Sunday, 2 November 2014

Could this be the earliest production model acoustic bass guitar?
I have on this blog previously queried what might have been the earliest production model acoustic bass guitar. Surely this Regal Bassoguitar circa 1937 must take the prize, even if it does look as if it was designed to be played upright like a traditional double bass. Note that it has a double bass style bridge and gut strings. Also in keeping with the double bass, the fingerboard is fretless, albeit with lined fret position markers.

It's quite a huge beast of an instrument and was apparently advertised in Regal's own catalogue as being "the biggest guitar in the world". However I suspect that the guy in the illustration opposite (possibly from the Regal catalogue?) is a boy or small adult, making the bass look all the bigger.

This example is currently listed on eBay with a Buy It Now price of US $3,999.

G L Wilson

© 2014, Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - the blog that goes all the way to 11!
Please read our photo and content policy.


  1. Time and time again with this blog I ask myself why th a weird old idea never caught on! This bass seems to be an idea that is perfectly logical, yet is spurned by the music world. I would very much like to play a double bass, and if companies were to be making these basses, I think a lot more people would get into upright playing styles. The cost prohibitive nature of the double bass is why an instrument like this makes so much sense! The Fender telecaster to the Gibson Super 400, cost effective, but not less of an instrument.

    This also does raise questions of the best way to build a good acoustic bass guitar. The basic guitar turned bass acoustic is usually fairly awful and only usable with a pickup, then you have the Guild style of bass; with a redesigned body but not much else, and the ernie ball earthwood doombass of eternal suffering; such a radical design it remains unique and rare.

    I have no idea how the regal bass sounds, but is it possible that, with that much bass, a flattop is just too boomy? The Arch top design may be the old way of getting any 'sweeter' tone. Oh well, I'll try my hand at cello and save up for the real thing.

  2. That's Israel Crosby, jazz bass player to Ahmad Jamal and George Shearing, and credited with the first recorded bass solo (on the 1935 'Blues for Israel' by Gene Krupa)!

    There is a website on these instruments: And yes, it probably was the first 'bass guitar', predating Fender by 13 years and Ernie Ball by a full 35 years. Although Gibson did have a quite similar Mando Bass before it.

  3. The Gibson Mando-Bass was fretted and first made in 1912.

    1. and also marketed very much as being part of the mandolin family.

  4. I have on this blog previously queried what might have been the earliest production model acoustic bass guitar. Surely this Regal Bassoguitar ...



Related Posts with Thumbnails