Randy’s Basses (1968 – 2006)

Randy used Fender P-Basses for the first two albums (‘Eagles’ and ‘Desperado’), then moved to the Hagstrom for the third and fourth albums (‘On the Border’ and ‘One of These Nights’), and the Rickenbacker 4001 for the fifth album (‘Hotel California’).
From Basschat.co.uk

1959 Fender Precision
Photo: The Poor 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
Photo: Westlake School for Girls in Westlake, CA
1972 Yearbook

1959 Fender Precision
Photo: Rick Nelson and The Stone Canyon Band
on ‘The Mike Douglas Show’, San Diego, Jan. 7, 1970
(The ‘War is not healthy for children and other living things’ sticker
has been added to Randy’s bass.)

Hagstrom, Red
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.
Source: Swedish Hagstrom Guitars ~ By Michael Wright

VintageGuitarMagazine.com, UK Hagstrom

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

Fender Jazz (3-Color)
Photo: Louisiana State University Assembly Center, Nov. 5, 1976
Louisiana State University Year

Music Man Stingray
Photo: Circa 1976

Fender, White
Photo: Circa 1976

Hagstrom, Black
Photo: William E. Allen, Circa 1977

Photo: Circa 1977

Rickenbacker 3001
Photo: Hotel California Tour ‘History of the Eagles’ 1977
(See Description below)

From: Randy Meisner Bass
Discussion in ‘Basses [BG]’ started by BearCave, Jan. 11, 2017

I’ve watched ‘The History of the Eagles’ documentary a dozen times and one thing that has been bothering me is at one point there is a shot of Randy Meisner warming up at a soundcheck during the Hotel California Tour. I know that he primarily used a Rickenbacker 4001 during that tour and that he had used a P-Bass in the early days and a Hagstrom, but the headstock on the bass in this shot from the documentary appears to be a Rickenbacker 3001 bass. What fascinates me, is that there is not one single picture on the web, nor have I ever seen one before, of Randy playing a Rickenbacker 3001 other than the quick shot from ‘The History of the Eagles’ documentary.

Commentary on the above: Randy probably had access to dozens of basses. It could have been that Randy was tuning a backup (3001) while his 4001 was being tuned by someone else. It’s also possible that Randy just played it this one time.

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

Fender, Matte Black
Photo: Roberts Meisner Band, ‘Nashville Now’ TV Show
Nov. 9, 1988

Fender Precision, Fretless, Three Tone Sunburst
Photo: Circa 1989

Epiphone Viola Bass
Photo: Flip’s on Catalina Island
Jan. 28, 2006


    • 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”.

    • 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.

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