Vintage Guitar and Bass forum

John Entwistle Flying V bass


  • *****
  • 3068
    • View Profile
Cassady V bass
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2008, 01:38:04 AM »
I wonder if the cassidy bass balances better - it's got a significantly longer body. I really like that one.

John Entwistle Flying V bass
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2008, 01:56:59 AM »
I don't know if the long wings would help it balance or not. The main reason why V basses don't balance is the lack of an upper "horn" like a Fender or Rickenbacker. That's why Fender extended the upper cutaway on the Precision Bass instead of just making a "Telecaster Bass" as it were.
This is why T-Birds, EB's etc. have a neck dive problem. It seems that Fender's philosophy was to always design a bass as a BASS, almost from the ground up, whereas Gibson's strategy (the EB-1 being the exception that makes the rule) was to make a bass version of an existing guitar..the original Les Paul Jr. bodied EB-0, all the SG bodied EBs, as well as the EB-2 and of course the Thunderbirds are all essentially a Gibson guitar with bass neck and hardware.
In fact, now that I think about it, the oft maligned Ripper is probably he first "purpose built" Gibson bass...rather noteworthy!


  • *****
  • 3068
    • View Profile
what came first
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2008, 03:59:16 AM »
Quote from: guitarshark
was to make a bass version of an existing guitar..the original Les Paul Jr. bodied EB-0, all the SG bodied EBs, as well as the EB-2 and of course the Thunderbirds are all essentially a Gibson guitar with bass neck and hardware

I know what you are saying, but I would put it a little more favourably to the basses...

These bass models were made at the same time as, rather than from an existing model. I would suggest that both were designed together from the same principles. Guitar and bass being equal, rather than one being an afterthought of the other....

John Entwistle Flying V bass
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2008, 04:34:52 AM »
True, they possibly were developed at the same time, but I think the guitar versions' release usually preceded the bass versions slightly...

Still, the fact that Gibson chose to develop bass and guitar versions of the same instrument suggests to me that basses were not given the same R&D priority as the guitars. A bass guitar is not simply a 4 stringed guitar tuned an octave CAN be, but the reality is more complex than that. Obviously, Gibson basses have there charm and character, but I think a strong objective case can be made that a Fender bass is a "better" engineered bass guitar than say, an EB-0.
I suppose this is subjective, but few would call an SG an "EB-3 guitar" or a Firebird a "Thunderbird guitar". I can't begin to count how many times I've heard EB's referred to as "SG basses" (even Gibson now has an SG Bass!) and Thunderbirds as "Firebird basses".That the identity of Gibson basses is tied to the guitars might be down to the general public being more aware of guitars than basses, but consider that one never hears of anyone referring to a Fender Precision or Jazz as a "Stratocaster Bass" ...
Despite this, I'm not attempting to denigrate Gibson basses or deify Fenders at the expense of Gibsons...I own quite a few of both makes, after all. I just find it interesting how the two major pioneering guitar companies chose to build bass guitars when there weren't many (or any) other bass guitars around to use as a design template. And lets not even get into Rickenbacker!

John Entwistle Flying V bass
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2011, 01:00:32 AM »
Yes, John Entwistle used a similar bass in the movie Tommy during the pinball battle scene.


John Entwistle Flying V bass
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2011, 08:57:56 PM »
Wikipedia states that Jacks bass is indeed a Guild.


  • *****
  • 3068
    • View Profile
Jack Casady V bass
« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2011, 12:27:39 PM »
Jack talks about his Guild flying V bass here


