Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 92

RARE
PAIR
THE AUDIOVOX 736
ELECTRIC BASS
AND 936 AMP

BY PETER BLECHA
PHOTOS BY JOHN VICORY

E

ight decades ago, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer
revealed the story of Paul
H. Tutmarc debuting his latest
invention - a solidbody electric
bass. ■ The 1935 article includes
a photograph showing the suave
gentleman demonstrating the
instrument (to a young woman),
roughly the size of a cello, and
includes Tutmarc's story of carving it from white pine.
Tutmarc had already founded Audiovox
Manufacturing Company and was producing
at least one of what would ultimately be three
models of electric lap-steel guitars (all with an
electromagnetic pickup designed by him and Art
Stimpson), along with at least one of an eventual
array of small amplifiers. But the photograph
also illustrates technological progress in the
form of a large bass amplifier complete with a
lightning-bolt graphic on its grille.
While it's unfortunate the set has not survived
for posterity (and forensic examination), Tutmarc's son, Paul, Jr., recalls that the last time
he saw either - probably in the '40s - the neck
of the bass was hanging on his father's studio
wall, and the pickup ("...wrapped up in
a ball of friction tape about the size of
grapefruit...") was resting ignominiously in a junk drawer.
The set was impressive for its time,
and the feature deemed the elder Tutmarc successful in his efforts to create
an instrument that was smaller, lighter,
and louder than a standard upright
acoustic bass.
"People have always pitied the poor
bass-fiddler... who has to lug his big
bull-fiddle home through the dark
streets after the theatre closes," it
said. "But he doesn't have to do it
any more. Because Paul Tutmarc,
Seattle music teacher and KOMO
radio artist, has invented an
electric bull-fiddle. One you
can carry under your arm. The
Rarest of the rare; the 736 bass and
936 amp designed to accompany it.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - February 2017 - Open - 1
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