Modulus 12-String Bass

The Modulus custom shop has only produced a handful of 12-string basses and most of those were doubled 6-strings.

Here is the description of this bass as told by it's owner, who prefers to remain anonymous. "Rich Lasner (then Modulus president, now at Vox Guitars), talked about it briefly on your site. The instrument was built during the years when Geoff Gould, founder of Modulus, was president, but most of the same crew were there when Rich was running the place. Geoff is a close friend of mine and I know Rich fairly well too."

"I grew up in Iowa and my brother and I really loved Cheap Trick. My main bass influence was Greg Lake and I’m a huge fan of Modulus instruments. This bass is sort of the three-way collision of all those elements – 12-string thru-body with 35” scale (the treble strings sound amazing). The body is shaped like a Gibson Ripper which was my dream bass when I first started playing and which Greg Lake was an endorser of in the 70’s. The body carving is very Ripper like with wide bevels, but I don’t like the body laminations to show, so the super-curly top is a double-thick book match. The thick maple over mahogany body is very reminiscent of Tom Petersson’s original QuadBass and was completely intentional. Geoff had worked with Tom before (he built him that 18-string bass that ended up in Allen Woody’s collection)."

"Modulus necks are built-up in a mold from sheets of graphite fabric. It’s very expensive to make a custom mold, especially for a thru-body like this, but using the 5-string thru-body mold was just perfect. (I had a 5-string from that same mold). They had to extend the headstock to accommodate all the tuners. I provided them a Ripper for the body shape, but the body style was modified to match the heel of the existing neck mold. Because Modulus necks don’t have a truss rod and there was obviously going to be a lot of tension here, the neck is made of a stiffer graphite than regular production Modulus instruments (using this different material was standard practice at Modulus when a non-standard instrument is being made)."

 

"Fabrication and body carving was done by Joe Perman. The final set up was done by Rich Hoeg. The block side inlays were done by Larry Robinson. Geoff Gould was fantastic at making the impossible happen even if he thought this was completely kooky."

Modulus custom explorer shaped 12-string bass played by bassist Chip Adams on stage with the band "Spanky Lee".

Chip changed the body of the bass. He writes, "I had Modulus make me a new body for her (actually the older production body for their 4-5-6 string models) routed for three EMG 40 series pickups (2 P and 1 DC), and she has 2 outputs. The explorer body looked cool but wasn't practical with the weight of the headstock, etc.".

"Of all the 12's I've owned in the past she has this real throaty, glassy tone thanks mostly to the graphite neck I'm sure. She's also medium scale. I always described the tone as 'Chong' until that became her name."

 

Chip's name is on the headstock.

 

Restringing time.


Modulus 18-String Bass

Modulus 18-String Bass and Allen Woody

Modulus made this 18-string bass for Tom Petersson in the early 1980's. It was a TBX neck-through model with a custom Stars Guitars brass bridge. According to Modulus founder Geoff Gould, it is short 30½" scale. The neck is about 2¼" wide at the nut and about 3¾" wide at the 24th fret.

This bass was built about the same time that Petersson left Cheap Trick. Petersson reportedly didn't like it (nor did he reportedly pay for it) and it was subsequently shipped back to Modulus. Although in the credits of the 1984 "Tom Petersson and Another Language" album (his band with his wife Dagmar) it states that Petersson played "12-String and 18-String Bass Guitar", there is no evidence that he actually used the 18-string on the album.

 

Allan Woody contacted Modulus about that time and asked if an 18-string “just like the one you made for Tom Petersson” could be built for him. When he was told the actual Petersson bass was available he became the new owner. He used the bass in live concerts with the Allman Brothers Band on the song Whipping Post. Check out the Allman Brothers DVD "Live at Great Woods" to see this bass in action.

Allan Woody and part of his bass collection as published in Bass Player magazine.
The Modulus 18-string bass is circled.

This 18-string bass was still owned by Woody at the time of his death in 2000. It is currently on display at The Big House - Allman Brothers Museum in Macon, Georgia.