After encountering some CTS issues, I decided to look through TB for more comfortable options and came across http://www.littleguitarworks.com
. For those who can't click the link, Jerome Little is the only person I've found in the world that makes Torzal necked basses (basses that have a gradual twist in the neck and body, which reduces/eliminates the need to bend your wrists while playing). Sent an email out to him, letting him know of my problems and eventually began discussing the dream bass I've always wanted to commission: a short scale 6 string with massive sound and versatility, that can use long scale strings and is easy on the hands, shoulders and eyes; and one that'll always remind me of home (from the Virgin Islands). I seriously want this bass to be "the one".
WELL, After after more than a year of over 100 emails to hash out how we're gonna make this possible, we're nearing the final weeks of completion and I have a few pics to share with the community. Now, I'm called to play a variety of genres on a regular basis (gospel, R&B, funk, rock, calypso, reggae, big band jazz and salsa are the more common ones), so my goal with this bass was to make it the most versatile we could get it, while keeping it in the 7 lb. range for surviving long gigs. Jerome has been pretty cool to work with, responds in a timely manner on most days and has been VERY accommodating with my list of demands. Here's the laundry list of specs, hope you enjoy the pics! Build:
- 31.2" Scale
- 6 String (That's standard 6: BEADGC)
- Alder Body with Figured Myrtle top
- Caribbean Blue Burst finish
- 5 piece maple neck (wenge stringers)
- Birdseye Maple Fingerboard
- 2.125" nut width
Extra Cool Stuff:
- Nordstrand Dual Coil pickups (with a single/series/parallel switch for each pickup) - 17.5 mm spacing
- Birdseye Maple pickup covers for Nordy pickups
- Nordstrand 3 Band Preamp (300 & 800 Hz mid frequencies, 18 Volt Config, Tone Knob, Passive switch)
- Toone & Townsend Individual Bridges (Chrome)
- Hipshot Ultralite Tuners (Chrome) - 4+2 Headstock
- Roland GK-3B pickup (switch, up/down buttons and LED light installed internally) to connect to a Roland VB-99
- Humingbird Inlay @ 11-13th Fret
- Luminlay Side dots (they glow in the dark!)
- Torzal Twist: Neck twists to +20 degrees at the nut and -15 degrees at the bridge. It should be at 0 degrees at the last few frets.
- Adjustable wooden ramp made from Myrtle
- Wooden control knobs
- Specially designed wrap-around string anchoring system to accommodate long scale strings and to increase tension
On To The Pics!!
Getting the neck and body ready:
Here's that hummingbird inlay:
First looks at the body and neck together:
There's the Luminlay dots (you shine a small UV flashlight on them and they glow in the dark for up to 1 hour):
A little further along now, pickup cavity routed & frets installed. Those two buttons are to control the VB
-99 unit. As you can see by the holes, there's a lot of knobs and switches!
Rear Control Cavity and battery compartment:
Strings added to test new anchoring system:
Even though it's a shorty, it can use long scale strings - Best of both worlds i'm hoping!
I could however use short scale strings if I choose to later on...I think the wraparound looks kinda cool (you can see some of the Torzal twist in this one):
Here are the unfinished pickup covers:
and the first (and so far, the only) full picture:
This is the first pass but it wasn't exactly where we wanted it to be. I told him I wanted the bass to remind me of the beach; the ocean brushing against the sandy shore...close, but not quite there yet. Jerome seemed more than eager to correct it, which required sanding the whole thing down and starting again, I felt so bad for him
But hey, somebody might like this version so I'm putting it up:
Here's the back, with a faded transition to the neck...we decided the whole thing was just too "blue":
Ahh much better! The colors came out beautifully IMO and really captures the image I'm going for...and I dont know if it was a lighter application of paint, but it seems the myrtle has even more depth to it the 2nd time around. It was looking a little too "yellow" here so I asked for a little more green around the edges, however...
...in the outside light it's quite nice!:
Must have been less paint cause even the grain on the back seems to pop a bit more here (or it could just be the lighting):
So we decided to add a little more green to the mix and now it's exactly what I had pictured in my head! One thing I must say is that he's not happy with it until you're happy so he definitely hit the mark for me here:
I'll outline the controls in a later post, but man that birdseye just kills me every time!:
and one more for good measure:
That's all for now...stay tuned for clear coating, electronics installation and ramp design and installation...I'm getting excited!