Bass of the Week: Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass

Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass

If you’ve met Jack Casady, you’d know that the Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna bassist is particular about his gear. He’s always tweaked his basses, pickups, and amps to get just what he wanted, so it’s no surprise that he had a large role in designing his own signature bass with Epiphone.

“It’s based off of the Les Paul bass that was put out in the early ‘70s,” he told us. “I found [one] in Chelsea Music in New York City and I really loved it, but I found that the pickups were a bit shy. They were ok by themselves, but with a band – especially with a keyboard or something like that – you tended to lose the low end and clarity.”

He approached Gibson with the idea of reviving the bass and even designed the pickup himself, spending nearly two years to develop it. The JCB-1 Low-Impedance humbucker is then matched with a 3-position VariGain switch that has 50, 250, and 500 ohms settings for different tones.

The bass’s body and top are maple, while the neck is mahogany and the fingerboard is rosewood. It comes in two standard finishes of Metallic Gold and Ebony, though a limited edition Silverburst finish was introduced this year. Hardware includes a 3-point adjustable bridge and die cast Clover tuners.

For more, make sure you check out Casady’s website, where he details his bass’s setup from string height to bridge settings. Also worth checking out is our two part interview with the bass legend (part 1 and part 2), where he talked about gear and a whole lot more.

Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass Photo Gallery:

Epiphone Jack Casady Signature Bass Specs:

  • Neck Material: Mahogany
  • Neck Joint: Glued-In; Set-Neck
  • Body Material: Laminated Maple Top, Back and Sides
  • Neck Shape: 1960’s Rounded Bass Profile
  • Truss Rod: Adjustable
  • Truss Rod Cover: 2-ply
  • Scale Length: 34?
  • Fingerboard Material: Rosewood with pearloid “Trapezoid” inlays
  • Pickup: Low-Impedance JCB-1 Humbucker
  • Controls: Master Volume, Master Tone
  • 3-Position VariGain Switch: 50, 250, 500 ohms
  • Pickguard: 1-Ply
  • Fingerboard Radius: 12?
  • Frets: 20; medium-jumbo
  • Bridge: Original 3-point adjustable
  • Nut Width: 1-1/2?
  • Nut Material: Imitation Bone; White
  • Hardware: Nickel
  • Machine Heads: Die-Cast “Clover” Bass Tuners
  • Colors: Metallic Gold, Ebony, Silverburst

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Share your thoughts

  1. not to many bass makers think about us lefties…

    • Gibson/Epiphone isn’t too kind to lefties and especially bass players. Fender does accommodate, but Carvin definitely takes the cake with this issue. Also Warmoth is good for any upgrades or changes to Fender designs.

  2. I am a leftie…I called a local guitar-worker (Classic Axe in Nashville) who had helped me before, ordered the right-handed Ebony version, and “got-er-done” over to lefty-hood in 3 days.GREAT Bass, and I haven’t touched my lefty Fender PB fretless in a month,(tho I will again soon, I swear, Baby…er, um).Love this bass!

  3. MIne is Black and I had the Guys over at David Gage String Instruments In NYC Make it Fretless.. I LOVE this Bass Guitar! ( been a JC fan since Somebody to Love).

  4. I’ve been playing a metallic gold JCB since December and really like it a lot (I also have a Fender American Standard Jazz). The JCB has an amazing tonal range between to volume knob, the tone knob, and the Vari-switch (which I usually just keep at 50). Playing the JCB has really helped me fool around with different tones, and it’s also helped me appreciate my Fender more, too, as I now appreciate better how different basses can make very different sounds. And with a street price of about $700, the JCB is a tremendous value–plus it looks cool as hell. Here are two (minor) complaints. One, the bass is neck heavy. If you don’t hold the neck, it will plunge, which is both annoying and possibly damaging should it hit something on the way down. I’ve learned to live with this, by either keeping left arm under the neck when I’m not playing, or just remembering to press down on the body when I’m not playing to keep the thing in balance. My second observation–having now gone from winter to spring–is that the neck may be sensitive to seasonal changes. I just had to adjust the truss rod because the bass suddenly developed a fair amount of fret-clank, especially on the G string. A quarter turn of the truss rod solved the problem, but I think this is something I’m going to need to keep an eye on. Overall, however, I love this bass and would recommend it to anyone. I have a set of Tomastik-Infeld flats on it and play classic rock in a local bar band.

  5. I have had a pre Chinese JCB for several years now. My P bass has not been out of the case except to occasionally check & adjust the neck. The humidity changes more often than I change socks. This thing has great tonal range, a little neck heavy though. It would have still been worth twice the price. The only other bass I play once in a while is my fretless J (kills my back!). I love this Epi!!