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need help with the woods for a custom

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by SummerSoft, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. SummerSoft


    Jun 17, 2005

    I'm trying to put together my new band. And these are the musicians I've found so far:

    2 percussionists - mostly influenced by Afro-Cuban music and Funk (they also sing backvocals)

    drumms - he's been influenced by everything from Reggae, Hip-Hop and Funk to guys like Poogie Bell and some jazz drummers

    keyboards - mostly influenced by Herbie, Stevie Wonder and Prince

    guitar - ifluenced by John Lee Hooker (doesn't play many notes)

    vocal - female vocal influenced by Erykah Badu, Ledisi, Jill Scott, Prince... and some jazz singers like Carmen McRae, Ella...

    bass - that's me :bassist: I'm mostly influenced by Funk, Soul, R&B, Aston Barrett's Reaggae, and some phenomena like Ray Brown and perhaps Christian McBride. In fact, you can see it in my profile.

    So, I'm thinking of getting a new custom made bass that would be made specialy for playing in this band. I've been thinking a lot about the woods that the bass should be made from, and these are my thinkings:

    body: korina or swamp ash or spanish cedar
    body top: myrtle burl or maple or spruce
    neck: 3 piece maple/wenge
    fingerboard: ebony or wenge or maple

    What do you think, which one of those combinations would fit my new band best? :help:
    Do you have ideas of who would be the best luthier to build such a bass?

    Thanks for all inputs to this loooong thread

    P.S. I've been trying to get all these musicians together for more than a year, and I'm putting all my energy, ideas and hopes in this band.
  2. Juneau


    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Well going for a funky sort of sound, Id say Swamp Ash or Korina for body, Korina will probably have more mids if Im not mistaken. Top wont contribute enough to really worry about, pick what you want. And fingerboard Id go with the wenge personally.

    I dont know what your price range is, but you might talk to Pete Skjold. He has a pretty short build time (about 3-5 months), is very reasonably priced, and just happens to be a good friend of mine as well :)

    You can find his stuff by searching here for my posts lol, or his website has some out of date stuff up at www.skjolddesign.com
  3. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I would say that one of the important first steps is picking a luthier and deciding on what type of bass you are going to have built. For example, even using identical woods, I would expect a Sadowsky and a Skjold to sound very different. In fact, I have a mahogany bodied Sadowsky and a mahogany bodied Skjold, and they sound extremely different (ebony fingerboad on the Sadowsky, bubinga on the Skjold - but the Skjold is the brighter of the two!).

    Once you have this ironed out, not only will your luthier be able to provide you with tremendous insight, but you will have a better idea, yourself, what tonal impact the various woods will make.

    Fortunately, we live in a time where we have a lot of excellent options for creating a custom instrument. I second Juneau's recommendation of Pete Skjold. I just can't speak highly enough of he and his basses. I'm also a big fan of Sadowsky and MTD, and you can never go wrong with either of them.

    Hope this helps, Tom.
  4. SummerSoft


    Jun 17, 2005
    So what luthiers would you suggest? And I don't mean just great luthiers, but the ones that could make the bass to perfectly fit my needs regarding the sound. And if possible, European.
    Thanks again for all inputs
  5. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Well, you haven't really told us what particular sound you are after. From your musical influences, it seems like you are covering a fairly broad range, so I would think that you'd want a unit that is tonally flexible. Unless, of course, you have a personal tonal preference that would override the desire/need for such flexibility.

    The luthier whom I am the most acquainted with, and the one whom I believe makes the most tonally versatile instrument is Pete Skjold, but he is located in the United States (Dallas, Texas area). I have not played many instruments from European luthiers (other than the larger companies, like Warwick), but I did play a Celinder jazz bass that I thought was very good (on a level with Sadowsky, in my book). Two other luthiers, though, who seem very promising to me would be Jerzy Drodz and J P Plume. Perhaps others can expound on the various European luthiers...

  6. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    JP makes some nice basses
  7. SummerSoft


    Jun 17, 2005
    I haven't described the paticular sound I'm after because English is not my native language and I was afraid that I could lead you in the wrong way.
    I'll have to let you imagine the sound that would fit the band's style after the desription above.
  8. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    Fremont, Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    I understand.
  9. pointbass

    pointbass Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    Another builder in the US is Matt Schmill @ FBB. Matt is deeply involved in wood selection and is somewhat reasonably priced. He would be well worth your consideration, especially with the music styles you have listed which would all benefit from earthy wood selection.

  10. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    If you want something pure custom, I'd do what everyone else is suggesting and pick your luthier first. Then you can iron out other details with the luthier who is probably going to be able to give you a better idea of what to use than if you have already decided woods, etc. Like Tom said, same woods, different builders can lead to different sounds.