Electric Basses Custom-made
Besides haptics, visual appearance and the right components, the right weight distribution as well as ergonomics are crucial for an electric bass.
Many different variants are possible, since custom-made means to me: You tell me your demands and wishes and I construct your instrument according to these, from the first draft to the vernier adjustment.
5-string headless electric bass custom-made
The 5-string electric bass, made from mahogany, maple, and ebony was designed and constructed according to one customer’s wishes in 2009. It was especially challenging to meet the customer’s demands of a “not too top-heavy, good looking, versatile, 5-string” instrument and to realize these demands in design as well as in construction. The customer did not make any specifications regarding the design, but nevertheless, the instrument should match the musician’s personality.
Many different drafts have been plotted with a CAD-program in a 1:1 scale. After the customer has chosen one favorite, the design has been modified in an additional meeting. One crucial point for the design of the instrument was, besides the wood selection and the language of shape, was the choice of suitable electronic components for the sound transformation.
As desired, the instrument must not be top-heavy. My design: headless way of construction with continuous neck, mottled maple soundboard, which bridges the whole body including the neck. The materials are chosen consciously but also retentively (silver decoration, ebony, mottled maple wood). A consequent choice of all components (Monorail- bridge, pick-ups) is made from German high-quality manufacturing. The electronics are built simply but widely deployable. As a special feature my company logo is engraved in the ebony pick-ups.
The tuning machine, which is usually attached to the head, is integrated into the tailpiece on the body. This allows for a headless construction and a not top-heavy instrument. The head is substituted by a so called “headpiece” (ABM High Quality Guitar Parts Berlin) for the string-attachment.
The body of the instrument is positioned at the neck, which determines the complete length of the instrument. This construction extends the sound duration (sustain). This effect is also supported by the 5-piece neck construction made from maple, ebony and Fernambuc.
The fingerboard made from ebony supports the brilliance of the instrument. The side dots are inlayed with silver wire.
Hardware, pick-ups, and electronics
The high level of quality also reflects the selection of components. All hardware comes from the low volume production of the company “ABM High Quality Guitar Parts” in Berlin. The pick-ups, which are responsible for the sound transfer, are handmade individual pieces of the company Harry Häussel in Burladingen. The electric components are embedded in a cap of ebony. My company logo is engraved into this cap.
The electric shifting possibilities of the instrument offer the player a variety of sound variants, with only three controllers on the instrument. One knob (potentiometer) for the tone, one “push-pull” potentiometer for the volume, and the division of the pick-up at the bridge as well as a special controller from the company Delano in Recklinghausen for a stepless mixing of the signals of the two pick-ups are employed. The sound of the instrument can be changed user-friendly in fine nuances, without the instrument being overloaded with too much mechanics. With the push-pull pontiometer the dual coil pick-up (“Humbucker”) can be converted at the tailpiece on the body to a single coil pick-up. This allows for a wide spectrum of tones.
The special visual appearance of the instrument is stressed by a soundboard made of bookmatched, mottled maple wood. It is not disconnected by the continuous neck, but spans the whole body. The contours of the soundboard are arched by hand, as it is common for traditional violin making or for jazz guitars.
As for all of my instruments, special attention is paid to playability. Besides optimal action, the neck- body passage is arranged so that reaching the highest tones without hindering the right or left hand. The finish of the instrument with natural waxes and oils gives a haptically comfortable and warm surface.
The presented 5 string, headless electric bass was awarded the design prize “Seitensprünge” of the franconian handcraft and presented on the international handcraft exhibition in Munich in 2010.