Roden bass, made in Moscow, U.S.S.R.

Made in Moscow in the mid - seventies. The shape of this instrument is so cheesy - I wonder why there are no other instruments inspired by its design! We've got many pictures but no specifications. If anybody had a chance to play this beauty, please inform us!

The price tag says 130 roubles, which is not too much (for such a cool-looking bass). The bass was made at Moscow Experimental Factory of Musical Instruments - the same factory where some cool Soviet stompboxes were made - check out this fuzzwah. The neckplates feature the factory's street address, so you can try to send them a letter. Another nice detail you should pay attention to is how the bass with the red pickguard is strung (enlarge the headstock picture). This is the only right way to put strings on cheesy guitars!

A couple of words about how it plays (sent to us by Maxim Zolotarev):
Well, a neck of this guitar little bit narrow, therefore to play with fingers It is very convenient. If you put good strings guitar will sound rather decently. Though general loudness is not great - because the pickups on this guitar are Russian ;)
A general impression from playing on Roden bass is the cardinal image differs from basses - guitars under the name Ural. Rodens pretty close to sound like guitars of the Western and American sample. Despite of this, everyone who has Roden (in Russia ;) wants to get rid of this guitar and to get, may be not American, but, at least the Chinese guitar ;)

And here's another letter about Roden:
The Roden is a very unique bass. The neck feel like it was made out of a baseball bat. It is, however, surprisingly easy to play (in spite of its squared neck) and sounds pretty good. I have had a lot of friends play it and love it. Everyone who has played it has at first balked at its square neck, but later comment on how amazingly easy your hand slides over the neck. There are the normal knobs, but the buttons are from another planet! Below the bridge there are 2 black selector buttons, and the only way I can describe them is to have you imagine an old-fashioned blender: the buttons sit on an axis, you can push it down on the top, leave it in the center (off-position), or down on the bottom. These buttons select between the pickups, but also the sound each one produces. When the switch is pushed in on top; the pick-up comes in full and a little clean. When the switch is pushed in on bottom; three pick-up has a low fuzzy tone.
- Valerie Carrell

Neckplate of Roden #1 - 1975 (without serial number).

Another neckplate from '1975 Roden (with serial number).

Neckplate translation:
MMP RSFSR (Ministry of Musical industry, Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic)
Moscow Experimental factory of Musical instruments
Electric Bass Guitar
art 423 r price 130 roubles
rst RSFSR 508-75
119121 Moscow, 1st Rujeinikov p., 16
made in USSR

Roden #1 Roden #2

Studio 1525 - via ebay
Maxim Zolotarev - Russia
Lordbizzare - Belgium
Valerie Carrell - USA

I completely took mine apart and found out next :
The bass has a solid wooden body with on top and bottom extra triplex. As you can see on the pictures the body is routed for extra use, probably for a vibrato unit for electric 6 strings. This I'm sure 'cause there's also 4 and 6 slots on the stoptail. The bass weight is 3550gram!
The pot's indicate 1977 and the electrical circuit is very simple: vol.pot(330kOhm) for each pu and a common tone pot(100kOhm in series with a 47nF condenser). Each pu can be cut off by a switch (a double switch as can be found in a dashboard of a truck or so ...!...)
Very solid pu's, at least 1,2 mm of chromed sheet and a handwound self. The pu's can be adjusted, but there's no spring; so they're fixed pu's.
The pickguard is like in the 60's : made of glitter-red plastic.
The output plug is a DIN-plug, with output on pin 2 and shield on 3.
No indications on the tuners, the're the same as on a Borisov bass (same as the Solo II) and very bad: you can turn more than a half turn before the tuner react on the strings !
I think (but I'm not realy a pro.bass player) that the output, due to the very strong magnets in the pu's, is reasonably high and up to for common bass amps.
The neck is made out of 9 glued wooden strips, with trussrod. No noble wood for the fingerboard, but nevertheless a zero fret. The dots are made out of white plastic, and the frets are made of bare bronze.

Roden's insides investigated by
Ivan alias Lordbizarre
"lordbizarre's electric guitar and amp museum"
Rock! electric guitar and amplifier repair
Leuven, Belgium, Europe.

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