5 String Bass

Bill’s headless 5

 

This fun little beauty is a custom order for returning Customer Bill.  Bill has always wanted a headless bass and also was in the market for a fretless 5 string bass.  We decided to combine the two items from his wish list.  The design is a modified Koog V shape to allow for the bridge mechanism.  I used a deep pocket neck attachment so that the highest notes can be reached with out contact with the body.  This design also has the benefit of having the lower notes easier to reach.

Quartered tempered Maple neck with Macassar Ebony finger board.  24 fretlines mark the positions.  I matched the heel cap to the body woods and made a little embellishment on the head mount area to blend things together visually.

The body is a single piece Swamp Ash back topped with tempered Western Maple.  No dyes or stains on this bass.

EMG 40P5 and 40J pickups with a BQC 3 band EQ.  Sweep-able mids.   At this time I have pulled the pickups and preamp out to use in Bill’s new bass project.  So the bass is unloaded at this time.  I would be willing to install whatever electronics a customer would request.  Cost of the electronics will be added to the price listed below.  Hipshot headless hardware and Dunlop strap gear.

The bass is finished in polyurethane that I hand polished to a glossy sheen.

2 inch wide at the nut, 3.1 inch wide at the 24th fret line.  .750 inch spacing at the bridge.  4 string spacing.

7 pounds!

This bass was built for a customer who, once he received it, could not handle the 19mm spacing at the bridge.  Rather than mess up this nice bass, I made him another bass.  So this bass is slightly used but has never been on stage and has no damage what so ever.

For sale at this time.  $2000 includes a Mono brand Vertigo case.  Call for details or to ask any questions.  641-891-6404

BG 5 string bass

This is a custom design that I have been working on for a few years.  This particular bass was built recently to submit to Bass Gear magazine for review.  I decided that this bass would be a 33 inch scale, made from tempered woods, and be all passive in the electronics.

The neck is quartered tempered Maple with a dual action truss rod and carbon fiber reinforcement.  Macassar Ebony fret board carrying 22 narrow gauge frets made from stainless steel, and glow in the dark side dot inlays.  The peghead is topped with tempered Western Maple and an Ash back.

The body is crafted from a single piece of tempered Swamp Ash topped with Western Maple that has also been through the tempering process.  The process cooks out the saps and sugars and forces any stress to come out much quicker than air drying.  The result is a tone-wood that is more resonate and stable and impervious to climate changes.

I used Nordstrand NJ5S pickup cores inside of wooden covers I made from left over body woods.  The bass is wired passive Volume 1, Volume 2, passive tone.  The design allows for a preamp or piezo to be added later on if the new owner chooses.  There is channeling for the piezo under the bridge.  The controls are accessed by a cover that is held on with magnets.  Simply press one side and tilt the cover off.

Hipshot hardware with an A style bridge that has a .708 inch spacing.

I finished the bass in polyurethane and polished it to a satin sheen.

The weight of the bass is right around 8 pounds.

This bass has been SOLD

 

 

KOOG V Fretted Bass

This stellar 5 string bass was crafted for returning customer Fred.  I had made this same style bass for him in a fretless version and he liked it enough he commissioned me to build a similar instrument only fretted.  He also wanted to make this bass a 34 inch scale with 24 frets and we tried some passive pickups this time.

The neck is my 7 piece laminated (from center) Purpleheart, Maple,Wenge,and figured Maple on the outside.  The fret board is West African Ebony as well as are the peghead veneers.  two dual action truss rods run the whole length of the neck.  We used smaller stainless steel frets for long life and low action.

The body is Swamp Ash topped with curly Claro Walnut.  We utilized the raised center portion that we used on his fretless bass.  The whole instrument is finished with a hand rubbed oil/varnish.

For electronics we went with the Aguilar DCB humbucking pickups wired with 250k pots.  For a little tone boost if needed, we used the EMG BTS 2 band EQ.  Koog wanted his traditional chicken head knobs install ed on this bass.  The cavity cover is fastened via magnetic discs.

I really like this design and think that many players would find it to be one of the most comfortable basses they have ever played.

KOOG V Fretless

This is a special bass designed by myself and returning customer Koog.  Koog wanted me to work with a shape that he had drawn up and to incorporate some features from another bass that he had been playing at the time.  I added some of my ideas to the mix and this is the final outcome.  A very easy playing fretless five string bass that is well balanced and and a joy to look at.

The neck is high grade figured Hard Maple with Wenge and Purpleheart stringers.  The fretboard and peg head veneers are of Ebony wood.  Koog has always liked his idea of the partial fret lines so we did that again on this bass.  I installed Luminlay side dots as well.  I used two dual action truss rods for optimal adjust ability to the relief as Koog likes to use high tension flat wound strings.

