6 String Bass

6 String Bass

HL 6 String Bass

This bass is a unique one for me.  I usually have a totally different design style to my builds, but I was intrigued with the build request on this bass.  The customer was very patient and a pleasure to work for.  The request was for a traveler bass that can be disassembled and packed in a carry on suit case or carried in a small Steinberger style case.  The neck had to be removable via machine screws and brass inserts.  The scale was to be 30.75 inches (short scale) and it was to be have 26 frets and be tuned to E-F.  Then later in the build, a second swap-able neck was added that was to be fretless with the same scale and B-C tuning.  This is what I came up with.

The neck(s) are quartered Tempered Maple with Macassar Ebony (fretted neck) and Ebony (fretless neck).  Stainless steel frets and marine epoxy coated fretless finger board.  Machine neck mount screws are turned with the truss rod wrench.  The back of the necks are carved in an asymmetrical contour and finished with beeswax/ orange oil topped with Zymol bridge wax.  Easy to maintain and feels terrific.

The body is Tempered Alder topped with some figured Myrtle.  I cut the top so that I could make wooden pickup covers with matching grain to the top.  Wood covers for the electronics cavities are held on with machine screws that use the same hex wrench as the bridge adjustment wrench. The body is finished in polyurethane knocked back to a satin sheen.

The electronics and hardware are comprised of Nordstrand Big Man pickups under the wooden covers, and a Fishman Power chip piezo preamp.  The pickups, including the piezo, are controlled by volume, volume, volume (piezo), tone pots.  Simple and effective.  The hardware is all Hipshot gear with the addition of the Dunlop strap gear.  I made wooden knobs which are Ebony capped with the Myrtle wood from the top.



Matt’s M76 090718

This is the result of a customer’s ideas brought to life in the Drake Custom style.  Matt wanted a semi-hollow style bass that would have a custom sound hole, three band EQ, a simple but dark colored top, and his choice of peghead shape.  He also had an idea about a logo that would stand out from all of the others I have made.  I took his ideas, and used some techniques that I have used on other basses, to come up with this version of my Model 7 bass. 

The neck is my basic quartered Tempered Maple with two dual action truss rods.  I did use some carbon fiber in a special location.  The fret board has 24 frets and is a 35 inch scale.  Stainless steel vintage gauge frets.  I laminated the peghead with wood to match the body.  The custom logo is Maple.  The neck carve is asymmetrical.


The body is chambered and made of Swamp Ash.  I topped the body with Walnut.  Matt liked the color and did not feel that figured grain was necessary.  I did slip a pinstripe detail in between the top and back portions…..just because.

We selected Aguilar DCB blade pickups and a OBP-3 three band EQ for the electronics.  Volume (p/p bypass), Blend, Global tone, Treb, Mid, Bass pots.  Pulling up on the Bass pot switches the mid range freqs.  18volt.  The cavity cover is magnet attached.  The bass will play even if the batteries die.

Hipshot Bridge and tuners.  Dunlop strap gear.

9 pounds.



Autumn 051618

This wonderful fretless bass is a custom build that was co-designed by new customer Jon B.  Jon has had an idea of a bass like this for a long time.  He contacted me earlier this year to see if I would be willing to build his dream bass.  As you can see Jon has an affinity for Maple wood, trees, and leaves.  It is his favorite species of tree so he wanted Spalted Maple incorporated in the build as much as possible.  

The neck is a one piece quartered and tempered (torrified) Maple with two truss rods and some carbon fiber installed in two specific areas to make the neck very stable.  The carve of the neck is asymmetrical for comfort. The finger board is of Ebony that sports Maple fret lines and has an amazing maple branch inlay down the length.  The branch is Spalted Maple and the leaves, gold and bronze MOP shell.  I used Spalted Maple for the peghead veneers.

The body is of tempered Basswood and has very nice color and weight.  The front and back of the body is of Spalted Maple.  Black veneer lines separate the layers.

The Aguilar 6J HC single coil (hum canceling) Jazz pickups are inside covers made of the same Basswood and Maple as the rest of the body.  We used a Aguilar OBP-3 preamp in this bass.  There is a volume control with push/pull bypass, blend, Bass/Treble stack, and a mid control with push/pull mid select.  The knobs are of Ebony capped with Spalted Maple.

Hipshot gold/black hardware and Dunlop straploks.  One of the extreme sports features is the three D tuner machines on the B-A strings.  This is to allow for custom tuning on the fly, Manring style.

The tone is what I consider the perfect fretless tone.  A nice mwaaah to every note on the fingerboard.  The B is nice and tight with no floppiness.  The pickups have a nice amount of punch and clarity.  The EQ section is very functional and can really dial in a nice organic round tone or a tight sounding Jaco tone.   i can’t wait to hear what Jon creates with this bass.  Truly been a joy to build. 

Holly 082716

This bass is a super modified Model 7 bass, commissioned by a returning customer who wanted an instrument that was suitable for his love of Jazz but able to be used in a variety of musical settings.  We collaborated with ideas for the specs and appearance of the instrument.

The neck is quartered Tempered Maple with two dual action truss rods and carbon fiber stabilization.  The fret board is Ebony with 24 small gauge stainless steel frets.  We went with a 34 inch scale on this bass.  I made a nut out of some nice grade brass.  The peghead is capped with some of the Holly used to top the body.

