What Bass builders or factorys have you seen or want to see

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by MAJOR METAL, Mar 15, 2004.


    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    I have been to Sadowsky in Brooklyn a few times, the guys really give you a good show around the shop. I had even seen a few basses that were beeing repaired or built for some of our Talk Bass Brethern. I would like to see the Hofner factory in Germany some time. So were have you all been to see?.
  2. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I've been to Carey Nordstrands place. Not only was it very cool to see a workshop like his, he was a super nice guy! Plus I really liked his basses I tried. Other than his, I wouldn't mind visiting Ken Smith and Fodera.
  3. mark beem

    mark beem Gold Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2001
    New Hope, Alabama
    As you might guess, I'd like to visit the Conklin shop!! :)
  4. hippiesandwich


    Aug 29, 2003
    San Jose
    Affiliated with Looperlative Audio Products
    I had the great pleasure of spending the better part of an afternoon with Phil Kubicki at his shop in Santa Barbara. I was dropping off an eBay ExFactor score for re-furbishing. Phil completely disassembled the bass before my eyes and explained all of it's unique features as he did it. Even more amazing was that he actually remembered my EXACT bass because as it turns out he said it was officially the first bass released from his Santa Barbara shop after he bought back his design from Fender. We checked out all basses he had in stock (including that killer flamed mahogany ExFactor a lucky TB'er just got), and then he gave me a tour of his entire shop, showing me all of his machines and what they did. It was truely a special day I will never forget! Thanks, Phil! :cool:
  5. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999
    I visited the Hofner factory in Haganeau Germany a couple of years ago.

    I'm going to be back in Germany on business in May and plan on making a return visit to Hofner.

    This is me leaving the factory after a long day of travel and touring the factory.


  6. Visited Sheldon Dingwall's factory in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Canada. Not exactly state of the art but he was rebuilding after a fire destroyed his previous shop. He was very friendly and down to earth and makes a high end world class bass at a very reasonable price (I am so glad that we have someone like this in Canada) and I am still kicking myself for selling my Dingwall Voodoo Z2 5-string. Maybe someday I will try and get him to make me a new one just like it except with an 18 volt preamp instead of the 9 volt.
  7. I've been to Greg Curbow's shop numerous times, mostly while he was building my Jazz bass. I got to watch him shape the neck, that was pretty cool. He's an interesting guy, no doubt about it!
  8. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    When I was Guitar Dept Manager at Sam Ash, I visited the Fender Factories in California & Mexico. Pretty cool stuff.

    I "visit" the Sadowsky shop every Mond-Wed. :)
  9. christle

    christle Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    My choices would be to visit Fender, Sadowsky, and Dingwall. I like the instruments that all three produce and I am fascinated by what they do and how they do it.

  10. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    I got to spend an afternoon at the Fodera shop with Joey, great person, amazing stuff to see. Beautiful work they do.

    Also, on the same trip visited Epifani (they're across the hall from the Fodera guys) and Aguilar. Very cool people, very interesting visits. Dave Boonschoft at Aguilar had me do the final inspection/checkout on a couple of GS112's and a DB750. :cool:

    List of where I want to go, in no particular order:

    F Bass

    ...I'm sure I'm leavin' someone out...
  11. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    The only manufacturer's digs that I've seen is the Kamaka Ukulele shop here in Honolulu, Hawaii. and that was in the mid-1970s.

    I'd like to tour the following someday... :bassist:

    F Bass

    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member

    Could you tell us a littel more about your visit their, that is a place i really want to go to since i have such an interest in Hofner Basses and Guitars.What was your impression on the craftsmanship of the instruments ?. Are the instruments availible for sale at the factory and how do they price in germany compared to the USA. Thanks
  13. Tim Barber

    Tim Barber Commercial User

    Apr 28, 2003
    Serenity Valley
    Owner: Barber Music
    I've been to D. Huff's shop many times - probably more than he would like ;). Others I would love to visit, if given the chance, would include:

    Ken Smith
    Girl Brand Guitars
    Wishnevsky (just to see how the heck they end up looking like that) :p
  14. Thornton Davis

    Thornton Davis Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 1999

    I was very impressed with all aspects of the factory. It is not a large building by North American standards. The main building has two floors, with all offices and showroom being located upstairs. The main shop is basically split into quarters. Wood working takes up 1/4 of the floor space. Finishing and drying take up another 1/4. Assembly & repairs another 1/4. Violin bow making 1/8th and storage and shipping the other 1/8th.
    This plant is located in the town of Haganeau. The original Hofner factory was located 8 km (5 miles) down the road in the town of Bubenreuth. Haganeau is approx 30 minutes by car north east of Nurenberg in the south of Germany.

