Saturday, 13 July 2013

1960s vintage Hungarian-made Moni Bassus bass guitar with tremolo!
This 1960s vintage Moni Bassus bass guitar is an exceedingly interesting piece - I swear I performed a silent movie style double take when I first saw it on eBay last night. The seller tells us that:
The bass is from 1960s years, manufactured in the late communist Hungary, made by the Instrument Factory of Szeged /Szegedi Hangszergyár/.

This bass is truly rare, even in Hungary there are only a few, and those by real collectors, because this bass and the very similar Moni Solo guitar were made only in the 60s years, and since then many of them were destroyed. Some are on the opinion that the Moni guitars aren't that good quality, but I don't think that's true. Indeed, these guitars don't reach the quality of the Gibson and Fender guitars of the same age, but these are very unique sounding instruments that should have their place in people's collections, who appreciate the old guitars that were made in low quantity.

The bass looks like a solid body, but in reality it's a hollow, you can see it in the photos where the inside of the guitar is visible. The original label is inside the guitar, too, it's the number 74 bass, so it means it was one of the first basses made.
However, the seller manages to somehow neglect to mention the one major thing that makes this bass so interesting (well, to me at least). That is, it has a tremolo arm! Outside of the Fender Bass VI and its imitators such as the Teisco TB-64, I am not aware of any conventional (i.e. FOUR-string) bass guitar to feature a tremolo before Kahler introduced a bass trem system in the 1980s. If any Guitarz readers know of any other examples, please let us know via the comments below!

Here we see a close-up of the tremolo - it all looks very hand-made.

As the seller points out, what looks like a solidbody instrument is actually quite hollow. Note also the unusual layout of the tuners on the headstock - the way they are spaced it looks like there's room for two more nearer the top of the headstock. Perhaps the same neck blank was used on six string guitars. (I'm not certain of the scale length, but it does look quite short).

The design does seem to ape certain Italian-made Eko instruments of the same era, what with the rear cutaway and the MOTO pickguard.

This bass is currently being auctioned on eBay with a starting price of $169.

G L Wilson

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