Eirik “the Norwegian” Wangberg and his rare self-built electric bass guitar. (Photo: Arne Nordtømme/Rockheim)
Recently, a very special object in Norwegian rock history was presented to the public when record producer Eirik Wangberg brought his 1959 self-built electric bass to Rockheim, Norway’s national museum of pop and rock music. It is the first Norwegian-built electric bass guitar.
Wangberg, known as a sound engineer and record producer for Paul McCartney, The Beach Boys, Michael Jackson and other legendary musicians, is the man behind the rare bass guitar.
During the 60s and 70s, Eirik “the Norwegian” Wangberg worked as music producer for international pop and rock artists. Diana Ross, Paul McCartney, The Beach Boys, Michael Jackson are some of those he has worked with, and he was a part of the Grease movie soundtrack production.
Wangberg was also the man mixing Scott McKenzie’s classic “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”, which became almost an anthem for hippies.
The legendary electric bass was created when Wangberg started playing in Norwegian band The Cool Cats. Due to the lack of money, he constructed his own guitar, and it was considered a rather rare instrument in Norway in 1959.
During a trip to Sweden, he studied a bass guitar in a music store and brought home vital information. Both neck, body and fingerboard was made from scratch, while tuning machines and other electronics came from a regular guitar.
Wangberg received help from bandmate Morten Kolstad and the construction occurred inside the garage of the late Norwegian actor Henki Kolstad.
The guitar is quite a sight, with radio knobs and wine bottle corks. The Spartan equipment did not keep Jet Harris from The Shadows from testing the bass when The Cool Cats were touring in England. However, it is said that Harris played very carefully to avoid splinters in his fingers.
Today, the exclusive electric bass guitar is still in Wangberg’s ownership.
Text by: Anette Broteng Christiansen, ThorNews