Find of the Week: A Post-Punk Pioneer's Electric Upright

This week's Find of the Week is an Ampeg AEB-1 electric bass from the late '60s that was owned by post-punk pioneer Jah Wobble. The instrument was gifted to the bassist by the famed avant-garde producer and fellow four-string compatriot Bill Laswell.

For those uninitiated, Jah Wobble (born John Wardle) is best known as a founding member of the band Public Image Ltd, which he formed alongside frontman John Lydon following the latter's departure from the Sex Pistols. His dub-inspired rhythmic low-end is signature to the band's sound, particularly on their classic 1979 album Metal Box.

jah wobble ampeg
Jah Wobble's Ampeg AEB-1

About the bass: Introduced at NAMM in 1966, the AEB-1—along with its fretless counterpart, the AUB-1—were the first electric basses of the amplifier manufacturer's own design. Much like a standard acoustic upright, it features a scroll headstock, two large F-holes that go all the way through the body, and was initially meant to be played horizontally. Its pickup system is buried in the body underneath the bridge, which is mounted onto a thin steel diaphragm plate on top of two big magnetic coils.

Wobble's bass had the frets removed and lines added, making it a lined fretless bass—it also comes equipped with an EMG soapbar pickup (originally designed for 5-string electrics) and is strung with Rotosound flatwounds. According to the seller Andy Baxter, who met Jah through his bass tech and has helped sell some of his instruments in Leeds, the bass has been used regularly in the studio, most recently on his 2020 ambient jazz album Nocturne In The City.

Check out the full listing for more photos and details, or to buy this bottom-end beast for yourself.

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