Randy’s basses of choice for the Eagles’ albums were: the Fender P-Bass for the ‘Eagles’ and the ‘Desperado’ albums; the Hagstrom for the ‘On the Border’ and the ‘One of These Nights’ albums; and the Rickenbacker for the ‘Hotel California’ album.

1959 Fender Precision
~ The Poor ~
Photo: On the set of Ironside during filming – Nov. 7, 1968
(This is before the ‘War is not healthy for children and other living things’
sticker was added to Randy’s bass.)

Hofner 500/1 Violin Bass
~ Eagles ~
Photo: Westlake School for Girls in Westlake, CA – 1972 Yearbook

Fender Jazz Bass
~ Eagles ~
Photo: Unknown Venue – Circa 1973
(This Fender Jazz Bass is different from Randy’s other Fender Jazz Bass
as it has the maple cap fingerboard with the black block inlays.)

Helen Reddy Show War Sticker Added

1959 Fender Precision
~ Eagles ~
Photo: ‘The Helen Reddy Show’ – Aired July 12, 1973
(The ‘War is not healthy for children and other living things’ sticker
has been added to Randy’s bass in 1971.)

Hagstrom, Red
~ Eagles ~
Photo: Concertgebouw, Amsterdam – Nov. 12, 1973
By Jan Pieter Schouten

One of the differences in the Hagstrom above and the Hagstrom below is that the bass above has the thin printed plate applied over the switches and volume knob. The plates varied according to model, but were not used on all.

Hagstrom, Red
~ Eagles ~
Photo: California Jam at Ontario Motor Speedway – April 6, 1974
By Jeffrey Mayer

Fender Telecaster
~ Eagles ~
Photo: Apollo Stadium, Adelaide, South Australia – Jan. 27, 1976
By Terry O’Twang

Fender Jazz (Sunburst)
~ Eagles ~
Photo: Louisiana State University Assembly Center – Nov. 5, 1976
Louisiana State University Yearbook

Music Man Stingray
~ Eagles ~
Photo: Unknown Venue – Circa 1976

Fender, White
~ Eagles ~
Photo: Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida – July 4, 1976

Rickenbacker 3001
~ Eagles ~
Photo: Snippet from the documentary ‘History of the Eagles’ – 2013

Randy is seen tuning a Rickenbacker 3001 (note the headstock), while warming up at a soundcheck during the Hotel California Tour in 1977. Not one picture has been found of Randy playing a Rickenbacker 3001 besides this quick shot from the documentary, but there are certainly concerts which weren’t filmed, and concerts that were filmed but haven’t been released. Therefore, the Rickenbacker 3001 is included in this post as a possibility that Randy may have played one. He primarily used a Rickenbacker 4001 during the Hotel California Tour.

Rickenbacker 4001, Mapleglo
~ Eagles ~
Photo: Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada – Mar. 30, 1977
By John Rowlands

Hagstrom, Black
~ Eagles ~
Photo: BJCC Coliseum, Birmingham, Alabama – June 24, 1977
© William E. Allen

Peavey Foundation
~ The Open Secret Band/Later The Roberts-Meisner Band ~
Photo: Spring Fling ’87, Bozeman, Montana – May 30, 1987

Fender Precision, Fretless, Three Tone Sunburst
~ Poco ~
Photo: Unknown Venue – Circa 1989

Fender Jazz
~ Poco ~
Photo: Unknown Venue – Circa 1989

Fender Precision
~ Poco ~
Photo: River Roast, Chattanooga, Tennessee – Circa 1990

Fender Precision
~ Meisner, Swan & Rich ~
Photo: Wise Guys, Pasadena, California – Apr. 2, 1994

Fender Jazz
~ World Classic Rockers ~
Photo: Unknown Venue – Circa 2000

Fender Precision
~ Meisner, Swan & Rich ~
Photo: Natl. Assn. of Broadcasters, Las Vegas, Nevada – Apr. 19, 2005

Epiphone Viola Bass
~ Sitting in with The Blues Merchants ~
Photo: Flip’s on Catalina Island – Jan. 28, 2006

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    1. Thanks, Janis! This was another fun post to put together. Delving into Randy’s concert photos to find the different basses he used, and then identifying the basses was a lesson in itself.

  1. This is a very, very interesting feature covering the basses that Randy played over his career.
    It appears that he used ten different basses over the course of his tenure with The Eagles, but I didn’t know that he was using Hagstroms as early as 1973 nor did I think that he was using his 1959 Fender Precision Bass (the one with the anti-war slogan sticker) in his days with The Poor.
    I know that he switched to playing guitar after leaving The Eagles, but I don’t understand why, given that the bass was his usual instrument.
    I love Randy’s basslines on “One of These Nights”, “Outlaw Man”, “Nightingale”, “Train Leaves Here This Morning” (which frankly could’ve done with Don Henley hitting some temple blocks to make it sound even more like an authentic country & western cowboy song!!), “After the Thrill is Gone”, “Take the Devil”, “Earlybird”, his signature Eagles song “Take it to the Limit” and “Hotel California”.

    1. Thank you for your comment, David! Randy said that he switched to rhythm guitar because it’s easier to sing and play guitar than sing and play bass. It gave him more freedom. He played a Martin 12 string D-42 Drednought, and a Martin D-17M during his solo career.

      I also love the basslines in the songs that you mentioned, especially ‘One of These Nights’. One song you didn’t mention was “Keep on Tryin'”. You can see the March 9, 1973 concert in Voorburg Netherlands here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuwdsiSg4uc. Check out his bass at about the 2 minute mark.

      Better yet, scroll to the bottom of Jessica’s post https://randymeisnerretrospective.com/2021/10/28/curtis-hixon-hall-tampa-fl-june-7th-1973/ to listen to “Tryin'” from June 7, 1973. It is a blistering 6-minute version which she recommends using headphones or earbuds.

      1. Thank you, Kathie. Randy did subsequently revert to playing bass around the early 1980’s and going into Black Tie – do correct me if I’m wrong on this point.

      2. You’re welcome, David, and you are correct. Randy played bass on one song, “Save The Last Dance For Me”, on his first solo album, Randy Meisner, 1978. Then he picked up his bass again for a few small gigs in 1983. In 1985, he would continue playing bass starting with Black Tie, until his retirement in 2008 at which time he was playing with the World Classic Rockers.

    1. Touring Randy used a Fender Dual Showman amp. Regarding the recording of ‘Hotel California’, I recently read, “Meisner’s bass was gobo’d off and I’d take it direct as well as through a small Ampeg amp,” Szymczyk recalls. (Sound On Sound, The Eagles ‘Hotel California’, by Richard Buskin, Published Sept. 2010.) So, in the studio I’m sure they experimented with different amps.

  2. Met Randy in 1986. I was the Stage manager at the Reno Flamingo Hilton. We had booked the Roberts Meisner Band. Being a bass player myself (Fender Tele) and being a Randy fan, was the thrill of my life. The band featured Randy Meisner, Rick Roberts, Gene Clark Nicky Hopkins and Dewey Martin! Most talent ever crammed into a 250 seat room. I sat with Randy at the bar and chatted for a long time. Talking about shows that I had seen back in the seventies, when they opened for Linda Rhonstad. His birthday is next week. Happy Birthday Randy!!

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