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Old School: 1973 Acoustic Control Corporation Black Widow Bass

1973 Acoustic Control Corporation Black Widow Bass - in caseOur Facebook friend Cuzin’ Locust Johnson (AKA Mark) shares some old school goodness with us – his 1973 Acoustic Control Black Widow Bass.

Acoustic Control Corporation’s Black Widow bass began in 1972, along with a guitar model of the same name. This was the company’s first and only guitar and bass model, according to the All The Transients guide to the instrument.

The Black Widow’s design was by Paul Barth, who worked with Rickenbacker and designed some of their early electric instruments. Barth’s company Bartell made the first instruments in the line.

Acoustic’s Harvey Gerst took Barth’s original design and revamped it, with deeper cutaways and an increased fret count. Barth eventually couldn’t keep up with demand, which led to Acoustic taking production to Matsumoto Moko in Japan. Acoustic later brought production back to the U.S.

According to All The Transients, it is “‘wildly guessed’ that no more than 1,000 of these guitars were made for Acoustic”.

Mark tells the story behind his old school bass…


Acoustic Control Corporation/Black Widow Bass Guitar/1973

How long have you owned it?

One year.

How did you come across it?

Craigslist nationwide search. I bought it from a guy in Mississippi.

Stock or customized?

Everything is stock. Mine is the Japanese version.

Specs (source: All The Transients):

  • Finish: Black on a “German carved” top (flat back) body
  • Nut: cast block with holes
  • Binding: triple w/b/w on body and headstock
  • Neck Joint: 2 bolt pivot with 3rd bolt angle adjust
  • Pickups: G – 2 wide singles or 2 buckers, B – 1 single
  • Bridge: G – large block tail piece, round saddle bridge; B – one piece bent tail/barrel bridge or large block tail piece, round saddle bridge

1973 Acoustic Control Corporation Black Widow Bass Photo Gallery

Any special characteristics?

Less than 1,000 Black Widow basses and guitars were ever made.

What’s your favorite story about the gear?

The guy I bought it from was 21 years old when he purchased it new. He had the presence of mind to keep the original shipping box it came in.

Any notable musicians play the same instrument?

Jimi Hendrix actually played the guitar version. Check out the Black Widow fan page.

Do you use it on gigs?

Yes. It’s very similar in sound to a Fender Precision Bass.

Do you own any other vintage gear?

  • 1975 Fender Precision Bass
  • Old Acoustic Control Corporation amplifiers and cabinets.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m 43. I’ve been playing bass since 17 (took a long hiatus to concentrate on my family). I recently picked bass playing back up and currently play in a cover band (just a bunch of guys from high school). It’s the perfect release from my day job.