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Excellent Luthier Experience plus NBD (Skjold Design Guitars) Extreme Koa Content

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by lowendmafia, Jan 14, 2018.

  1. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Sacramento, California
    Let me Preface this by saying that I was not influenced in any way to write this review, I received no discount on my bass, wasn't pushed to the front of the line nor was I promised anything in the future. I am no longer a professional musician that is an "endorsee." I am simply so overwhelmed and impressed with the experience I felt like I should share it with you guys.

    Short Story, I ordered a bass from Pete Skjold, its beyond anything I could have ever imagined and the customer experience was fantastic. I can't recommend Pete and his work enough.

    The FULL version.

    Once upon a time, I lived in Hawaii and I fell in love with Koa wood, specifically Koa Ukuleles. I always really wanted a really beautiful Hawaiian Uke, but the cost was far too high for an instrument I don't really play. Several years ago, I traveled back to the Islands and my wife and I went to Kanile'a Ukulele and the owner showed us some of the wood they had. This wasn't the regular orange Koa we see today, this was dark, almost brown with black lines. this was allegedly harvested in the 60s or 70s and someone held on to it for years before selling. The bottom line was, getting Koa like that today was "impossible" according to the folks there.

    As you can imagine, these were very expensive instruments, so I though I would try to get a bass made that was inspired by these instruments (as I can actually play the bass). I searched high and low for a great piece of Koa, and, to my dismay, learned that finding a really highly figured, old piece of Koa that was big enough for a bass top was impossible. I settled for something that was very nice and had a luthier build the bass for me. This bass was an absolute disappointment. So many things went wrong with the build and I was not happy. I sorta gave up on the idea and just kept playing what I had.

    Fast forward to about 2 years ago. My wife and I took a trip to Europe, including the U.K. While in the U.K, I stopped by an amazing bass shop called "The Bass Gallery." I played a bunch of boutique basses, and then I saw a Skjold 4 string Slayer. I played it and it was a revelation. It was by far my favorite bass in the store, probably my favorite 4 string I had ever played. Much to my wife's chagrin, I ended up buying the bass and bringing it back to the US. I still have this bass and its still fantastic. I have told many people that "its the best bass on the planet," and to me it was.

    After purchasing the bass, I started talking to Pete over FB, probably asking him enough questions to be a pest, but he was always willing to tell me about that bass and his basses in general. Through our communications I decided to "see" about getting a 5 string from him. I almost pulled the trigger on one of his in stock basses, but opted to work towards a custom instead. I figured if I was going to spend the money, I might as well get what I really want.

    Pete started sending me top pictures starting with some nice Koa, followed by some really nice Koa followed by a message saying he shouldn't even show me his best Koa. Of course I had to see it. He was correct, this was the exact type of wood I had been searching for. So, years after being disappointed by the first attempt at building this bass, I decided to try again with Pete (another guy I had never met, and still had very limited knowledge of).

    I told him about my earlier issues and he assured me he would build me the best bass possible. I left a lot of the specs up to him as I find it is often the best move to let the artist decide as he knows what works far better than me. Ultimately we agreed on these specs.

    5 String Drakkar Body style with matching headstock, Playing ramp and knobs
    1 piece, Quartersawn Maple Neck with Katalox fretboard
    33" Scale, strung E-C
    Skjold Custom Dual Coils
    East SPM3 Preamp with passive tone

    I sent my deposit and Pete got to work. I was in for a wait, but it was ok as I was busy with other life circumstances.

    A little later, a friend of mine called me and said he had 2 newer Skjolds available for Purchase and wanted to know if I was interested. At first I bought one, then later purchased the other as well. these basses were unreal and I still have one of them, the other didn't work out as it was a 6 string and that's not really my wheelhouse. Now, the wait didn't seem so bad as I had some Skjolds to play while I was waiting.

    Pete was great during the process, he sent me regular updates, asked me questions about what I wanted tonally, etc. He seemed extremely passionate and excited about this bass and that made me feel very comfortable. I tried my best to leave him alone, but every once in a while I would ask him some (probably stupid) question and he always responded in a reasonable amount of time (something I had issues with in the past).

    Pete continued to send me updates with an ever-growing excitement about the bass. I really felt as if he was as invested in this process as I was which really meant a lot. His attention to detail was absolutely superb. For example, because the bass has a matching playing ramp to the top wood, he selected a highly figured piece of the top billet and bookmatched it so the ramp looks like a jewel box on top of the rest of the top, not just some piece from another spot in the wood. He also text me and asked how I felt about doing something different with the hardware. He wanted to do a combo of black and gold (gold hardware is not my favorite). He assured me that it would look amazing on the bass so I agreed and told him I trusted his vision. Guess what? He was right... Additionally, he used a gold logo for the headstock that really takes the whole appearance of the headstock up another level.