    First off all wood is stored outside (in their covered compound) for 30 years before being brought inside to climatize for 6 mths in a special climatizing room. Only after the wood has been climatized does it move into the production room for cutting.
    Necks are cut on a special machine that cuts 7 or 8 at a time. They would not let me take any pictures of this unique piece of equipment. I will say that it looked like it had been made in the early 60's.

    It was facinating to see the front and backs of the body of the 500/1 being actually sculpted to create the rounded effect. Again special machinery is used to achieve this, but the operator maintains full control over the machine while it's cutting.

    The finishing booths (2) are quite small. All wood instruments have their finish applied here. Hofner installed environmental equipment when they moved into this newer building about 11 yrs ago. They are quite environmentally aware and take every step possible not to harm the environment.

    All assembly is done by hand. The setting of the necks and the mounting of the hardware has been performed by the same people for years. Just as the making of the necks, adding binding, frets and truss rods have been performed by the same individuals. Most of the employees have worked for Hofner for over 30 years. Their craftsmenship is amazing to say the least.

    On the other side at the front of the building is where violin bows are made. If I hadn't seen this for myself I wouldn't believe how a bow is made and strung with horse hair. To see this was worth the trip alone, and I am not into classical instruments!

    As for whether you can buy a instrument direct from the factory, the answer is no. They will only sell to licenced distributors. But you could take your Hofner instrument to them and have it repaired at the time. I don't know if this is still the case.

    As for prices in Germany for new Hofners, I can't help you with that one.

    One of the biggest concerns Hofner management has is the retirement of their current craftsmen and women, and how to replace them.

    During my visit, they were planning to start manufacturing the 500/2 Club bass and the 500/5 Stuart Stucliff bass, but they hadn't begun yet. I did see and play the prototype Vintage Relic Verythin guitar finished in antique violin satin. I also saw and played the Club 60 prototype guitar.

    All in all, it was a visit that I will never forget, and having a few pictures of the visit certainly helps.

    Now if only I could get a tour of the Rickenbacker factory.

  15. kobass

    kobass Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Outside Boston
    I've been to Mike Pedulla's shop. Mike is a great guy. You can tell he's proud of his work, and is genuinely concerned about customer satisfaction.
  16. JerseyFunk


    Jan 8, 2004
    I've been to Fodera and Epifani....very cool vibe in both shops. These guys are very passionate about their work. It's really cool to see them get excited when they talk to you about their work. I have an older Fodera and when I bring it up for a tune up every so often Vinnie just looks at it and smiles for a minute before the work begins...Kind of like he's lookin at one of his offspring....very cool :)


    MAJOR METAL HARVESTER OF SORROW Staff Member Supporting Member


    Thanks so much for a detailed account of your vist to the factory, i will have to get their one day.
  18. Rezdog

    Rezdog Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    T.Rez, Canada
    Greetings From The North,
    A couple of years ago I was in Detroit on a visit. And on a whim I decided to call the Reverend Factory and Joe Naylor answered the phone. I was kinda surprised cause I didn't expect to be speaking with the head honcho. We spoke for a few minutes and he invited me to the factory. I couldn't pass the invite up. It's on the edge of the city. When I arrived he gave me a tour of the facility and got to see production from start to finish. Great people and a great shop. Oh ya, at the end of it I got to play the very same Brad Houser 5 string that was featured in Bass Player Mag and I kick myself to this day for not having the coin to bring it home with me at the time. But since then I did purchase a Black&White Brad 5 from them. It's my main squeaze.
    Happy Times,
  19. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    Only place I've ever been is the Alembic shop. Great bunch op people and a lot of cool basses.

    I'd like to visit:
    Carey Nordstrand
    Joe Zon
    Rob Allen
  20. Cool! Thanks for the post. I've been a proud Reverend owner for 5 1/2 years. Joe has always been real cool about responding to e-mail, but I'd love to go check the place out sometime and meet him.