Last January (2014), I left Detroit and drove across the state to Muskegon to talk to Dan S. about making me a bass. Dan is a damned fine luthier who makes damned fine members of the violin family. He is a damned fine fiddler himself. I specified a gamben-form bass with a 41-inch scale length. He showed me some pics of a gamben-form he wanted to use a model and I approved. I told him I wanted a bass with medieval themes. We talked over what was possible and then Dan said he would send me pics periodically so I could see how it was coming. Just today, January 3, 2015, I drove back to Muskegon (damned horrible, frighteningly treacherous road conditions most of the way) to get my bass. I didn't care how bad the roads were--nothing was going to stop me. Muskegon itself was worst of all because it poured down snow non-stop--probably lake effect which is notorious in Michigan--which made your car non-stop. I slid helplessly passed several turns and saw cars spun out all over the place. I was waiting for someone to cream me with my bass in tow or to slide off the road and crash into a ditch but fortunately I made it back to Detroit unscathed. God only knows how because I sure don't. So, from start to finish: This is Dan's shop in Muskegon. He lives and works in a small little half-apartment, half-studio (wood stove heated) that resembles something out of the 17th century. It's at the end of a long wooded road and has no signs. His clients are all strictly word of mouth. While I was at his shop, Dan showed me these long, thin strips of maple and asked if I would like to use that wood for the ribs. It beautiful wood with unusual grain so i said yes. The belly is made of European spruce. Purfling added. Carving out the inside. F-holes carved. Body assembled. Dan asked what I wanted for a scroll. I told him is standard scroll. But when I got back to Detroit, I suddenly got this idea of a knight's helmet. I emailed him and he said he could do it. He sent me this photo asking if he should add a grille to the visor. I said yes, "how else is he going to shout orders to his men??" Grille added. Neck attached to body, fingerboard attached to neck. Purfling added to back plate. Okay. In the next post, we'll see the finished product.