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1996 Ampeg AEB-2 Scroll Bass Bruce Johnson USA-Made, Collector-Grade, AEB-1


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Up for sale, a 1996 Ampeg AEB-2 Scroll Bass in exceptional, 100% original condition and in perfect working order. An exceedingly rare bass produced for Ampeg's 50th Anniversary, the Scroll Bass model has become synonymous with its modern maker and Ampeg historian, Bruce Johnson. While around a dozen of these modern iterations of the Scroll Bass bear the Ampeg name (this particular one is #006), they were wholly crafted by Johnson and are exceedingly well-made instruments, sonically and functionally exceeding the originals in almost every facet of their construction.

Even with a quick pass through Johnson's "Extremely Strange Musical Instrument Co" website, his passion for this instrument is apparent, and this Scroll Bass features a carved ash body paired with a maple neck and ebony fingerboard for an articulate, clear, and authoritative natural acoustic voice. Meant to replicate the tonal properties of an upright, as Bruce Johnson describes it, the Scroll bass offers a "rich, warm, percussive tone. Plugged directly into the mixing console, with no amp at all, the tone is very close to a good upright bass or a cello, except with longer sustain and a clearer high end. It's a real jazz/blues type of sound. This bass likes to be plucked hard with lots of right hand technique." This Scroll Bass weighs 9lbs 12oz, dialed in for optimal action and intonation here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar with 45-100 D'addario Chromes flatwound strings.

The neck has a medium depth D-shaped profile carve with full shoulders in every register and lightly rolled fretboard edges, measuring .830" deep at the 1st fret and .975" at the 12th. The jumbo fretwire is flawless on the 35" scale, and the bass plays cleanly in every register. The nut is carved from brass, and the fretboard width at the zero fret is 1 3/4". The nickel-plated Schaller clover button tuners turn smoothly and hold pitch well.

The pickup has a large carved ebony cover, and hardware includes a machined aluminum bridge and machined chrome-plated tailblock imprinted with the serial number. The Ampeg-branded pickguard is notable on this bass, as only the dozen or so basses produced during Johnson's partnership with Ampeg have this particular aesthetic accent. The Red Sunburst lacquer finish is vibrant and clean, and as Johnson switched to poly finishes on later production runs, it makes this instrument all the more notable for being shot in nitro lacquer. Cosmetic wear is limited to a spot of light buckle wear between ebony neck plate and bass-side F hole on back, and some pick scratches on the pickguard, predominantly across the strum path.

The original JP Cases padded gigbag is included.