Commodore 64 Electric Bass Guitar Unveiled at Maker Faire

The C64 electric bass guitar pictured on top of an Ampeg combo amp.Nerds from the 1980’s can now rejoice – as there is now a true “Franken-bass” that takes the idea of bass modification to a whole new level.

A self taught computer chip designer by the name of Jeri Ellsworth carved up a “junk” bass guitar and a non-functional Commodore 64 computer – cost: $50. Then she let out her inner mad scientist and proceeded to create a bass that surely wasn’t intended for this world; a true commodore 64 electric bass guitar.

This is a working bass guitar, not just a piece of art. Jeri made a video that walks through how she built this monstrosity and it was no small feat. Not only did she carve up the bass and computer herself, but she also made custom piezo pickups as well. the bass is powered by 18 AA batteries for approximately 8 hours of playing time.

She gets extra brownie points for the fact that the sound is actually processed through the original Commodore 64 sound chip! Not only are the strings playable, but you can also produce sounds by pressing any of the keys on the keyboard – rendering this into a bass ‘keytar’.┬áThe bass was unveiled at Maker Faire in 2012.

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While the bass does function, it’s unlikely to inspire bass players with the tone or sounds it produces; while demoing the bass Jeri admits that “…the strings don’t track so great.”. She then proceeds to play the riff from Cream’s Sunshine of Your Love. I suspect there may be some balance issues and I have no idea what the bass weighs in at.

This bass is obviously more of a novelty than a true instrument, but it shows you what a little ingenuity and modification skills can create.

What do you think of this bass? Is it the Greatest Bass Guitar Ever Made or the Thing That Should Not Be? Beauty or beast? Trash or treasure?

(It’s also worth noting that the headstock on the bass is covered so we can’t tell exactly if this was once a brand name bass guitar or some cheap clone.)