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Wackiest Instrument Requests

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Stewmc5222, Jan 11, 2004.


  1. hello luthiers!

    as a bass player whose axes are kind of over the top, I was wondering what some of the more extreme and bizarre requests are that you've received from players. have you ever just had to turn something down outright as impractical or nearly impossible?

    from the curious lows,


    Stew
     
  2. Skips

    Skips

    Feb 19, 2003
    Don't know if it counts, but I asked Mikgag at JAF to make me a custom tapping instrument sort of like a Chapman stick...
    I got rejected.:bawl:
     
  3. hey Skips,

    it counts. sorry, man. :(

    from the lows,


    Stew
     
  4. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    I asked Kyley if he'd make me an electric upright version of the Bazantar. He said he wasn't really interested. ;) I got a cello for Festivus (kind of a beater, but still a cello), and have considered trying to rig it up with sympathetic strings, though, so the idea (slightly mutated) may happen after all.
     
  5. hey man,

    you seem to have a thing for the resonant strings. I am really eager to check out your music!

    from the lows,


    Stew
     
  6. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
    Well, at this point, I'm playing a 4, so there's not much possibility for droning strings (some, but not much). Suffice it to say that my music is very different from yours.

    I really like the sympathetic stuff going on with the bazantar and sitars. Ever since I heard a bowed sitar, I really wanted to do something like it - and I think a sitar/cello combination would make for a really cool sound. I think there would need to be a damper of some sort on the sympathetics, so you could just get the cello strings by themselves when you needed to. I wish I had some skill in building things, so I could do it myself.

    I've asked a few weird questions of these luthiers, most of which were totally shot down (as they should have been - looking back, I laugh at some of the stuff I thought up). Rubber frets, a confusing dulcimer-influenced bass design that would allow for regrouping of the strings into singles, pairs, or sets of 3, and a movable scale length come to mind. Actually, I don't know if I ever asked about that here. Not a bad idea, now that I (re-)think of it. The idea being that you could fan your scale out if you wanted to tune in fifths, for instance, but wanted to maintain the same tension. Would be tougher on fretted, but not impossible. I also asked about a convertible fretted/fretless, which I still think is a good idea.
     
  7. actually, there was a company back in the 80's called something like "Switchboard" that did that. you could interchange fretted, fretless, half-fretted, and 'continuous fret' boards in a matter of seconds. the problem was that when you switched them more than a few times, the edges of the neck became very sharp and players were slicing their fingers badly!

    from the lows,


    Stew
     
  8. Skips

    Skips

    Feb 19, 2003
    Steinberger also made basses with a knob you could twist that would retract the frets into the neck.
     
  9. Taylor Livingston

    Taylor Livingston Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    Louisiana, US
    Owner, Iron Ether Electronics
  10. kboyd

    kboyd

    Jul 6, 2002
    Loranger
    Had a guy ask for a doubleneck fretted 5 and fretless 5 made entirely of wenge and cocobolo.
    It would just be too too heavy, I would not even want to lug it around the shop between machines.
     
  11. hey Kyley,

    I owe you a phone call. sorry it wasn't this weekend, but things were far more chaotic than I imagined they would be!

    I have seen a double neck 5/5 around town, but I think it's alder or swamp ash. great sound on that thing, too!

    from the lows,


    Stew
     
  12. gyancey

    gyancey

    Mar 25, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Same here. I turned that project down for the same reasons. I don't won't to be liable for a ruptured disc!
     
  13. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    We made a Flying V type Bass for Stanley Clarke around 1981-1982. Stanley had requested a device to shoot Flames out of the bottom of the Bass for a stage effect.
    We hired a Pyro' Expert as a consultant and ended up not doing it. We were told even if we could pull it off, Stanley would need special permits from the fire company for each show he used the Bass on.
    Besides, the Bass itself might burn up as well!

    We completed the Bass with some beautiful inlay on the body which was requested as well. He used the Bass with the Clarke/Duke Project.
     
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Fire in the hole - that guy is smokin'!! He set the audience alight with his playing!! etc. etc. ;)
     
  15. Skips

    Skips

    Feb 19, 2003
    Martin Sims often puts headstock lasers in basses, so I asked him if it would be possible to install a hand cannon (little thing that shoot flash cotton/paper 10 feet) in instead. He declined the request, but did inlay "SKIPPII" in gold LEDs in my fingerboard. (and it ROCKS!)
     
  16. holy schlemoley! :eek:

    I think we have a winner!

    :D

    does he still have the bass, Ken?

    from the curious lows,


    Stew
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Stanley had a collection of about 100 Basses or so. He bought 4 Smith Basses between 1980 and 1988. The V was his 3rd Smith Bass.
    In the early to mid 1990s Stanley and his 1st wife Carolyn divorced. I knew them both very well. I have stayed as a guest in thier house after my first Calif. NAMM show in 1980 as well as countless other social visits when they were living in NY in the 70s.
    As part of a property settlemen, California law required Stanley to sell all but a couples of Basses for his professional work and split the money as if the Basses were actual cash assets. I believe the Smith'V' WAS among the collection that was sold.
    When Rory Bennett sent me Stanley's Second Smith bass for restoration just before Rory's death, I called Stanley to find out why Rory had this Bass.
    Stanley told me the entire story about the delayed property settlement which took years in the courts to resolve.
    Stanley told me he kept his favorite Smith Bass as the ONLY Electric Bass he could keep along with his favorite Upright German flatback Bass.
    This is life as such.........
     
  18. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    Ken, If I recall the GP issue from way back when with stan and the V bass I seem to remember a certain anatomically inspired carving between the V...

    Was Vinnie in on that project ?
     
  19. ouch! :eek: :(

    poor Stan! man, to lose your wife and almost 100 basses... that's just too much...

    :bawl:

    from the grim lows,


    Stew
     
  20. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    No, not so grim at all. He has been happily re-married to Sophie for several years now. I had dinner with them and the EBS crew at thier new home a few years ago in Santa Monica.