For the origin and the story of the Dan Armstrong 'London' bass, it is recommended to first read through the guitar
section as the bass models are identical to the guitar model in this respect.
The bass instruments did have a few interesting differences than their guitar counterpart however. While the guitar
model was a 6 string guitar with a left handed or 12 string version available as a special order, the basses were
produced in both short and long scale as stock versions with left handed or fretless versions available on a special
As can be seen at left, the bass guitars, particularly the short scale models, closely matched the guitar model. In
fact, from a distance its 301/8"scale neck can easily be mistaken for its guitar
counterpart unless one counts the number of tuning pegs.
The pickups on these basses were identical to the guitars in that they were a humbucking type that slide on an
aluminum ramp from the bridge to the neck. However, being a bass guitar, this allowed for a bit more travel of the
pickup over the guitar model. Unlike the guitar, the short scale bass features a 24 fret fingerboard. Coupled with
a strikingly close body shape, and similar scratchplate shape - these models are virtually just the
Dan Armstrong · Ampeg acrylic bass models only made of wood.
At left, a long scale model 343 bass. Notice how far back the bridge/tailpiece is when compared to the short scale
bass pictured above. In the photo of the short scale, notice how the bridge tailpiece is located next to the tone
control, whereas on this bass, it is way toward the bottom of the guitar.
One nice feature of the long scale is the extra travel of the pickup on the ramp that is thus possible with the
bridge being so far back. This will allow for even more new & interesting sounds to eminate from the instrument.
Seen above, a later model Dan Armstrong London bass. This one is a very late model in that it not only sports the
later body style, but the headstock does not feature the 'London' stamp on it. As can be seen, and especially
noticeable in the middle photo, this bass is the long scale version. Notice how the bridge/tailpiece is near the very
bottom of the instrument which allows for a greater distance that the sliding pickup can travel, thus providing a
greater amount of tonal qualities over the short scale version.
As seen upper left, and as mentioned above, this bass does not sport the 'London' name on the headstock. According
to Tony Pitt and Kent Armstrong, this is due to the fact that in the latter days of production Dan wanted to move
all operations to Germany in an attempt to avoid the rising costs of production in England. Since instruments were
still being produced, and, since nobody knew if, or when the business would relocate to Germany, it was decided to
play it safe and drop the 'London' name - at least for the duration. At upper right, the backside of the headstock
with its Schaller® tuners.
Like the guitar models, the later model basses began to arrive in different colors, and according to Craig Buzzart
who was the west coast distributor of these instruments "It didn't matter if it was the guitar or the bass models
but near the end days, the instruments started to arrive in different & random colors. A dealer often didn't know what
color he was going to get next." One can only assume that Dan wanted to try to stimulate sales a little further
by offering different colors.
Although the newer body style and white finish definitely clarifies this as a later model instrument, it nevertheless
sports the 'London' name on the headstock making this a later model but not one of the latest, for close to the end the
London name was dropped.
Notice too the aluminum nut and zero fret as well as the machining of the aluminum veneer on the headstock. The
fine machining is most noticeable in the enlarged view.
Unlike the acrylic Dan Armstrong instruments, the headstock design did not allow for direct string pull from the nut
to the tuners as is especially noticeable in the outer (E&G) strings.
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