John Entwistle Flying V bass
« Reply #23 on: December 20, 2013, 03:28:41 AM »
Pete’s Flying V bass was built by me in March of 1968 using a Gibson EB3 with an extra humbucking pickup. I cut off excess material from the body and headstock and then grafted new material to reconfigure it as a custom replica of a Flying V like the 58 that Billy had purchased. I had to hurry as my custom V body Fender Jazz had been stolen from our equipment truck after the Dallas Hendrix show 2/16/68 and we had gigs every week. I am the bass player from The Moving Sidewalks. Pete felt cheated/deceived when his guitar tech stripped the bass to re-spray it and found it was not an authentic Explorer model.  He should have also found the four nail holes on the back that I used to mount my spinnng mechanism that was used for a couple of months. It was similar to the two that I made for Dusty and Billy for the “Leggs” video. When I consigned the bass at Arnold & Morgan in Garland,Texas I told the person at the store that it was not an authentic V bass but one that I had custom built to resemble one. Between me and Pete the bass was misrepresented intentionally or through ignorance but not by me! When Tommy came out in 1975 Dan Mitchell called me to say that Entwistle was playing my bass. For several years I tried to reach Pete thought the record label to no avail. I thought he would be interested in the background history.
The Sidewalks had developed a dynamic end of show presentation. Pioneers of “Flash Bombs’ which were used in the final song with, fog machines, strobes and feedback. The Yard birds “I’m A Man” was played “Who” style at the end. With chaotic sound and Billy’s guitar feeding back he would walk off followed by Tom who had jammed a matchbook in the keys of his B3 while Dan and I wailed away. Billy and Tom walked off the deck and I gave my V bass a mighty spin and stood arms out stretched to the sky flashing piece signs. It was a wild sight with the strobe freezing the motion of the bass and the fog and seconds later the bombs went off with a thundering whoomp and blinding flash. Of course my bass had been unplugged right before and it was hazardous with those keys whizzing past my head and then knowing how to stop it. I was able to do it and get off the stage before the lights came back on.  It was always good for a standing O which was somewhat rare. We did the same thing at both Doors shows in Dallas and Houston. On the second and last show with them, their equipment was set a little too close to the flash bombs and the amps were singed which caused them to scurry out and tamp out whatever was smoldering.
Sure wish I could have talked to him back then! He missed some pretty interesting history.

John Entwistle Flying V bass
« Reply #24 on: December 20, 2013, 08:24:12 AM »

Not been here for a while, so thought I would do a pre Christmas catch up.

This thread started a long tome ago and reading the last entry, I think it has
wandered off topic?

It caught my interest, due to the title - I did a series of features on Peter Cook,
the guitar builder, who I still keep in touch with and looking at the first post, it looks like one of JAE's "'ere, stick this lot together" :-D

I can ask him if he had anything to do with it.

I have read the post by DFS a couple of times but perhaps need to read further down to truly understand it.
I wonder who DFS is, who is Pete and is the bass that Jack is playing the one DFS made?

Look forward to your reply.

Cheers. :)


  • *****
  • 3068
    • View Profile
John Entwistle Flying V bass
« Reply #25 on: December 20, 2013, 12:32:54 PM »
DFS must be Don Summers of

Great story DFS - thanks for posting - so to clarify, you mean this bass??


And who was Pete? Pete Townsend??

Did anyone ever film your Moving Sidewalks end-of-set mayhem?