    We spoke several times over the last few weeks and finalized some things prior to him shipping it out and on Friday the bass came. I could hardly contain my excitement. Of course, life issues got in the way so I picked the bass up but didn't have time to unpack it. I was at another obligation and got a text from Pete asking me what I thought as he had seen that the bass had been delivered. I didn't respond and he said "you must be playing it." That's not a huge deal, but it goes to show just how invested he was in this process and wanted nothing more than for me to love the bass.

    Ok, here is what everyone wants to know... how is the bass? Well, its perfect. Pete absolutely built me the bass I dreamed up so many years ago without even meeting me a single time. Hes never heard me play, he went 100% from what I described to him in my head. If that's not a gift, I am not sure what constitutes. I am so over-the-moon with my new Drakkar I can't even put it into words. I have been playing it so much that I actually fell asleep with it twice (a fact that my wife will probably never let me forget). I pulled the bass directly out of the box, tuned it and didn't touch a single thing and it was absolutely perfect. Even after making the trip from Ohio to California.

    I have owned a ton of boutique and expensive basses over the last several years and every single one lacked something. I can say this bass lacks nothing. Its playability and tone are on par with its beautiful experience. It is truly everything I wanted it to be. Remember when I said I thought my 4 string Skjold was the best bass on the planet? Well, this bass just knocked it down a rung. I don't know all Pete's tricks and secrets, probably best that I don't, but the dude is creating magic in Ohio. I could literally never give this guy a strong enough endorsement for whatever my opinion might be worth.

    If you ever have any questions about Pete or his basses, please feel free to ask me and I will do my best to answer based on my experiences. I currently own 4 Skjold basses.

    On to Some Eye candy.
    11258E2C-42BA-4594-A6DE-0DB27E4BE30F.jpeg F57B4AEA-E2CF-4AEB-B341-C9E1AF06C086.jpeg A69DFAC6-E16A-428D-82B7-FF635A8B990D.jpeg
  2. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Sacramento, California
    Family Photo for good measure
  3. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    Beautiful collection.

    I've always wondered about those wide pickups. Is that just a covering for multiple pickups?
  4. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Sacramento, California
    Thanks man, it’s actually just 2 dual coils inside the wood ramp. It’s just like having wood covers and a ramp in between, but it’s one solid piece and radiused to the board.

    BassBuzzRS and tfer like this.
  5. Herrick


    Jul 21, 2010
    Munchkin Land
    That's cool.
  6. gwangi

    gwangi Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2009
    Forbidden Valley

    A couple of questions, beautiful bass by the way, serious workmanship, anyways do you know if Pete is still doing 3-piece maple necks and lastly what did Pete ship your bass in, he use to or was going to use Reunion Blues Aero bass cases so I was curious if that is what he is using or did he ship your instrument in something else?
  7. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Sacramento, California
    Thanks man, as far as I know he will do laminate necks so I’d imagine you could eat a 3 piece (that’s what my 4 has). The bass came in a really nice Access bag, kinda like the reuninion blues that my other Drakkar came in. Very nice bag/case.

  8. Congrats. Simply stunning, Pete is on my short want list. Enjoy!
    lowendmafia likes this.
  9. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    That is a beautiful instrument. Congrats.
    lowendmafia likes this.
  10. drool Nicest koa top ever! Hang on to that one. Can you make a video or some sound clips?
  11. Bassworship1

    Bassworship1 Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2013
    That is the nicest Koa top I've ever seen.
    lowendmafia likes this.
  12. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Sacramento, California
    I tried to make a video the other night, but I couldn't get the volume loud enough and my daughter was sleeping. I will work on it though.

  13. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Sacramento, California
    Move him to the top of your list... :bassist:

  14. Garret Graves

    Garret Graves website- ggbassplayer.com Gold Supporting Member

    May 20, 2010
    Arcadia, Ca
    FA9E6A50-CAE7-4F43-8F34-2B73F3FFF4DC.jpeg That Koa made for one gorgeous bass! I love my Skjold, my other basses get very little play time anymore. It seems you will bring that bass to the NAMM bass bash? I will bring mine too- want to get a pic with Pete and me and my bass.
  15. Interesting koa there, looks a lot like walnut or even monkey pod wood.
  16. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Sacramento, California
    Did you read the post? I explain the difference between this Koa and the Koa you see today.

  17. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Sacramento, California
    Sweet man, I will see you there!

    Garret Graves likes this.
  18. I fail to see what you feel insulted by. I didn’t say it was crap or that it was a different wood, just that it was very similar to some other species I’ve seen. If your goal was to have something unique in the universe that nothing else has ever looked like it, that is an impossible task with wood.
  19. lowendmafia

    lowendmafia Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2007
    Sacramento, California
    You inferred my tone there. Not insulted at all, sorry for the confusion.

  20. Fat Freddy

    Fat Freddy Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2016
    Albany NY
    Does it glow with a golden aura at night?......

    Thought not......:D

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