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Bass of the Week: Citron AE4 and AE5 Swallow Acoustic/Electric Bass

Citron AE4 Swallow Bass

This week we take a look at the Citron AE4 and AE5 Swallow Basses built by luthier Harvey Citron in collaboration with jazz legend Steve Swallow. Citron first presented Swallow with one of his acoustic/electric basses, and their work went from there. It was Steve’s perfectionism that pushed the bass builder to invent a new bridge.

“Working with Steve has been a real pleasure,” Citron said. “I had given up on my wish to create an intonation-adjustable wooden bridge with piezo, because it seemed impossible to achieve. Steve loved the tone of the AE5 and would have settled for the custom-intonated wide-saddle wooden bridge I was making, but really needed an adjustable bridge, because accurate intonation is so critical to him. Suddenly, in Steve’s presence, and out of his need, the solution came to me — the first wooden piezo bridge adjustable for intonation was born.”

Both the 4- and 5-string models are fitted with 6 EMG under saddle piezos and an EMG 18-volt active EQ. You may notice that the only control showing is Volume, as the treble/bass and 3 gain controls are neatly stored inside the bass’s control compartment.

The basses feature long scales, with the 4-string measuring at 35˝ and the 5-string at 36˝. The bodies are made of 3-inch thick Honduras Mahogany with X-braced Spruce tops and the necks are one-piece Honduras Mahogany. The fingerboard is either East Indian Rosewood or Ebony. The basses are available in a host of finishes, ranging from natural to burst to transparent options.

Citron AE4 and AE5 Swallow Bass Photo Gallery:

Citron AE4 and AE5 Swallow Bass Specs:

  • Body: 3˝ thick Honduras Mahogany (hollow) with X-braced Spruce top
  • Neck: one-piece Honduras Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: East Indian Rosewood, optional Ebony
  • Scale Length: 35˝ on 4-string; 36″ on 5-string
  • Number of Frets: 24
  • Bridge: Rosewood w/ intonation adjustable bone saddles
  • Pickups: six EMG under saddle piezos
  • Controls: 18-volt active EQ by EMG, volume, eq (treble/bass and 3 gain controls on board in control compartment)
  • Finishes: natural, antique, amber burst, red to pale yellow burst, opaque and transparent colors