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The Futurama is past, and tomorrow does come! (SOLD)

Hagström (UK Futurama Coronado VI) SIX string Bass (Coronado VI) - still with me?


 


Well this beautiful bruiser hails from the sixties 1963-4, serial number 550-122, one of the first batch of 149 listed in the "Blue Book" as a Coronado Bass. In reality it was destined for the UK, and the Selmer Company. Branded Futurama in the UK, it was sold to and owned by Dick Thomas aka Wes Hunter from the legendary band "Sounds Incorporated" and only came to light again a short time ago. 

Not being a Bass man myself I was a bit unsure, but given the six strings and standard tuning (down one octave) I thought I'd take a look...

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Played through a Vox bass amp I pressed all the combinations of the four buttons. A delightful combination of sounds ensued. A few minor dings, but nothing to worry about, and a feel so different, yet friendly. Flat wound strings even - plus a spare set inside the case!

Rounded off by a mint condition croc' skin style case - now then, how could I walk away? ... I didn't
Read about those Hagstrom revolutionary BiSonic Pickups

       The Futurama Basses  

                fu16.jpg (149906 bytes) More Futurama info?   Spare Strings?
                or the Hagstrom UK  Corvette?

-  Check the web search engines for info on Sounds Incorporated. Dick Thomas later sold strings internationally to the industry, and visited the Hagstrom factory, where he purchased a fabulous Hagstrom Fretless Bass... I had the opportunity to buy both instruments, but unfortunately at the time I couldn't afford to buy both. This too found a good owner back in Sweden... pictures on the visitors Bass page.

Sounds Incorporated made great sounds from 1961-1971 - played alongside The Beatles from 1964, a while after this bass guitar above was purchased - so who knows? Did Paul think "hey that looks more interesting than my Hofner, pity there isn't a lefty?...." It isn't out of the question, after all George used the Futurama brand at times... (oh well just a bit of fun on my part trying to picture the scenes at a Beatles gig in '65 anyway!!!) See below for a broad resume on the band...

Starting off as an instrumental, rock & roll six-man combo, Sounds Incorporated (one of the first British rock groups not to simply imitate Cliff Richard's backing band The Shadows), supported numerous legendary names and landed a few British hits themselves. 1961 saw the band formed, based in north-west Kent, UK, the band included saxophonists/woodwind players Alan (Boots) Holmes and (Major) Griff West (born David Glyde), organist/pianist/baritone saxophonist Barrie Cameron (born Baz Elmes), guitarist John St. John (born John Gillard), bassist Wes Hunter (born Dick Thomas), and drummer Tony Newman (born Richard Anthony Newman).

They gigged extensively locally and in London. As one of the few British rock & roll bands led by a horn section they quickly achieved a good reputation. Early on, backing visiting American rockers like Gene Vincent, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Sam Cooke (among many others), they learned the repertoires before artists arrived in the U.K. They soon got an opportunity to record with the producer Joe Meek, then in 1963 released a number of singles on Decca Records.

They travelled to Hamburg to entertain American servicemen and played the famous Star Club, met and befriended the Beatles. Late in 1963, Beatles manager Brian Epstein signed Sounds Incorporated to his company. In 1964, the group not only became singer Cilla Black's backing band, but toured the world as the Beatles' opening act, released their self-titled debut album (plus several more singles, including an Australian chart topper - an arrangement of "William Tell") on Columbia records. In the mid sixties they capitalised on their recordings with a UK tour, doing the ballroom circuit and taking on plenty of session work. They achieved a sizeable hit with an arrangement of "Hall of the Mountain King." The second album, also titled Sounds Incorporated (again?!) was released on the Studio Two label in 1966.

In 1967, the Beatles invited Cameron, Holmes, and West to be the saxophone section on their Sgt. Pepper track "Good Morning, Good Morning." Soon after Newman left to pursue a full-time session career being replaced by Terry Fogg. Cameron also left to become a manager and arranger, so in came Trevor White, who gave the group its first vocalist.

As the circuit for traditional-style rock & roll shifted from ballrooms to more upscale cabarets, Sounds Incorporated landed better-paid gigs this gave them the chance to travel to Australia in 1969 playing extensively around the Sydney area. In 1971, they finally called it a a day. Some members remained in Sydney, while others such as Wes Hunter (Dick Thomas) returned to England to pursue less visible, music-related jobs. Dick as I say, travelled the world selling guitar strings to companies - such as Hagstrom!

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The Bi-Sonic Pickups - now being remade by (and documented on) the Hammon Engineering Website

Quote: "Jack Casady & Phil Lesh did not play Starfires because there was a lot of room for Alembic electronics; they played them because of the combination of the original Hagstrom made single coil pickups (not the ones in the reissue Starfires) and the flexibility and sound of the flatwound Pyramid Gold strings which made the short scale Starfires sound huge.

Ron Wickersham devised a method for testing frequency response of magnetic pickup coils in around 1969, and found that the Hagstrom/Starfire pickups had the widest frequency response of anything he had tested. So Ron was documenting what Jack & Phil's ears had already told them.

Owsley "Bear" Stanley had already discovered that the pickups could be hot rodded by adding a second magnet, and so the sound was born. Ron further improved things by building transistorized emitter followers onto the pickups, thus creating what were probably the first active pickups (yes, 1969)".

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The Four string version of the Futurama Coronado
- again with Hagström Bi-sonic magneto dynamic pickups option also used on Guild Starfire and Guild m-85 basses
Due here February 2007 ("Yippee"!):

Coronado IV (Branded Futurama) - Click picture to see more

See the Corvette Guitar here

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There's nothing like a REAL original Swedish made Hagstrom (and there are loads around), but if it 'floats your boat', or you can't find an original then who are we to say?

Plenty has been said already and
will be said forever forward probably.
Only you know what's right for you!