The body consists of a single piece of figured Mahogany topped with the aforementioned Holly.  What a beautiful combination.  The customer wanted a some air in the wood so I chambered out a large section on the bass side.  I designed and cut a simple sound hole.  I made the interior depth to allow a tummy cut on the back side of the bass.

The hardware was easy as we both liked Hipshot brand kit.  The customer chose brass for the bridge tray and we used a .708 spacing.  Dunlop inset strap locks and 5 recessed neck bolts complete the hardware.

The pickups are Aguilar DCB dual magnet style and we are running them through a Aguilar OBP1 preamp.  We have set the controls to volume, blend, global tone, and the bass/treb boosting preamp.  The preamp is bypassed with the tone knob down.  If the tone knob is pulled out, the preamp is engaged.  The customer does not intend to use the preamp as much as he prefers a passive bass.

The bass weighs 10 pounds and is balanced very well on a strap or the lap.  We strung her up with Thomastik Enfield strings.

The Beast #1

This sweet thing is known to us as “The Beast”.  She is a custom order for a new customer named Pete.  Pete wanted me to design and build a bass that has that nice warm semi-hollow tone.  Pete likes Jazz and wanted a bass that would allow him to obtain a certain tone, but also cover some of his other gigs.

The neck is Roasted Maple with a bit of figure in it.  The color of the wood is stunning.  The fret board is Ebony that shows 24 frets in a 33 inch scale.  Inside, the neck has two dual action truss rods and two carbon fiber bars.  Ebony peg head facings both front and back.

The body is a hollow core Mahogany with a Swamp ash center block.  The Claro Walnut top and back are deeply carved inside and out to help with the acoustic properties of the bass.  The center core block is also hollowed out.  Pete wanted the finish to be a oil and wax style so it is thin and easy to refresh from time to time.

We selected Hipshot D style bridge with piezo loaded saddles.  The bridge and tail piece are aluminum.  The tuners are Schaller with Ebony buttons installed rather than the heavier metal buttons.  Recessed strap hardware.

For electronics, we went with Aguilar for their power and organic tones.  We used a LR Baggs CTRL-X onboard preamp/mixer for it’s tone and long battery life.  We wired the bass so that even with the battery removed, the magnetic pickups will still function.

Warm semi-hollow vibe along with the ability to dial in that deep, but clear, piano-like tone.  The LR Baggs piezo preamp seems to have a few nice tricks up it’s sleeve too.



Galene 122213

This bass is appropriately named Galene, the Greek goddess of calm seas, since her owner plays aboard cruise ships.  This style of bass is kind of a first for me as far as the design goes and I have not built many 6 string basses.

The neck is Wenge with a matching Wenge fret board.  There are 22 frets along the 34 inch scale fret board plus I added a zero fret.  I used stainless steel frets on this bass and matched the peg head veneers to the body woods.

The body is of Sapele with a very nice Burled Maple top.  I did add the thin Walnut accent stripe in between the top and back.  I finished this bass with my satin hand rubbed finish that is durable and will not show finger prints on stage.  There is a ramp placed in between the pickups as per specification of the customer.

The pickups are EMG 45P and 45J with alnico magnets and fed into a EMG BTC 2 band EQ preamp.  I wired this bass with a 18 volt circuit.

The hardware is Hipshot along with some Dunlope strap locks.  I have two points in the upper horn area for different strapping possibilities.

The nut is 2.12 inches wide and the bridge spacing is .669 inches.  The bass weighs 9 pounds.


6 String Bass 071108

This is a one of a kind 6 string bass built for a pro customer back in 08.  The other bass pictured next to this bass in the 6 String Bass section is actually the same bass.  I recently found this old beauty for sale and just had to get her back in to give her some new life.

This bass represents my building style a few years back where I used two piece quartersawn necks.  I was using carbon fiber back then and this bass does have the stab bars as well as the dual action truss rod to keep this slim and shallow C shaped neck in line.    The 34 inch scale, 22 fret, Macassar Ebony fretboard is well matched to the peghead veneers and truss rod cover.

The body is Honduran Mahogany and is very light in weight.  Even with the brass bridge the whole bass weighs in at under 9 pounds!  Originally the body was dyed Ebony color but I refinished her with a blue/green burst urethane finish that is hard to see in the pictures.  I had to use additional light to photo this one as the finish has a holographic value to it.

For pickups she has a EMG 45P in the neck position and a 45TSW with a push pull switch in the bridge position.  The push pull switches the bridge pup from a humbucker to a Jazz pup.  I also added an EMG BTC 2 band EQ that boosts or cuts bass and treble.

Her hardware is a black Hipshot A style bridge (.669 spacing), Gotoh tuners, and Dunlop straplocks.  She does have a battery box for easy battery changes.  Battery life is rated at 1500 hours of use.

This bass is 1 7/8 inches at the nut and 3 1/8 inches at the 22nd fret.  9 pounds and well balanced.


Mocha 6 string

This bass was custom built for Fred Missouri a couple of years ago. It has a quatersawn Hard Maple neck with a 22 fret Maccassar Ebony Fret board and peg head veneers. The body is Mahogany and she has varnish over a black/brown dye. This is the first 6 string bass I have ever built but it will not be the last.