The body and neck are joined by a deep neck pocket bolt on design.  I have been doing a lot of these as of late.  This allows for all access to the highest of positions without a body joint getting in the way.  The back of the body is light weight Swamp Ash and the top is of Claro Walnut.  Koog wanted me to do some deep carving into the top so we used a thick top and I contoured it along the center area.  The body and neck are finished in oil.

The electronics on this bass are EMG 40J pickups with a BTS 2 band EQ system.  The electronics are covered by a wood cover that is held on with magnets for easy tool-less battery changes.

This bass weighs in at 8.8 pounds.

Angeline 041515

This beauty was crafted for a local player (Dave D) who is very active in his church ensemble, where the power of a 5 string bass really shines.  He has purchased a few instruments from me in the past so he knew what he wanted for this bass.  His request was that the bass to be finished in a high gloss black finish like a guitar that I made for him.  He also really liked the variegated look of Macassar Ebony and wanted that to be the fret boar wood.

So with his ideas in mind, I set out to create this bass.  The bass is my newer #9 design that incorporates the best features of my previous designs.  Let’s start with the neck.

The fast C shaped neck is Wenge, chosen for the stability and the raw unfinished feeling it has.  Wenge adds some compression to the tone and is warm sounding.  The fret board is the Macassar Ebony mentioned earlier.  Dave liked my 33 inch scale basses so we went with that scale for this bass too.  22 Frets of EVO gold wire plus a zero fret.  The peghead sports my script logo in MOP shell, as well are the diamond inlays.  Glow in the dark side dots in blue.

The body is solid Mahogany for the rich piano like tones you get from that wood.  I finished the body in black lacquer to create the high gloss finish that Dave requested.  It is not easy to do but does look nice.  I kept the finish, thin in the end, as to not choke out the tone of the wood.  The contours of the body are comfortable and really help keep the bass positioned right when seated or on a strap.

The electronics package is the EMG 40P and 40J pickups with a EMG 3 band EQ section that has a sweepable mid range adjustment.  This system allows for a very diverse tone pallet.

Hipshot custom hardware and Dunlop strap locks complete the equipment.

The bass weighs in at 8.3 pounds.  2.73 inches at the nut and .669 inch spacing string to string at the bridge.

 

Diaz Custom 5

At the end of 2014 I was contacted by a bass player, multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer and composer, Daniel Diaz, who requested that I help him design and build a 5 string bass (tuned E-C) with a narrow string spacing.  Daniel has a style that utilizes a lot of chord style playing so he wanted a more comfortable and playable neck.

Daniel specified that he needed a Maple neck with a 32 inch scale, 24 frets, Ebony fret board with easy access to at least the 22nd fret, and a bolt on construction.   He chose my Betty Bass style body with traditional F holes, and he wanted a carved top.  This posed a challenge to balance and playability with aesthetics.   So, to balance the bass and to allow access to the upper frets, I extended the horns and brought in the bottom of the bass body.  The neck is designed to put the frets to the edge of the body but still allow a long heel to be bolted deep into the body.    

The body back is Sapele with a figured Myrtle wood  top.  I carved the top inside and out.  I finished the bass in a satin/matte lacquer to reduce finger smudges and be easier to maintain.  I kept the finish thin as to not choke out the tone.

Hipshot chrome nickel tuners and Schaller bridge which I modified to allow string through the body.  This allows the use of the same long scale strings he uses on his other basses.  He can also top load the bridge with medium scale strings.

EMG 35 J pickups with a BTC 2 band EQ with a 9 volt circuit.  The cover access to the electronics is held on by magnets.  You simply need to stick your finger through the sound hole to disengage the cover plate.  No tools needed to change a battery.

We have GWW making us a custom shaped hard case as this bass has a shape that is totally custom.

Check out some of Daniels work on his all bass album “Low, Volume 1” All sounds on this album were made by basses of various styles.

http://danieldiaz.bandcamp.com/album/low-volume-1

Sound clips of this particular bass are here.

https://soundcloud.com/daniel-diaz/outside-juarez

https://soundcloud.com/daniel-diaz/oratio-septentrionalis

Model 9 052914

This lovely little 5 string bass was commissioned by new customer, Jim M.  Jim’s playing style and technique do not require a lot of space between the strings so he was wondering why not make a 4 string neck that has 5 strings.  We decided to use a string spread of just 2.2 inches at the bridge.  The nut is around 1.7 inches.  The result is a very playable 5 string bass that allows for easy chording.

