Veteran 12-String Bassist
Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson catches some Big Air while delivering his Big Sound!


Ron Johnson from Rockford, Illinois is one of the early pioneers of the 12-string bass. He has played in about a dozen bands in the upper Midwest since 1979, including; The Frame (1979-1987), The Rodeo Clowns (1992-94), Less Than Zero (2000-2001) and TRaSh 80's (2001-current).

Ron's love affair with the 12-string bass began in 1985 when he ordered his B12A from Hamer. At that time only a handful of players owned 12's. He received it in 1986, the same year these photos were taken.

This model was the second style of B12A made for Tom Petersson. It has no specific model name so it has been referred to simply as the Tom Petersson Style bass. It has a more streamlined body and thinner headstock than earlier B12A basses. The neck, pickups, bridge and tailpiece are set far forward compared to a regular B12A. This bass is long scale and has a single truss rod. Ron says, "The single truss has never ever needed any major adjustments and the neck is solid as hell."

More information about this bass.


In addition to the Hamer 12-string bass Ron's instrumental arsenal includes a 1976 Rickenbacker 4001, 1978 Fender Fretless P-Bass, 1985 Spector NS2,  Danelectro Long Horn reissue, a Danelectro 6-string bass, a Fender BG29 Acoustic, and a 2005 Waterstone TP-2.

About his rig Ron states, "I have downsized since the 80's in order to keep my family jewels where they belong. My original set up was: Two Bag End 15" Cabinets, one JBL 2x12 and one Gauss 15". I usually used EVM, Gauss, and JBL speakers. I ran this all through a Furman PQ3 and then a DOD crossover that split the signal between a QSC 1151 and BGW 250 power amp (running in mono). It gave me approximately 700-800 watts of power. This was stadium level sound and quite the overkill."

"I now hot rod a Fender Bullet amp, that has a great overdrive, into a QSC 1151 power amp and achieve a perfect sound for all basses and save my back. The bass cabinet I use now is a Walecki & Sons 15" from 1983; it used to belong to Jon Brant of Cheap Trick. I also have a 1965 Magnatone M12 bass cabinet that I sometimes pull out."

Ron was recently named Employee of the Month at his day job, and was featured
with his 12-string bass on the back cover of their monthly magazine. Great suit, Ron!


Ron Johnson, flying soon to a stage near you!

Be sure to check out the TRaSh 80's website