Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – Martin Moore…
How did you get your start in music? Are you still an active player?
Oh like anybody else…. Wanted to be a rock star. I still practice a bit but not currently with a band. I would like to be much more active although it can be hard to find the time and the players. Nobody ever wants to do original/experimental music. Doesn’t pay.
How did you get started as a Luthier? When did you build your first bass?
I’ve always had interest in building my own instruments. I started setting up my own basses to get them just the way I wanted and I’ve always had an eye for something different. We’re going back to the mid 90’s here, that is when I discovered Luthier’s Access Group and I discovered lesser known (at the time) builders such as Marleaux, Ritter basses and some others and I became infatuated with what these guys were doing. The only problem was that I would never be able to afford one of those basses. So I was in a music store one day playing a really nice bass and started looking closely at it and thought, “You know I could probably do this myself.” I built my first bass shortly there after; I believe that was in either 2005 or 2006.
How did you learn the art of woodworking/Luthier? Who would you consider a Mentor?
I don’t really think of myself as a Luthier; I build basses, it is my complete focus. Trial by error, I am self-taught… I guess is the way you would put it. Lots of books, articles, and research; there is a wealth of knowledge on the internet now. When I first started doing this there wasn’t much, but now there’s tons on info out there. Mentors, I would say Mike Tobias, he and I met and talked at Bass Player Live 2013 the first time I showed my basses. What a great guy he is and awesome Luthier, he definitely gave some words of advice. The people that have influenced me are Jens Ritter, who my first four-string basses were modeled on (no longer making that design out of respect for Jens) Carl Thompson, Marleaux, and of course Mike Tobias.
How do you select the woods you choose to build with?
I have a couple of companies that I use to source wood from. I try to find the craziest looking wood that I can get my hands on because that’s what really drew me in to doing this, the beauty of the wood. I have been using a lot of Walnut, Spalted and figured Maple much of it reclaimed. It’s great sounding and light weight. I look through crap loads of wood waiting for a piece that jumps out at me, that I can’t take my eyes off of, something I would build a bass for myself out of. That’s the wood I want. It’s a very selfish thing I do, I do it all for me and then hope other people like them enough to buy one.
How about pickups? What pickups did you use in the past? What electronics do you use right now?
Currently I am using Bartolini pickups and pre-amps exclusively. I love the sound I get from them, it’s a great product and Bartolini has been phenomenal with helping to support me and get the word out about the basses and how great they are.
How do you develop a signature or custom bass for an artist?
I don’t and I’m not sure if I will. If I did it would have to be someone who is as passionate about my basses as I am.
What are a few things that you are proud about your instruments and that you would consider unique in your instruments?
The uniqueness of the wood that I use, I love. The way the body and the neck meet is somewhat unique for a bolt on neck. Small bodied, extremely well balanced and lightweight. My basses are constantly evolving so much so that I make changes to the design as I’m building it sometimes. There’s a lot of improv in music, there is a lot of improv in my building… that is one of the things I love most. I don’t strive to make everything exactly the same every time. I try to make what I feel is right for the instrument that I am working on at the time, when it feels right it’s done.
Which one of the basses that you build is your favorite one?
I don’t think I’ve made it. The proto-type of the scroll bass that I made is the one that I play all the time. I am getting ready to remake that one for myself out of a special piece of wood that I have had stashed in my shop for a number of years now, I have a feeling that will be my favorite.
Can you give us a word of advice to young Luthiers who are just starting out?
Don’t be afraid, just dive in and do it. If it doesn’t work out…… make another one. Oh yeah don’t chop off any fingers.
What advice would you give a young musician trying to find his perfect bass?
There is no magic bass. There is however the proper fit, that’s what makes it feel like a magic bass. It’s the bass that you can’t put down, can’t stop playing… it’s looks and it’s price tag are irrelevant. It’s what I love about my little scroll bass, it just fits. Last word, the sound is in you.
What is biggest success for you and for your company?
That players like my basses. They are my basses, I created every one of them for me. It makes me feel really great that other people want them. Makes me feel like I’m doing something right.
Are you preparing something new, some new model or new design? Or maybe some new gear amps, etc.
All I can say right now is the 5-string basses on the web site (www.moore-basses.com) are a new design with a very different feel to the neck. The 4-string design is no longer being made – once there’re gone that’s it and they will be replaced with a new design.
And keep in mind folks…… I’m just getting started!
What are your future plans?
Keep building basses!
Is there anything else you would like to share that we have not included?
Please, please support your local musicians and artist they make the world a better place and deserve to be paid for what they create. Go out listen to some original music, you never know what you might find and you might even have some fun! Thanks for listening.