In a 2006 interview, Jack Casady recalled the development of the Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass: “When I first started playing, I ran across a short scale semi-hollow bass. Despite lacking some low end, I really enjoyed the semi-hollow nature of that bass and over the years tried to capture that characteristic.”
“In 1985 I was living in New York and happened to stop in a music store one day and saw a goldtop, full scale semi-hollow Les Paul bass. I loved the bass but found the pickup to be deficient…I did a little investigating and found out that only about 400 of the instruments were made in 1972 and because it was kind of an odd duck, it didn’t catch on.”
“I approached Gibson and asked if they would be interested in reproducing the bass with my input. Epiphone’s Jim Rosenberg was very interested, and allowed me to kind of re-make the instrument. I told Jim that I’d like to develop a Jack Casady pickup for it and he hooked me up with the R&D Department at Gibson.”
“I went to work on the pickup and it took almost two years to develop. I think they were getting pretty antsy by this time but I wanted it right. I did a lot of homework and bench testing and finally when it clicked in right, it was great. They blow the old Gibsons to smithereens, even in the construction. As you know, the early 70s weren’t good for cars or guitars (laughs) and the workmanship that’s coming in on these instruments is just super.”
Excerpted from “Jack Casady: The interview” by Don Mitchel (Epiphone 29 March 2006).
Today is Casady’s 70th birthday! Below, soloing on his signature bass with Hot Tuna in 2011; another Casady solo starts around 7:00.