For some years I've had a passing relationship with a number of high-end acoustic guitar builders. Kevin Ryan, James Olson, David Iannone, Duane Noble, and Michael Millard, to name a few. I've owned and/or played a number of their acoustic guitars during my fingerstyle days. Since I've taken up building basses I've called on them a number of times seeking all manner of advice and instruction about how to approach various processes in building, from laying up a neck to finishing. I've always been amazed at the freedom with which they shared their secrets, not just with me, but with each other. One day I asked one of them about this relationship dynamic of unselfishly sharing so much hard earned information with each other. I was told that it was no big deal, they all share with each other, and its traditional among luthiers to be transparent and sharing about their methods. Essentially, their attitude is:there are no secrets. Since being on TB in the LC forum I have seen much evidence of this same spirit of sharing and cooperation between builders of all levels of accomplishment. I myself have made many efforts to share my own methods and processes (jigs, nitro-finishing, build threads, etc) in keeping with this spirit of sharing for the common good. I even emailed one of my oil finish recipes handed down from old Quaker woodworkers to Jordan, complete with details! It seemed that luthiery was one of the last places where one could find this (for the most part) uninhibited sharing of information. Until today. This morning I had the opportunity to ask a long held question to an established, profitable builder of high-end basses who had his start much like all of us. I asked if he would share with us here in the LC his basic approach (deep detail not needed, just the basic idea) on how he achieves a certain result in his work. Given my experience outlined above in working with acoustic luthiers, I never thought twice about asking. For the first time I can recall in luthiery, my request for information was sternly denied. I was completely surprised! Essentially, I was told: Sorry, its proprietary (which its not, other famous builders do it too). (Since I firmly believe that what goes around comes around, I'm not giving out more details as to give up the ID of this guy, so please don't ask.) So, up for discussion is this entire topic. I always believed that the spirit of luthiery transcended the greed and me first attitude of so much of the rest of the world. This morning, for the first time, my cherry on this subject was popped! James Olson himself has freely shared finishing methods with me, always giving me more than I asked for in the spirit of a commom pursuit! Is it not so with bass builders??? What does the community think? Are there secrets (even when they're really not)? For some reason my signature of choice today seems fitting!