3. A short history

The development of amplifiers and bass speakers is closely linked to the first electronic instruments. Leo Fender, an ingenious radio mechanic and visionary from sunny California, was a trailbazer when he launched his Precision Bass in 1951: this was the birth of the first e-bass to be manufactured in series. You really have to take a second and think about it: only a few years prior, anyone who felt the sweet call of the bass would almost automatically end up a double bass player! And those double bass players were really glad when they managed to be heard over the noise of the swing band or dance orchestra they were playing with. In order to prevail over the din of their fellow musicians, upright (double bass) players, lacking electronic aids, had to come up with quite a few tricks in the 1920s and 1930s. For example, the slapping technique employed in double bass playing (still common today in rockabilly music) is a direct result of such efforts - but this "banging", exhausting technique applied directly to the instrument required all the musician's muscle power and great stamina!

Ampeg Heritage SVT810E

Ampeg's first bass amplifier, 1949's Super 800, thus was a true innovation indeed. It was the first device immediately conceived for double bass players. This amplifier featured a single 12-inch speaker and an output power of 18 Watt - almost ridiculous seen from where we are today! The first device for e-bass players worth mentioning was 1952's Fender Bassman, whose single 15-inch speaker was powered by a tube amp with respectable 50 Watts output. Later, it was redesigned to feature four 10-inch speakers. Still, these early attempts were a world away from the wide variety of models available to us on the market today.

The first stand-alone and resoundingly - in both senses of the word - successful bass speaker is most likely Ampeg's legendary 8x10 cabinet: this veritable monster, launched onto the market in 1969, featured an amazing eight speakers! The mere fact that this speaker is still available today is proof enough of the system's absolute efficiency.

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Best rated products

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