Posted by Cliff Ryan on
thanks for the great site!
Posted by Steve on
Watching my sons follow in their Great Uncle Teds footsteps as musicians has been really gratifying. Ted was a great guy with a great wife who and raised some great kids. I would love to find a decent Bartell base and elec guitar for them if you know of any available.
Posted by justin on
Glad to see a great site developing here. Also a privilege to contribute pictures of my CA-15 # 1545.
Posted by Ron LeSaar on
Great site! Thanks for preserving the Bartell history. I picked up this Hohner sunburst fretless bass about 3 years ago.
She's got a great growling, yet smooth tone. One of the fastest necks I've ever played. I always enjoy playing this rare bass with my band, Pentwater.
Posted by mike wilcoxm on
hi anybody out there have a contessa mini bass amp? is yours REALLY wimpy too,or is mine need more tlc? (its been all gone thru.. hmm thanks mike @(503)891-4070
Posted by Chris Ellington on
I worked for ted at Bartell of California in the sixties. I also worked with Paul Barth, Ray Masey and Tom Mitchell (He painted the guitars and went on to make Mitchell amps. He also had a music store that I ran in 1975?) Ray had a son with a different last name that worked on the amps. It was a great place to work. Ted had a truck that was a Packard with the back cut out and made into a truck that was fun to drive. Ted always made me feel important and valued my opinion even though I was just a kid. I remember The fretless guitar that Hendricks had and I think we made a bass for John Bonham of Led Zepplin.

Chris Ellington
Posted by Martin Elliott on
Hi, thanks for making this site. I have an old Hohner fretless bass from the 70s sitting up in my loft. It started me off on the road to being a pro player, which I still am. I last used it on a recording session in Italy almost 20 years ago. It sounded great.
Best wishes,
Martin Elliott (Whitstable, England)
Posted by Steve S on
Here is something interesting. John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers owns a St.George 12 string.
Posted by Mark Ramer on
I appreciate this informative site. I own a Contessa CA-15 Mini Bass amp, and I spent a LOT of time searching the net trying to research it. It isn't great with my bass (to my ear) but it sounds very good with my guitars and thats how I use it. Kinda Fenderish, good headroom and nice grit when turned up, and can get good-n-nasty when fed with a moderately boosted signal. It does kick out occasionally while playing hard and I need have a tech check the amp out. Because these don't appear to be very common I will post what I find out. I would love to see info regarding any mods done to these amps, and what brand tubes and speaker were original to it etc. Nice site!
Mark Ramer (Golden, Colorado)
Posted by Dean Edwards on

kinda funny I guess,I own a Lancer Bass-with the serial No-1337-one before yours-but mine is pretty well beat.

Posted by David Sandell on
Nice site!! I also worked with Paul, Tommy Mitchell, I remember getting a tutorial by Paul regarding his pickup winding contraption which consisted of a floor drill press with alot of special jigs on it to make it work right. For some reason John Kinder once said he had some of the original pickups and possibly a Black Widow guitar. I recently bought one of the Contessa amps, a four input 45. Looks to be a clone of a Deluxe from casual overview. Alot of Acoustic fretless basses when I worked there in 1970. Ted Peckles was a trip!! David Sandell, House Sound Engineer, Temecula Stampede
Posted by Joe on
Hi, I am very happy to have found your site. As you know, there is very little info out there on these Bartell guitars. I am the owner of two Hohner/Bartell fretless bass guitars. One is the natural blond maple (#1168) and the second is a sunburst (#1376). Both are all original and in very nice condition without any issues.. Are these considered the “Black Widow” basses, even though they are not the typical black?

I understand that these guitars were made in the mid to late 60’s. I would like to know how to date these I have more accurately. Also, I might suggest that you add a section titled: Sell – Trade – Buy & parts? Maybe even a registry.

I have more detailed pictures of both of these basses if you would like to include these as examples on your site. I am looking forward to read more comments from folks and gaining more info. Keep up the site – I sure appreciate and enjoy your effort.

