7/03/2013

c.1980 Kramer/Martin Frankenstein Electric Bass



This pretty cool electric bass is a composite instrument: a late-70s Kramer aluminum neck and hardware mated to a late 70s/early 80s Martin EB-18 body. The owner of this bass thought the body was homebuilt (and it sort of looks it) but I remember saying, "it looks sort of like a Martin bass." Well, when I was replacing the wiring (as in many mod-builds, the wiring job was funky even though it was just a tone and volume setup) I saw the factory EB-18 stamp inside the cover on the back. So there you are!

Work included replacing the whole wiring harness, giving the neck a fret level and dress, popping on a couple of parts-bin knobs, and a setup. It's a substantial piece of equipment with great tone and a lot of heft. I'd imagine that with the aluminum neck and big old solid maple/walnut body it's going to stay in tune and stable for a long, long time between tunings.


I rather like the mated look. The original Kramers didn't have the most attractive body shape while the original Martin necks didn't have the most attractive headstock shape.



Good ebony board with an old-school "P bass" feel.


The pickup surround is a homemade addition. Note the funky '50s-style gold knobs: they were the only matched pair I had around and actually look pretty cute on this!


Big old heavy duty bridge...



Isn't that a great-looking body?



Here you can see the inserts set into the back of the aluminum neck.


The rosewood electronics coverplate is, of course, hairline-cracked in a couple places, but some tape on the reverse holds it steady to do its job. The original plate would have been black plastic.


This bass has some weight but it's not much more than a big old slab P-bass, though it is slightly more neck-heavy.

This bass was originally part of the Skanktone Guitars collection. Skanktone was run by Joe Schenkman of right-here-in-Rochester, Vermont, and specialized in fun, funky, wonky, and wild old guitars (among other things). He amassed a very cool personal collection that's been off-and-on stored for a number of years and now a fair number of the quirky and fun vintage items are being sold through Antebellum. Thanks for sharing the toys, Joe!

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