The Strange Case of the Missing Bass

David Hardy

Photo credit: Bass Player Magazine

Guess who's in Bob's House? I'm Bob's youngest brother David. Bob was my early influence in my deep interest in music, which began in my first years of life. Bob has kept with me in this interest to this day. In the early 60's he introduced me to Dylan, the Byrds, the Beatles and he also gave me my first guitar lessons.

I saved up for a reel-to-reel tape recorder when I was about 7 years old, then bought the first generation of cassette recorders, then known as "compact cassette". By this time I had studied woodwinds, drums, violin, piano, and finally guitar at age 13, although I had been hoping for the electric bass in the Wards catalog for a while. I got an acoustic Fender Malibu guitar for $16 from a friend.

In my 20's I began doing live sound and recording, and kept playing guitar. I was in a band, and had been singing since I could remember. In the later `70's I bought Peter Kaukonen's Travis Bean guitar.

When I made the move to the nearby San Francisco area, I was doing live recording on analog and digital recorders (Nakamichi DMP 1000) in the early 1980's, and my first digital soundboard recording was Hot Tuna in Berkeley.

In 1983 I was living in San Francisco, near Golden Gate Park, right off Geary, and life was good.

As fate would have it, I had walked into a little instrument shop with something hanging on the wall that I simply could not believe was there, the Alembic Bass (# 72 001 or you may know it as # 72 01) made for Jack Casady, when he was with the Jefferson Airplane. I knew its appearance from the record sleeve from the album "30 Seconds Over Winterland" that featured photos of the band. Jack's bass playing was a huge influence on my music. I asked if it was for sale, and it was. I asked if I could make payments, and I could. I asked if I could pay $20 to start and I was told that was fine, but I couldn't take it until it was paid in full. It took me many months, but I had purchased the most amazing instrument I have ever played, let alone owned.

I should say, that I since have played Carlos Santana's guitars (I was his personal and tour assistant in the `90's until I resigned), as well as Jerry Garcia's acoustic, Trey Annistacio's custom (I was backstage coordinator for Phish), and many other great instruments. This Alembic bass, made by Rick Turner and Alembic is pure magic hewn from wood.

Purpleheart, red LED markers, pick-ups that move freely from neck to bridge on brass rods _ clear resin revealed the foil wrapped around the magnets, and the body even has a "stash box" built-in.

The bass was stolen from me by a Mill Valley music store, just north of San Francisco, in Marin County.

I have looked for my stolen "Jack Casady" Alembic bass for years, and wondered who bought the first Alembic bass that I liked so much.

Since the history books regarding the proper ownership of the Casady Alembic have missed these facts, here they are, for all to see.

Light, Love, and music,


[the House of Bob] Back to the House of Bob