribute them through music dealers that carry the Ampeg line.
SLM is very protective of the Ampeg name, and we agreed that the new Scroll Basses had to be high quality, serious basses that pros would choose to play, not just historical reissues. Tony and Paul were enthusiastic about the project, because it fit in well with other new product lines that they were working on that were tied to Ampeg's history. They had been talking with Steve Azola about releasing a new version of the Baby Bass, and working with several companies abouta new line of the Dan Armstrong lucite-bodied guitars and basses.