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Meet Uli Salm, the World’s No. 1 Bass Collector

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Meet Uli Salm, the World’s No. 1 Bass Collector

Meet Uli Salm, the world’s No. 1 bass collector, located in Hamburg, Germany.

Meet Uli Salm, the World's No. 1 Bass Collector

Uli Salm has a collection of 850 bass guitars and holds the certified world record for the biggest bass collection.

Bass overload

He says, ‘My motivation has always been my love for bass, not for the record.’ As of late, Uli added five BITE basses to his collection, a sixth one is in the pipeline.

New kids on the block

BITE founder Wolfgang reveals, ‘Repeat offenders like Uli are generally the greatest recognition for a bass builder. Nobody would order a second custom bass if they weren’t 100% happy with their first one. We are very grateful for so many persistent customers. We’ve built up to seven basses for one customer, and we only started building basses in 2019. Uli tops it all. With 850 basses in his backroom, he’s the one guy in this world who knows what to appreciate in a bass. And he actually plays our basses in his shows!’

As a bassist, Uli Salm has published over 100 records with his own bands, Rudolf Rock & Die Schocker feat. Susi Salm and Leinemann. He played with Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley and other greats of US and German rock music.

Uli about BITE, ‘I’m always on the lookout for basses that delight my heart. BITE has caught my attention some time ago. Their brand name and bite mark on the headstock shout it loud: Our sound bites through the mix! Made me curious but sceptical. I tentatively ordered a first one on Reverb and was speechless. That sound, that power, way better than expected. And every single bass that came afterwards gave me the same experience, not a single disappointment in five basses. Those guys give me great pleasure & gained a new fan.’

Wolfgang explains, ‘We hear this a lot from our customers and we’re so grateful for every feedback. Standard passive bass pickups average ard. 300 millivolts output. Benchmark high-output pickups can generate up to 700 mV, ours up to 1000 mV, all purely passive, no active electronic sound doctoring, BITE basses have no battery compartments. Why does output matter? Our initial product development tests with the Bass Department at the University of Music & Performing Arts in Vienna confirmed that there’s one primary sound preference that bass professionals have in common: assertiveness. They want their bass to be heard through the band mix. This is not always easy since bass frequencies tend to be drowned out by higher ones but it became the ambitious goal of our own pickup development: We wanted our basses to be strong and powerful, well-defined, not muddy. And that’s the origin of our brand name, basses that bite through the mix.’

Over 100 of Uli Salm’s basses are on display in his Zwick – Home of Roll ‘n’ Roll event restaurants in Hamburg and the rest is kept in a safe and temperature-controlled location. His collection includes vintage rarities, such as a ’53 Fender Precision and ’61 Fender Jazz, and also many exclusive premium brands, 18 Jens Ritter basses alone.

The venerable forefathers, from left:

  1. ’53 Fender Precision, built by legendary Fender worker Tadeo Gomez, all original
  2. ’56 Fender Precision of Chuck Berghofer (Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, member of legendary Wrecking Crew session musicians in LA), all original except refin 1973 in Fender factory. (2-minute interview:
  3. ’59 Fender Precision, all original, maybe very old refin
  4. ’61 Fender Jazz, stack knob, all original, maybe very old refin

The who’s who of rock music, when in Hamburg, see it as their duty to visit Uli and his collection. This includes ACDC, Aerosmith, Rod Stewart, ZZ Top, Shirley Bassey, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Freddie Mercury, Status Quo, Bon Jovi, to name just a few. The other day, Darryl Jones, who’s been touring with the Rolling Stones for 30 years, dropped by to give Uli two of his basses from the last Stones tour … another day in the life of Uli Salm.

Uli Salm with Rolling Stones bassist Darryl Jones

Uli’s bass collection started back in 1963, when he got his first Fender Precision from his parents at the age of 14, and it kept growing ever since. Uli’s excuse, ‘They keep multiplying by themselves, must be hatching somewhere in the back.’

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