Tuesday, 29 April 2008
Monday, 28 April 2008
In 1970 I heard a hard rock band called 'Mountain' which just blew me away. The band consisted of an incredible lead guitarist by the name of Leslie West. Corky Laing commanded the drums like no other. Steve Knight on keyboards added subdued textures to the loud, "in your face" mix. Finally my hero, the late Felix Pappalardi. Felix had a degree in music from the University of Michigan but unable to find a suitable employment conducting an orchestra, garnered fame as producer for the supergroup trio 'Cream'. In 1969 Felix met Leslie and formed 'Mountain'.
Felix's bassmanship and finesse on the instrument was unlike anything I had heard before. His tone was unique and sounded like a buzz saw which complemented the bombastic sounds emanating from Leslie's Les Paul Jr guitar. Felix developed his sound by playing a rather unpopular Gibson bass called the EB-1 (simply, the Electric Bass One). Rumour has it that Felix had this violin shaped short scale (32") bass modified by Gibson with some sort of electronic circuitry (or perhaps just different capacitors) which when driven by his Sunn amplifiers, gave it that unique buzz saw sound. The violin shaped Gibson EB-1 should not be confused with the violin shaped Hofner Bass played by Paul McCartney in "The Beatles". The EB-1 can also be seen in action being played by the phenomenal Jack Bruce in the 2005 'Cream' reunion DVD at Royal Albert Hall in London.
Looking far and wide I was able to locate an EB-1 in London England which a friend of mine was willing to pick up for me but I also found one in Lansing Michigan. I just had to have it so I scraped together my savings, my salary, yet being childless, I couldn't offer my first borne - I made the purchase.
I am the proud owner of a 1957 Gibson EB-1 in pristine condition with all original parts.
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