"Tap-A-Bass" Bass Pedals

In 1965 O. W. designed a foot-operated electric bass. Along with his son, Jamie Appleton, he experimented with different tensions, sizes, and lengths of strings until he found the most compact size that would produce the best string bass tone. The unit's 13 strings were all the same length, but different diameters operating under the same tension.

Since O.W. couldn't find a string manufacturer to make the strings for the unit, he designed a string-winding machine, to make his own strings.

The "white keys" were made of maple and the "black keys" were made of black walnut. O.W.'s son, Jamie, made a pickup winding machine, and wound the 13 coils needed. Each string has a guitar machine head for tuning, and the machine was so well designed that, once tuned, it would stay in tune for weeks without re-tuning.

Some models were made C-to-C for people familiar with keyboards, and some F-to-F for orchestra use. In addition to the horizontal model for floor use, the "Tap-A-Bass" was also available with a vertical string case to fit against an upright piano.

Interestingly, O.W. designed and marketed his electric bass pedals ten years before the introduction of the famous Taurus Bass Pedals used by Rush, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and many other bands.

The "Tap-A-Bass" was discontinued in the early 1970s when O.W. sold his music store and moved to Arizona.

The Appleton Tap-A-Bass

The 1968 APP Guitar

In 1968 Appleton, with the help of his son Jamie, developed another new guitar model. Its unusual shape was custom made for ease of playing. Its pickup, a totally new and unique design, was mounted under the pickguard. The pickup was designed, built and patented by Jamie Appleton.

Although radical for 1968, Appleton was once again ahead of his time... as this model foretold the unconventional guitar shapes that would be introduced by other manufacturers in the 1980s.

Here is how the guitar was described in Appleton's promotional material:

– The solid body is heavy enough to provide almost perfect sustain.

– Curved lap support so you don't have to be a contortionist. Sit down straight like other musicians.

– Chest support on body to hold guitar firmly.

– Room for your right arm, with arm rest built in. No large guitar body in the way.

– Formica pick guard will take all the guff you will normally give it.

– Wide open space under strings for fingers or pick, not cluttered with pickups.

– Sloping strings for more accuracy and easier playing.

– 24 frets, all within easy reach.

– Damped nut (patented). All notes (stopped or open) have the same voicing like a good piano.

– Slanted plexiglass fingerboard to fit the human hand (patented) – smooth and super fast.

– Aluminum alloy neck will never warp, and is the same size at root as at the nut for playing ease. It also contributes to the fabulous sustain.

– String height fully adjustable to your style of playing.

– Solid block bridge.

– Block tail-piece, made for ball-end strings.

– Volume control lever swings only 135 degrees. No need to roll a knob with your little finger.

– Tone control (patented) gives wide variation in tone without unbalancing string volume as do all other tone controls.

– Transistorized pickup (patented) is not the ordinary magnetic type; and any metal strings (magnetic or not) will always be in perfect balance without adjustment.

– Protected socket for guitar cord with angle plug.

– 2 rubber feet, for leaning against wall or amplifier – won't fall over like other guitars.