Bass of the Week: Hot Wire Bass Funderbird III

Hot Wire Bass Funderbird III

The first electric bass set the standard with four strings. That began expanding in the ’70s with five- and six-string instruments, leading to a whole world of extended range instruments. Today, we’re looking at an abridged range instrument.

The Hot Wire Funderbird III is a three-string bass first commissioned by Magnum Coltrane Price from the company in 2003. Although it omits the fourth string, the bass retains all the dimensions of a standard bass.

“We went through his wish list with the customer and determined all design points,” Hot Wire writes. “Basically, it makes sense that the three-neck width has four-string dimensions so that the neck doesn’t feel like a broomstick and the tone comes across as fat enough. The string spacing is ‘neat’ and easy to reach.”

The Funderbird III we’re checking out is a recent build decked out in red. It has a Khaya mahogany body, maple neck, and ebony fingerboard. Other features include individual bridge units and the company’s FunderBucker pickups.

It’s tuned B-E-A, so check out its big fat sound:

Hot Wire Bass Funderbird III Specs:

Strings:3
Body:Mahogany
Neck:Maple
Fingerboard:Ebony
Frets:21
Pickups:FunderBucker
Finish:High Gloss Lacquer

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Share your thoughts

  1. Greywoulf

    So with an interesting experimental chance to make a 3-string bass with a neck that’s smaller, lighter and faster, the designers of the Funderbird III decided to waste a bunch of space on top of it’s headstock, why?? -Just to make it heavier and more prone to dive?

  2. Ben

    Why, precisely?

  3. Ben

    Also — perhaps the worst guitar strap in the history of music, which is really saying something.

  4. Mark l Sellers

    Why not two strings? Why not one? Why not zero? Damn dumbest thing I’ve ever seen..

    • Greywoulf

      Hey, don’t knock one strings! -One stringers are already proven performers! One broomstick, one white cord strung on it, one big washtub connected on the bottom, and baby ya good to go! (And ya don’t hafta pay a fortune got it either! ;>)}

  5. About a year and a half ago I had my first Thunderbird III built by Bert Gerecht in black. This is my second 3-string in fire red. The instrument itself is very easy to play, with the tuning B-E-A you can go very low. And that’s all you really need. Depth and pressure. I don’t really care what others think of it, for me it’s the most brilliant bass I’ve ever played. Maybe a third one will come too? Should you ever have the opportunity to test such a bass, do so, you will be surprised.