Recent posts on vintage guitar and bass

1970 Rosetti Epiphone guitar catalogScan of 1970 Epiphone guitar catalogue produced by Rosetti for the UK market. Undated but most likely from mid-late 1970, this was the first UK catalogue to show the new range of Japanese (Matsumoku) Epiphone guitars. Interestingly, these pages show the Epiphone solid bodies with a single-sided Fender-style headstock layout - a feature quickly replaced with a typical two-sided Epiphone headstock almost immediately. Epiphone electric guitars: 9520, 9525; bass guitars: 9521, 9526; acoustic guitars: 6730, 6830, 6834
1971 A World of Guitars by Rosetti catalogueScan of 1971 Rosetti catalogue (UK) featuring guitars from from numerous manufacturers worldwide: guitars by Epiphone, Hagstrom, Levin, Hoyer, Egmond, Eros, Moridaira, Kiso-Suzuki, Schaller, and Tatra.
1971 Selmer guitar catalogueScan of 1971 Selmer guitar catalogue showing the range of electric and acoustic guitars distributed by the company: guitars by Gibson, Yamaha, Selmer, Hofner and Suzuki. 1960s Selmer had always placed Hofner at the front end of their catalogues, no doubt these were the better sellers - but into the 1970s Hofner were slipping somewhat and only appear at the tail end of this publication, pride of place going to Gibson, and to a lesser extent Yamaha. In fact this is the last Selmer catalogue to include the many Hofner hollow bodies (Committee, President, Senator etc) that had defined the companies output for so many years - to be replaced in the 1972 catalogue by generic solid body 'copies' of Gibson and Fender models. A number of new Gibson models are included for the first time: the SG-100 and SG-200 six string guitars and the SB-300 and SB-400 basses.
1968 Selmer guitar catalogueScan of 1968/1969 Selmer guitar catalogue (printed July 1968), showing the entire range of electric and acoustic guitars distributed by the company: guitars by Hofner, Gibson, Selmer and Giannini. Selmer were the exclusive United Kingdom distributors of Hofner and Gibson at the time, and this catalogue contains a total of 18 electric guitars, 7 bass guitars, 37 acoustics, and 2 Hawaiian guitars - all produced outside the UK and imported by Selmer, with UK prices included in guineas. This catalogue saw the (re-)introduction of the late sixties Gibson Les Paul Custom and Les Paul Standard (see page 69) and the short-lived Hofner Club 70. Other electric models include: HOFNER ELECTRICS: Committee, Verithin 66, Ambassador, President, Senator, Galaxie, HOFNER BASSES: Violin bass, Verithin bass, Senator bass, Professional bass GIBSON ELECTRICS: Barney Kessel, ES-330TD, ES-335TD, ES-345TD, ES-175D, ES-125CD, SG Standard, SG Junior, SG Special GIBSON BASSES: EB-0, EB-2, EB-3 - plus a LOT of acoustics branded Gibson, Hofner, Selmer and Giannini
1961 Hofner Colorama IHofner Colorama was the name UK distributor Selmer gave to a series of solid and semi-solid guitars built by Hofner for distribution in the UK. The construction and specifications of the guitars varied over the period of production, but by 1961 it was a totally solid, double cutaway instrument, with a set neck, translucent cherry finish, six-in-a-row headstock, and Hofner Diamond logo pickups. Available as a single or dual pickup guitar, this sngle pickup version would have been sold in mainland Europe as the Hofner 161.
1971 Commodore N25 (Matsumoku)Commodore was a brand applied to a series of guitars produced in Japan at the well-respected Matsumoku plant from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s - and sold primarily (perhaps exclusively?) in the United Kingdom. The models bearing the Commodore name were all guitars available from different distributors with different branding. Although there may have been some minor changes in appointments (specifically headstock branding) most had the same basic bodies, hardware and construction. Equivalent models to the Commodore N25 (and this is by no means an exhaustive list) include the Aria 5102T, Conrad 5102T(?), Electra 2221, Lyle 5102T, Ventura V-1001, Univox Coily - and most famously the Epiphone 5102T / Epiphone EA-250.
1960 Hofner Colorama IIThe Hofner Colorama was the name given by Selmer to a series of solid (and semi-solid) body Hofner guitars distributed in the United Kingdom between 1958 and 1965. The Colorama name actually applied to some quite different guitars over the period, but in 1960 it was a very light, semi-solid, set necked guitar with one (Colorama I) or two (Colorama II, as seen here) Toaster pickups. Although an entry-level guitar, it was very well-built, and a fine playing guitar; certainly a step up (at least in terms of craftsmanship) from many of the Colorama guitars that would follow, and a good deal of the guitars available in Britain circa 1960.
1971 Epiphone 1820 (ET-280) bassBy the end of the 1960s, a decision had been made to move Epiphone guitar production from the USA (at the Kalamazoo plant where Gibson guitars were made), to Matsumoto in Japan, creating a line of guitars and basses significantly less expensive than the USA-built models (actually less than half the price). The Matsumoku factory had been producing guitars for export for some time, but the 1820 bass (alongside a number of guitar models and the 5120 electric acoustic bass) were the first Epiphone models to be made there. These new Epiphones were based on existing Matsumoku guitars, sharing body shapes, and hardware, but the Epiphone line was somewhat upgraded, with inlaid logos and a 2x2 peghead configuration. Over the course of the 70s, the Japanese output improved dramatically, and in many ways these early 70s models are a low point for the brand. Having said this, there are a lot worse guitars out there, and as well as being historically important, the 1820 bass can certainly provide the goods when required.
1981 Gibson MarauderProduction of Bill Lawrence's Gibson Marauder began in 1974, with production peaking in 1978. But by 1980 the model was officially discontinued, though very small numbers slipped out as late as spring 1981. Over 7000 examples shipped between 1974 and 1979, and although no totals are available for 1980 and 1981, it is unlikely production reached three figures in either of these years. These final Marauders were all assembled at the Gibson Nashville plant, and had some nice features not available through the later years of production, such as a rosewood fretboard, and in this case, an opaque 'Devil Red' finish. It's a great looking and fine playing guitar!