The Jack Casady Signature Bass was designed by Casady in collaboration with Epiphone and is the culmination of years of experimentation by the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna bassist to find an instrument with superb, balanced electric tone and the response of an acoustic bass.
"When I first started playing, I ran across a short scale semi-hollow bass," Casady told Epiphone.com. "Despite lacking some low end, I really enjoyed the semi-hollow nature of that bass and over the years tried to capture that characteristic." Casady did find a rare Les Paul bass that came close to the sound he was seeking. "In 1985 I was living in New York and happened to stop in a music store one day and saw a goldtop, full scale semi-hollow Les Paul bass," Casady recalled. "I loved the bass but found the pickup to be deficient."
Casady approached Epiphone president Jim Rosenberg and, along with the R&D Department at Epiphone, Casady fulfilled a life-long dream by designing the perfect electric bass.
"I went to work on the pickup and it took almost two years to develop," says Casady. "I did a lot of homework and bench testing and finally when it clicked in right, it was great." The Jack Casady Signature bass features a JCB-1 low impedance pickup and employs a three-position transformer to shape the frequency response. "They blow the old Gibsons to smithereens, even in the construction," says Casady. "The workmanship that's coming in on these instruments is just super." The Signature Bass features a rosewood fretboard on a mahogany set neck, with a maple laminate/mahogany semi hollow body.
Casady insisted that his own personal basses should be no different than any Jack Casady Signature you'd find in a store. "Every year I get two new instruments that I take out on the road," says Casady. "No ringers. I have none that are set up a special way or anything like that and they are great."
Casady is one of the rare rock bassists known by fans and players for his signature tone. And like The Beach Boys' Brian Wilson and The Beatles' Paul McCartney, Casady became a bass player after years of study on other instruments. "My first teacher was a big band guitarist named Harry Vorhees. Later on I took from a number of guitarists; one was Bill Harris who was the guitarist for the Clovers," Casady told Epiphone.com. "He had studied with a guy who studied with Andres Segovia."
While growing up in Washington D.C., Casady started a band called the Triumphs with high school classmate Jorma Kaukonen and also became friends with future guitar legend Danny Gatton. It was Gatton who asked Casady to sit in on bass. "This was around 1959 or 1960 and I loved it so much that I went out and bought a bass," recalled Casady. "All of a sudden my work quota increased dramatically because I played both bass and guitar."
After Casady accepted Jorma's invitation to join Jefferson Airplane in 1965, Casady moved to San Francisco and began his professional career and the search for a great instrument. And now he's made it.
The Jazz Times wrote in a rave review that Epiphone and Casady's design had broken new ground in electric bass. The neck is rounded and beefy enough to really dig in to its rosewood fretboard. Because of the clarity of its low-impedance/relatively low-output magnetic pickup, and its placement at the sweet spot along the length of the string, the bass is never muddy-just fat, woody and nuanced. The Jack Casady Signature offers jazz players an extraordinarily expressive, idiomatic vision of the electric bass guitar.
Click here to read more of our Epiphone interview with Jack Casady
||JCB-1 Low-Impedance Humbucker
||Master Volume, Master Tone, 3-Position Tone Switch
||Metallic Gold (MG), Ebony (EB)
||Epiphone Limited Lifetime
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