Canadian Luthier who request hand print, 30 years ago

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Mustafa Umut Sa, Aug 17, 2018.

  1. Mustafa Umut Sa

    Mustafa Umut Sa

    Oct 20, 2007
    My friend told me 30 years ago , there was a canadian luthier requests hand prints of customer and build the bass neck + fingerboard from there.

    Did you hear such a thing , is it real ?
    Christine likes this.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I've heard that there are luthiers who are capable of tuning the instruments to the players' hands like that - i don't recall handprints, but it makes sense.
    Christine and chinjazz like this.
  3. chinjazz

    chinjazz Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2002
    Atlantic Beach, FL
    I think it’s a reasonable request if the Luthier is into that level of customization. The neck feel is the most personal aspect in my opinion.
    Christine likes this.
  4. Mustafa Umut Sa

    Mustafa Umut Sa

    Oct 20, 2007
    Where can I learn handprint to neck fingherboard customezation ? Is there a book with equations , measurements etc ? This is ergonomic study but I could not find anyone says anything .
  5. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    There are so many variables, playing style, general hand health.... I won't pretend to understand, it might be right but it seems a little whimsical to me. Love to know more if it's true though

    Edit: I wonder if it is a 3D hand print in plasticine or something
  6. Staredge


    Aug 7, 2010
    Damascus, MD
    I could see it. Would give you a general idea (if you've lots of experience in building) of what neck size and fretboard width might be best. Big hands, P bass. Smaller hands, J bass. That kind of thing.
  7. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    This sounds like it could be Atilla Balogh, but I cannot confirm that he did this.
  8. JACink


    Mar 9, 2011
    Obviously this didn't occur to Alembic, otherwise Stanley Clarke would have never got that bass :D
  9. +1. I am certain there are bass players with the same size hands as me that fret or hold the neck in different ways, and also (not necessarily related to my previous points) like a wider or thinner, flatter or rounder neck than I typically like.

    It may be a better starting point than just building a neck without any consideration for the specific player, but honestly, if I was requesting a custom bass, I would mention which necks I prefer and would want to see somewhat replicated on that build.
    superheavyfunk, Ekulati and Christine like this.
  10. dan1952

    dan1952 Commercial User

    Jun 27, 2012
    Anderson IN
    Artist Endorsement with Supro Huntington Basses / Owner, Dan's Music, Inc..
    Astrological sign might be important, too.
  11. sedan_dad


    Feb 5, 2006
    Tony Zemaitis would do this.
  12. If mercury is in retrograde, I think I'm going to replace my tort guard with a black one.

    That might be good for astrology, but what about Feng Shui?
  13. When I had my custom bass made back in the seventies, the luthier took hand measurements, checked out arm length for hanging balance (no neck dive) and even contoured the back to gel with my rib cage.
    Needless to say, I used the bass for the next 40+ years without need for any other.
    Low B on the 5th string all the way up to Bb above G, above the G string high octave, and totally comfortable everywhere (of course no frivolous lower horn to get in the way)
    Some slight adjustments were made over the years, pickups etc, the upside of using a luthier who lived in the neighborhood.

    BritFunk and Mustafa Umut Sa like this.
  14. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk 音楽は人生だ

    Mar 11, 2013
    I'm not sure a handprint would be useful at all. In my case, I have fairly large hands and am cool with most nut widths. My preference though, is for a neck with a slim front-to-back profile. The size of my hand would tell a Luther luthier nothing about that.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2018
    Ekulati and Beej like this.
  15. Great sales gimmick at very least.
    TrustRod and Matthew_84 like this.
  16. Christine

    Christine Guest

    Aug 3, 2016
    The more I think about it the less plausible it sounds, it's like a Milliner asking for a photocopy of your face to make you a custom made hat
  17. Mustafa Umut Sa

    Mustafa Umut Sa

    Oct 20, 2007
    There is huge research on health of performing artists. They measure finger pressure from your nerves to measure wrist pressure. If you use a instrument for 40 years , excessive use can or can not create pain or worse.
    I think Performing Arts Medical Assoc. Dutch and Australian ones could try help. But let me wait for the answers.
  18. tsheldon


    Jun 20, 2005
    Western New York
    This is the most preposterous idea I’ve ever heard. Hand size doesn’t dictate anything about your preferred neck profile given we all play differently.
    TrustRod and jamro217 like this.
  19. Mustafa Umut Sa

    Mustafa Umut Sa

    Oct 20, 2007
    I think each fingers lenght and joints placement for each other can be meaningful. By the way hand wrist relation can be meaningful also. All play different because they are not coming from conservatory. They learn homemade and go from there. Nobody suggest anything and nobody listens you critically.

    %99 of these people reaches nowhere and collects bass guitars and amps and posters.

    %99 of basses sold at market are cnc cut. Its virtually impossible to find your bass guitar match your need if you even know what you need.

    I ordered a bass guitar from Symphony Orchestra Luthier and you must touch it. These people know something and I am looking for a source what they know. Luthier long gone and he was best .
    Christine likes this.
  20. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    I think the notion sounds interesting and plausible, but upon closer reflection, I think it breaks down a bit. To me anyway, the primary dimensions of the neck are mostly dictated by their functions and the specifications of the various bits, including number and size of strings, and the scale of the instrument.

    The ones I usually pay close attention to include 1. string spacing, 2. width of neck (closely connected to string width + spacing), 3. fretboard curvature/arch, 4. fret size (mostly height), and 5. the back of neck profile. When I build, those five factors are the primary drivers in what ends up being built. I also think the rollover profile on the side of the fretboard, and how the fret ends are treated need to be considered as well. In my experience, most players know what they want in those dimensions from their own experience playing, or talking to other musicians. I've discussed these parameters and given examples for them to try if they're not really sure, but people pretty quickly know what they want.

    Taking a person's hand dimensions to inform how I build the instrument and the specifications seems a bit risky. One does not know how the person grasps the instrument, moves their hand/arm, the feel they prefer, etc. All you'd have are hand dimensions and you'd have to extrapolate all of those factors listed above based on the hand dimensions. I suppose you could try to develop a methodology to make this work, but the variation in people's hand sizes, digit length, flexibility of cartilage, and many myriad other factors would be all but impossible for me to translate.

    I also can't imagine how a skill like that could be developed by someone, given all of the inherent variation, and player preference. So, my conclusion is: although it's possible I'm experiencing Dunning-Kruger effect here in my own capacity to imagine and evaluate that skill, I think it's probable that I'm not, and that the hand measurement technique is just promotional rhetoric... :D
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