Thanks, Joe,

(joeinpocono @
Posted by Douglas on
Posted by Randy on
Thanks for putting together this great website. My first bass (purchased at House of Note in Riverside) was a natural finish, frettless Bartell. It was a beautiful instrument and I have always wished that I had held onto it. As I recall, the neck was remarkable--speedy and fit my young hands perfectly.

Thanks again for the memories.

Posted by ken on
I am about to get a ca-10 amp i found.It appears to be only 1 speaker and all else original.I could not open the front grill to look it over.A bit scratchy when played but thought it was cool.This is the oly site w/any info on this line and would like to know more about them and this amp so any help is great. Keep up the good work guys ! ..... Ken.
Posted by craig j on
still looking for my beloved red bartell spyder guitar i traded in on a fender tele years ago in san diego. bought at house of note in riverside, i took guitar lessons from gary eye there. it is very nerve racking knowing it is out there and i can't find it.....craig.
Posted by Kiona on
Thanks for sahnrig. Always good to find a real expert.
Posted by Daniel on
Can anyone tell me about a Contessa studio amp its the CA 36 R i cant find any info on this amp its a single speaker 10in or so it does not seem to be tube it has a reverberator in it though it sounds grerat but cant find any info on it at all this is the only web page that has info on this line of guitar amp?
Posted by Daniel on
Please post my photos ASAP maybe somone else knows alittle about them?
Posted by Rod reasnere on
Great site! My first bass was a black fret-less bartell. I bought it from a friend or a garage sale, (memory not too good) But I sure wish I didn't get rid of it. I lived in Riverside
Posted by Victor Garcia on
Hi Cliff my name is Victor & I m glad to find somebody that is familiar with instrument that I have . look this is an insturment that I used for many years but when I moved to mexico I left it with a frend a mine in TX I now it looks very old .since you were real closed to this instruments & Im not shure what I want to do with it if I sell it what can I get for it,or if I recodition it were can I find D cals for it or if you have an idea for me to do I ll apreciated very much. thanks for been here for all of us I wish you the best in your life & a very good luck and happines thanks again
sincerily Victor Garcia
Posted by Duke Neufell on
I own a very nice well made ES 335 type electric semi hollowbody. It has "St George" in nice script style pearl on the headstock. I am wondering if anyone knows if this Axe was made at Bartell? I went to Norte Vista in Riverside 66-69 and visited the 'guitar factory' when ever I could and watch them make the most beautiful guitars!(often they had to chase me away! LOL!) I don't remember if I saw a 335 type exactly being made but I do remember some 'thin line' type styles.
I would appreciate any info anyone has.
Thanks a bunch for the memories,
Duke Neufell
Neufell Guitar
Posted by Jenny Dean on
My father-in-law made these guitars at Deans custom Furniture in Riverside,ca My husband helped and he owns his own that he made.
Posted by David Brode on
I have been using a Contessa PA-45R since the late 80's and it has the best sound of all my amps!
These really are great sounding and simple amps. Hardly see them for sale anywhere but would grab one no problem. Just ground the chassis with a three prong plug and it is near silent.
Posted by Eddie Kay on
I used to work for Paul, I was in the paint booth. I bought my first Fender amp from Ted. Wish I still had it. It's worth a bunch. Someone stole it years ago. Don Underwood is living in Florida and doing great. He is still playing. I'm up in Redding CA and I still do some gig's. You can reach me at 530-200-1776