The neck is quarter sawn Maple, with a 22 fret, 33 inch scale Maple fret board.  I used stainless steel frets on this bass and we only inlaid an oval inlay at the 12th fret.  The inlay is made from Walnut.  The peghead is capped with Walnut and I have laminated pinstripes of Walnut around the rear peghead, under the fret board, and around the heel cap to add some character.

The body is Swamp Ash which is very light in weight and very resonate.  The body is slightly chambered and is topped with a rich looking book matched Walnut top.  Jim felt that the color of the Walnut was enough of a visual appeal and therefore did not elect to have a high figured top.  I agree that the top looks great without any figuring.  I continued the Walnut pin striping around the perimeter of the top to tie the body and neck together.

The heartbeat of the bass comes from EMG 35J pickups in both bridge and neck positions.  We ran the signal through an EMG BQC preamp that has a three band EQ as well as a mid contour.  This set up is very functional and I was able to dial up a nice pallet of tones.

The tuners are Gotoh and the bridge is the Kahler Hybrid model bridge that allows for the tight string spacing.  I did not like the way the bridge rode on top of the body so I inlaid it into the top about 1/8 of an inch to make the lines clean.

She is finished in a matte urethane finish that will not show finger prints or wear and tear as much as glossy finishes do.

She weighs in at a little less than 8 pounds.

 

 

5 string 092513

This 5 string is a one off 5 string that I made with some nice woods I had laying about.  This bass has been my experimental bass over the years and therefore gone through some changes here and there.  I have refinished her a few times to try new finishes, and I have tried various electronics configurations.  The basic specs are pretty much the same.

Lets start with the neck.  The neck is crafted from 3 pieces of Jatoba wood with Wenge stringers.  Jatoba is very hard wood  that has the look and color of Mahogany.    The 24 fret (plus zero fret), 33 inch scale, fret board is made from high grade Indian Rosewood with side dots only.  The peghead is capped with Black Limba cut from the body top on the front, and Mahogany for the back side.  Inside, the neck has a dual action truss rod and two carbon fiber stabilization rods to keep the neck where it needs to be.  the bass was constructed in 2013 so the neck has seasoned well and is very stable.

The body is a chambered Mahogany back topped with a Black Limba top.  I cut several pieces of the Black Limba and laminated them together to make a decorative top.  Between the top and back I have laminated a pinstripe of dark wood to add some contrast to the woods.

The electronics package consists of EMG 40P and 40J soapbars with a BTS (bass/treble boost cut) EQ in a 9 volt configuration.  Battery life is quite long if the player unplugs at the bass when not in use.

Hipshot B style, string through the body, bridge and Ultra-lite tuners, with Dunlop straplocks complete the hardware selection.

The body is now finished in urethane based oil as well is the neck and peghead.

1 7/8 inch wide at the nut and 2 3/4 inch at the highest fret. .699 spacing at the bridge.  Medium neck profile with a C shape starting at the nut and gradually evolving to a D shape at the body.  Excellent fret work and rolled edges of the fret board for comfort. 8.7 lbs.

 

Tracy 080112

This is a wonderful, modified, DC Model 6 that was custom ordered by a new customer out East.  The order was for a easy playing 5 string with narrow spacing and capable of producing an upright tone as well as a nice old rock tone.  This is what Barry and I came up with.

The neck is a nice piece of  Hard Maple that has beautiful grain and figuring.  The 33 inch scale 24 fret Ebony fret board sports a added zero fret and glow in the dark Luminay side dot markers only.  The veneers on both front and back are of Walnut .

The body is Walnut with some mild figuring on both front and back over a Figured Soft Maple core.  The center cap consists of  Walnut over figured Maple to accent the detail.  You can see how well the figure pops under the Tru-oil finish that enrobes the entire bass.

The electronics package is comprised of EMG 40P and 40J pickups and a Ghost Piezo System and preamp with a bright/dark push/pull volume control.  This bass is wired with a 9 volt configuration and has a quick change battery box mounted into the cavity cover.

The hardware is a nice custom Hipshot two tone gold/black combo available as a special order.  The A style bridge has .669 spacing and has been milled with thin walls to reduce weight as the bridge is made of brass.  The bass is also has the string through the body feature.

Specs: 1 7/8 inch at the zero fret, 2 3/4 inch at the 24th fret, and weighs in at under 10 pounds.

DC Model 7 050650


This bass has been named “Janie” and  was built for returning customer who has several of my 4 string basses and lately has moved his playing into the 5 string realm.
This bass is a Drake Mk7 Custom Lite model made completely from African woods. The neck on this bass is Wenge with a 33 inch scale, 24 fret, Wenge fret board. The peghead veneer is Black Limba.
Her body has a chambered Purpleheart core and Black Limba facings front and back.
She is loaded with EMG 40P and 40J pickups wired in a 9 volt configuration.
Her finish is a satin oil varnish.
She has a very smooth even tone with plenty or clarity. By rolling off the tone control she has a nice thump to her booty.
She weighs 9 pounds and is 1 15/16″ at the nut and 2 3/4″ wide at the 24th fret.

