Handcrafted basses

Basses (fretless)



Klassik II (2018)




What happened tot the Klassik 1?
The Klassik had a few issues. The most important one was that the neck didn't stay straight, the wood was still working. Therefore the neck curve was too much, resulting in a pretty high action and fret buzz on the highest frets. Bummer.
Also when playing in the band I wasn't satisfied with the sound of the MM style pickup. Those big magnets are sensitive and give a sharp attack when you pluck, pull or slap the strings. That's OK and even desirable if your name is Flea and play with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But if you have a playing style thats more moderate, or you play different styles of music, then an in-between slap or pluck cuts through the mix too harshly.

So after some time, i decided to remove the frets from the neck, and sand it flush again. Since it's been a while since i built my last fretless bass, i left the frets off, and glued strips of mahogany in the slots.
In my never ending quest against de dreaded "dead spot", my idea was to use a softer kind of wood for the body this time, Oregon Pine it is. Perhaps somewhat dull to look at, but really great tone! And no obvious dead spots too, so that seems to work, well well, hmmm...
To preserve the classic looks, i glued maple veneer on the WSC noiseless pickup, and left all control knobs out. Additional bonus: no noises from bad pots or bad shielding.

The sound is that what a lot of fretless bassplayers are looking for, the word is "mwah". Well it's not my idea, but bassists know exactly what I mean..

Construction: Bolt-on neck
Neck: a-symmetrical back, flat fingerboard. Steel reinforced, non adjustable
Frets: lined
Woods: Paduak-maple neck, body Oregon Pine
Pickup: WSC noiseless J type
Scale: 32inch/81 cm
Controls: none
Finish: hand-rubbed Polyurethane
Special features: string through body





The Wave (2009)




The Wave is a versatile fretless bass with very good performance. I wanted to have the fat sound of the Schaller BassBucker on a fretless bass. I used such a pickup on one of my first basses more then 20 years ago, the ML1H. I was pleased to discover it is still for sale, and still with exactly the same sound!
The BassBucker doesn't have the muddy sound like the DiMarzio bass humbucker or like the Gibson EB-3 pickup, it has a clean deep sound, with a sparkle of bright.
It is combined with a reversed and tilted Schaller PB6 pickup. With a normal P-bass position, you can hear a difference between the E/A strings and the D/G strings. The D en G string sound much thinner because that half of the pickup is much nearer the bridge. I wanted a more balanced sound over all the strings. On top of that, the string spacing of the BassBucker (16 mm) is narrower than the P-bass pickup, the strings wouldn't run nicely over magnet poles. Tilting the pickup solved that problem too. All hardware and pickups are from Schaller, great value for money. They are not well known for their pickups, but in fact they are very good.

Special thanks go to Robert (Lopaka) Spencer from Hawaii, who send me the beautiful Curly Koa wood for the body. It turned out wonderful!
The Hawaiian wood also inspired me for the design and name: Hawaii - Ocean - Surfing - Waves.. The Wave.

Construction: Neck through body
Neck: a-symmetrical back, flat fingerboard. Steel reinforced, non adjustable
Frets: none
Woods: centerpiece Oak-Paduak-Beech-Paduak-Oak, body front curly Koa, body back Meranti, fingerboard and thumbrest ebony
Pickups: Schaller BassBucker and Schaller PB6
Scale: 33,5 inch/85 cm
Controls: 2x volume, dual/single switch for humbucker, tone, tone switch
Finish: hand-rubbed Polyurethane
Special features: dot markers on the neck side




One more closeup of the awesome Koa wood from Hawaii. Thanks Lopaka, aloha!!


M1FLP (2002)


This one is made from a single(!) piece of mahogany. It has no truss-rod, no fingerboard, no laminate. A single PB-style pickup is fitted near the bridge. Because there's no fretboard/fingerboard, the frontside of the neck is at the same height as the frontside of the body. That's whyilowered the bridge, and as you can see, there is a special cut-away near the neck for playing comfort.

Due to the lack of a truss-rod, there is a chance the neck will bend and in that case, there is no way of correcting that. It was a very old peace of mahogany, and i was very curious about the sound of a single-peace bass, so i took the risk. It turned out to be worth it. No "dead spots" and a good sustain is the result.

The sound is hard to dicribe, it doesn't sound like most fretless basses. It has similarity with a Rickenbaker 4000 series, only mixed with the typical fretless sound. It has an accent on the lower-mid frequencies.



LONGBOW




Construction: Neck through body
Neck: a-symmetrical back, flat fingerboard. Steel reinforced, non adjustable
Frets: none
Woods: Bangkirai body and neck, Beechwood fingerboard, Jatoba bridge and nut
Pickups: Piezo system incorporated in bridge and resonating chamber
Scale: 34 inch/86 cm
Controls: master volume
Finish: hand-rubbed Polyurethane
Special features: Hollow resonating chamber under the bridge, fingerboard has thumbrest incorporated

This bass is not really an accoustic bass, but it has a hollow chamber covered by a resonating plate on top of wich the bridge is placed. This allows the piezo system to vibrate freely, giving this bass an accoustic, contrabass-like sound. Warm, deep tone. The use of all wooden parts like nut, bridge and tailpieces adds up to that. Sounds best with flatwound strings.

Although this bass has a standard 34" scale, it seems longer than that. The bridge is further towards the neck because of the resonating plate, and the lower cutaway of the body that far back make the bass seem longer.
Just like the reach of a longbow.


LONGBOW improved (2008)




Along with some non visible alterations on the resonanting plate and piezo system, Longbow was fitted with Ebony tailpiece, bridge and nut. For longer sustain and better looks. The headstock had a makeover also.



SHARK




Contruction: Massive body, bolt-on neck
Neck: a-symmetrical back, flat fingerboard. No truss-rod
Frets: Fretless
Scale: 33"/84cm
woods: Meranti body, Afzelia neck, Wenge pickup cover
Pickups: MonsterBass active single coil
tuners: Gotoh
Bridge: MonsterBass
controls: volume, tone, Pre-amp on/off, boost on/off
Finish: Polyurethane
Extra features: dot markers on neck side

This fretless 5 string bass has a narrow body, is not heavy. The massive brass bridge and nut plus the string-through-body tail give it great sustain. I made the active pickup myself for this one, the preamp gives it lots of low tones, the low B string let's my Amplifier rumble like a Leopard tank. And that's without the extra boost switch on!

EL CHEAPO




Contruction: Massive body, neck-thru-body
Neck: a-symmetrical back, flat fingerboard. No truss-rod
Frets: Fretless
Scale: 35"/88cm
woods: Oak body and neck, Wenge fingerboard, zebrawood body top
Pickups: Piezo
tuners: Gotoh
Bridge: MonsterBass
controls: off/on/bright switch
Finish: Polyurethane
Extra features: dot markers on neck side

Made from leftovers: I bought 2 sets of tuners for the 5-string Shark, so i got 3 left. a piece of Wenge from the Dolphin bass, zebrawood from the 6 string. The pickup is the same idea as the Longbow-pickup: The bridge resting on 2 piezo transducers on a little resonance plate. The piezos cost 50 cents a piece. I had the tuners lying around anyway, but if i take the price of the tuners into account, this bass has cost me around 30 euro's.
And you know what: IT WORKS! Because of the small resonance plate under the bridge, this bass sounds less accoustic than the Longbow and more like a bass with an ordinary pickup. Even with lots of volume and lots of low.

Hear how this little bass sounds: elcheapo.mp3