I miss the gang.
Posted by James on
I just bought a Bartell CA-10 Studio Guitar Amplifier which looks showroom new.
It has the 4 knows and on off with the two plugs for external speaker and footswitch.
The sounds of this amp are stunning from soft and whispering to full on blow the house up.
My question is after reading about the control panel chassis being more or less combined how do I do the changing from a 2 to 3 prong plug?
Any help will be appreciated.
Posted by Jim Kelley on
Hi I am Jim Kelley. IN the late 60's all my equipment was ripped off while in a studio. I had been a former stand up player and decided I would investigate the possibility of a fretless electric bass. Fender wasn't building them yet and the only two that I knew of were The Hohner and an Ampeg that played like a 2x4. I actually ordered two of the Hohner fretless Basses. One blonde and one black. The first one to be delivered was the black one. During the years I sold off a lot of my stuff (been a professional bassist now for 47 years now). But I kept the black one because it had been with me the longest (slightly). I still have "Blackie". It plays fast and even back in the day it was really strong and delicate sounding at the same time. Great lows and my oldest friend. About 6 years ago the E tuning peg lost "traction" and I replaced the tuners with all black ones. I also use black strings on it. Use a mild round wound because needless to say that down through the years the neck face started to show a lot of wear. Probably nobody will read this but just wanted to tell the tale of my old friend Blackie.. jim k miami
Posted by John on
I bought a Contessa 55R tube pa head a year or so back. It's similar to the one on this website, but used a Solid-State Rectifier. It also have vastly different knobs (plastic not metal). I have since restored it and converted it to proper grounding. It will break up a bit if pushed but is surprisingly clean. This would be an ideal Jazz/Accoustic/Organ amp. Plenty of bass that many valve jobs of the 60's and 70's lack.

I'm going to shop it around if anyone is interested. It has a full recap with Sprauge or better caps all round and uses a modern trapezoidal power cable mounted in an unused tube socket to retain originality. Puts out a ton of power when run through my 2x15 cab.

4 12ax7's and 2 6v6's. All tubes are RCA, the 12ax7's are RCA short Blackplates (look like mullard type).

Feel free to contact me if you need pics, values, or want to buy the amp.
I am located in Colorado.

If no I don't get any interest on the stock amp, I will be converting the extra inputs to gain stages and adding a tone stack for a rockin guitar amp. I saw a badly converted combo sell on the east coast for 800 a few months ago.

Posted by Daniel on
I'm glad I found this site. I bought my blonde (maple?) Hohner Black Widow 6 string from a coworker back in the 70s.

I had no clue for years what I had, until I started researching it on the internet a few years ago. This site helped my understanding tremendously.

Mine looks pretty much like the black one on this site, except that it is blonde, and has the original bridge on it (I believe).

Mine is without pickups right now. When I bought it, it had a Gibson humbucker at the bridge position, and the neck pickup, though original, was very weak.

I am hoping to bring mine back to stock, so if anyone knows where I can find some original Bartell or similar pickups, I'd love to hear from you.
Posted by Monte Allen on
I lived in Sunnymead in the 1960s and always shopped with Ted at House of Note in Riverside. I bought a Bartell 12 string from Ted and then later a Bartell (Hohner branded) bass in chocolate brown. My dad surprised me with a new 1968 Bassman from House of Note where Ted sold me the Hohner bass. Great memories!
Posted by Dave Guyton on
I miss Ted Peckles and our trips to Sires ! I played in a band with Mark , Teds son and use to spend days at Coopers Music with Them and even used the back warehouse as a practice room, last time in there as Mikes Music our list was still glued to a post in the room we practiced in......great times
Posted by Dan W on
Love this site!
I grew up in Riverside in the 70's and learned to play guitar @ Cooper music.
My first guitar was a left handed Bartell ("Acoustic") Black Widow that had no logo at all on the headstock. I think it was a right-handed body that was just ginned up with left handed knobs since the basic design was asymmetrical.

I sold that guitar sadly on eBay some years ago after talking with Harvey Gerst about the history of the Bartell/Acoustic black widows. But it was a great player's guitar with smooth action and I'll always miss it.
Posted by David F. on
I bought the unknown Natural Music Guild amp about a year ago for $150. It has been my living room amp ever since. The tremolo is the best I've ever heard and I think it is all original. A little noisy but not too bad. I should probably recap it and stop using it so much, but it sounds so good I can't help myself!