Ridiculous bass guitars

There’s no doubt that there are many stunningly beautiful bass guitars; just a quick glance at some the models on our website proves that.  However, let’s be frank, alongside the beautiful, there are also some slightly weirder ones out there too.  So we’re going to put aside the big brand names and instead shine a non-judgemental spotlight on some of the most unusual, ridiculous and downright odd bass guitars the world has to offer.

Let’s start with basses which are connected with famous bass players such as the Gene Simmons Cort Axe Bass.  This unique model is not only shaped in the Axe design that Gene Simmons favoured, but it is also custom painted by Gentry Riley, who was the painter of all of Gene Simmons’ Axe models during Kiss’ legendary Monster Tour.  Adorned with an eye-catching serpent design with black slitted dragon eyes glaring out from under the strings, and oversized fangs sitting on the right-hand side of the body, this is truly an individual bass.  Plus – it’s worth mentioning that every Gentry Riley piece was hand-painted by the man himself, making each model one-of-a-kind.  While we’re on the subject of one-of-a-kind basses, we also need to talk about Bootsy Collins’ Space Bass.  Created in 1975, around the time that Collins was developing his various alto egos, (which fans will know were different parts of an ever-changing alien rock star character which got increasingly bizarre), this model was initially nicknamed the ‘Starburst’ bass.  It featured both a star shaped body as well as a star shaped headstock, and it became synonymous with Collins’ style and sound in the 1970s.  Originally conceptualised by Collins on a napkin, he initially struggled to find anyone who would take on the design and make it a reality.  However, eventually Collins approached up-and-coming guitar maker, Larry Pless.  Thankfully, Pless agreed, and the Space Bass was born.

We can’t talk about ridiculous basses without addressing the two extremes when it comes to size.  To find one of the world’s smallest bass guitars, you need look no further than the MüB Miezo 6 Mini Bass.  Despite its small dimensions, it still delivers on sound equal to its larger counterparts – proving that size really doesn’t matter if you know what you’re doing.  Half the size of a normal bass, this mini version has no real neck, but it has been cleverly designed to mirror the style of a MüB standard base, meaning that its proportion, balance and contours feel very familiar, enabling any bass player to quickly adjust to its size and produce the same high-quality results.

At the opposite end of the size spectrum, we have the juggernaut that is Octobass.  Although technically an upright bass, we couldn’t not include this; it would be like ignoring the elephant sized bass in the room.  This rare, three stringed instrument was first created in 1850 and is typically tuned a full octave lower than a standard double base.  Measuring almost three and a half metres in height, it’s so large that there are special pedals and keys on the side to allow players to change the pitch on each of its (very thick) strings.  Understandably, Octobass models are more exhibition pieces these days, with a great example on display in the Musée de la Musique in Paris.

As we know, most basses have four or five strings, maybe six at a push.  However, let us introduce you to a couple of basses with a mind-blowing number of strings.  First up is the Conklin Custom Sidewinder 9 String 36 Fret Bass.  As its name suggests – with its nine strings and large number of frets – this is a beast of a bass.  Although the strings are quite tightly packed together, its weight and wide neck make this a hefty bass to hold and play.  Similarly, the B.C. Rich Bich Double Neck model also deserves a mention here.  Made for the cult classic film This is Spinal Tap, this striking bass has 12 strings and is double necked, making it an impressive sight, but quite a handful to play.  However, if the film is to be believed, we’re pretty sure that if you turn the amplifier up to 11, everything will sound great…

Finally, let’s take a look at a few bass guitars that fall into the novelty category, which are arguably more fun than ridiculous, but we’ll leave you to make your own mind up.  The 1985 Charvel Phoenix bass is an extraordinary example of a bass guitar produced in collaboration with an artist. This phoenix inspired design was a collaboration between Wayne Charvel and artist Jim O’Conner and it features striking gold-coloured wings bursting out from the black painted body, and a headstock in the shape of a phoenix head.  Although we’re classing this as ‘novelty’, you can’t deny that it is an impressive design – and what bass player wouldn’t want to play a guitar based around an eternally reborn mythical creature?!  A slightly more offbeat bass – also inspired by a form of mythical creature – is the Jackson Custom Shop Kaiju Custom model.  Made from hand carved and hand painted Alder wood, this somewhat unnerving bass design includes LED lights in the eye and mouth elements, which light up when it’s plugged in.  Staying with the slightly disturbing theme, the J. Frog George Lynch Skull & Bones bass boasts an intricate, twisted skeleton embellishment – complete with skull, of course.  This six stringed model also comes in its own coffin shaped case for added spook value.  It’s not for us to say that bass guitar design has gone down the pan, but this last ridiculous bass proves that toilet humour is alive and well in bass guitarist circles.  The Royal Flush Toilet Seat bass was produced in a limited run and comes in its own faux leather case.  Despite being an unconventional design, it is described as ‘fully playable’ and has an adjustable bridge and bolt on neck to allow for a certain level of customisation.

So there you have it.  A selection of some of the most ridiculous basses on the planet.  Of course, this isn’t a definitive list, and there are many, many more gloriously ridiculous bass guitars to be found, but these are some of our favourites.  Although many of the designs we have highlighted could be described as ridiculous, the work and passion that has gone into producing such unique creations must be recognised.  However outrageous or ridiculous they may seem, they have all been inspired by a passion for music and creativity, so in our opinion, the guitar world is all the better for them.