This bass has been sold but I would be happy to build one to your specs. Contact me at drakecustom@live.com for price quotes.

Stella 111689

This lovely 24 fret, 33 inch scale, 5 string bass is Stella and she was completed 06/06/11. Her serial number is a special request by the owner.

This bass has a European Curly Maple quartersawn neck with two Walnut stringers, a Gaboon Ebony fretboard, and Curly Maple binding. Her headstock is laminated with figured Walnut.
Her body is made of figured soft Maple as her core with Figured Walnut facings on the front and back. She is very light (as with all of my F-styles) and only weighs 7.8 pounds.
Her electronics are EMG Jazz pickups wired in the 9volt configuration.
Her hardware is all Hipshot brand featuring the A style bridge and Ultra-lite tunning keys. She also has the string-thru feature and Dunlop straploks.
She has a very focused B string which I find hard to get from most 5 strings. I seems that this 33 inch scale is a good match for 5 and 6 string basses. I was always told that the longer the scale the better the sound of low B strings but this is the third 5 string that I have made in this scale and I have to say the it beats the 34 inch scale any day for good B string tone. I would say it is even less muddy than the 35 inch scales I have had.

Darla 031711


This is Darla and her serial number is 031711. She is a build that I entered into the Talkbass fretless 5 string build off. You can see the entire build and read my step by step commentary at:
http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f57/fretless-5-comp-drake-custom-build-732254/
The features of this bass are a quarter sawn flamed Hard Maple neck with a Gaboon Ebony finger board lined with Maple lines. Her scale is 33 inches. The neck has a Maple/Walnut heringbone veneer on the front and Walnut veneer on the back. The neck is bound with Flamed Maple.
Her body is a Purpleheart back with a Walnut/Maple heringbone top. She is carved in a Carl Thompson style shape as he has been such a big influence on my style of building.
Her hardware is all Hipshot and her pickups are EMG Jazz 3.0 with a Vol/Vol/Tone setup. 9 Volt.
Her tone is dark and warm with plenty of “mmwaaah” to go around.
She is 1.70 inches at the nut and her string spread is .669 inches between the strings at the bridge. She weighs 9.2 pounds.

Amberlee 111810


Here is one of the latest projects I have completed. She is a 5 string bass named Amberlee. This bass was started back at the end of October 2010 and was finished this week.
The order is for a 33 inch scale Macassar Ebony fret board with 24 frets and Maple binding on a Curly Maple neck. Her body is of Prupleheart, Wenge, Walnut, with thin Maple stringers. She has EMG 40J pickups and Hipshot custom hardware. She was wired vol/ blend/ tone with a 18 volt active circut for headroom.
This bass is a customer’s bass and is sold.

Freddie 062110


This 5 string bass was completed at the end of
July 2010. This 34 inch long scale bass has a quarter sawn Zebrawood neck with Zebra fret board and peg head veneers. A dual action truss rod and 2 carbon fiber stabilization rods run the length of her neck. She has 23 frets including the zero fret. This zero fret is to make open notes sound like fretted notes and to help with intonation and making a lower action possible. She has a nice growl to her because of the wood choice and her EMG 3.0 Jazz pickups. These active pick-ups are quiet with tons of punch. Each pick-up has its own internal preamp and the pair run on a 9 volt battery which is easily changed via the battery box on the Walnut cavity cover. I used a light Hipshot B style bridge and Hipshot Ultra-lite tuners to reduce her weight and make string changes a snap.

Carrington 5

This bass is one of the nicest 5 strings to ever come out of my shop. It is too bad that I did not get more pictures of her when I had the chance. She has a one piece Hard Rock maple neck with Gabon Ebony fret board, 22 frets, and walnut facings on the peg head. Her body is Black Walnut and is light in weight for a Walnut bass. The bass was for a customer’s Dad as a gift. I know the customer very well so we decided he would build the bass with me acting as the teacher. He had limited woodworking skills but I watched him like a hawk and advised him during the build. He is very proud of his work and he should be. The bass sees action in a Church trio quite often and has a “Heavenly Metal” tone. A very nice bass Nate!

Elle 101408

This 5 string has a 35 inch scale length to give her a better low B string tone. She has a Hard Maple neck with a Cocobolo fret board and peghead veneers. Her body has a chambered Mahogany core with figured Beeswing Maple facing on the front and back. The electronics cavity is made of Cocobolo wood as well as her tone knobs.