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Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – Rick Link, Beardly Customs

Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – Rick Link, Beardly Customs

How did you get your start in music?

I started by learning the trombone when I was in 5th grade. I took up bass in 1993 after listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers album Blood Sugar Sex Magic for an entire summer.

Are you still an active player?

Yes I am. I play in a band called Dirty Confession and a band called In The Company Of Heroes.

How did you get started as a Luthier? When did you build your first bass?

I’ve always wanted my own custom bass, but never had the money for it, so I decided to build my own. My very first bass was a neck through fretless six string. I started working on that on December 28th, 2010, which happened to be my birthday.

Portrait of a Craftsman from Daniel Montgomery on Vimeo.

How did you learn the art of woodworking/Luthier? Who would you consider a Mentor?

I am self taught, but I utilized the internet as a teacher. Talkbass.com has a luthiers forum that is a wealth of knowledge and is always available. I’ve networked myself pretty well during my time and have quite a few luthiers who I consider good friends and are always up to helping out.

How do you select the woods you choose to build with?

I go by what my clients want to use in their builds. Sometimes the woods decision is left to me and I just try to think of something I either have yet to work with or I think just look great.

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How about pickups? What pickups did you use in the past? What electronics do you use right now?

This, and pretty much every option I offer, is up to the client. I don’t have a standard pickup or preamp, but I have used EMG, Bartolini, Aguilar, Nordstrand, Seymour Duncan, Instrumental Pickups, etc.

Who were some of the first well-known musicians who started playing your basses?

Evan Brewer (Entheos, Former Faceless, Solo), Sean Martinez (Decapitated, Solo), Andrew Grevey (Wretched)

How do you develop a signature or custom bass for an artist?

I listen to everything my client has to say. It’s their instrument and I want it to be a perfect extension of themselves. My options are wide open as well as my mind when it comes to building.

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What are a few things that you are proud about your instruments and that you would consider unique in your instruments?

I’m proud of the fact I can do what I do. This is a great skill and not an easy one to master. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel with each of my builds. Leo Fender set the standards years ago and they still hold true today. All that I am doing is putting my personal spin on the basses I build.

Which one of the basses that you build is your favorite one?

Every one! I suffer from, “I really don’t want to ship this out because it’s such a great instrument” with every build.

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Can you give us a word of advice to young Luthiers who are just starting out?

Open your mind and network yourself. Make friends, both in real life and online. Finding luthiers on Facebook is a great resource. Don’t set any boundaries and keep your mind open.

What advice would you give a young musician trying to find his perfect bass?

I would say just demo as many different models as you can to see what fits you the best.

What is biggest success for you and for your company?

I recently built, and donated, a bass for Victor Wooten’s Bass Camp. I made zero dollars on the bass, but I was paid with an amazing experience and memories. Just knowing I had a great opportunity to give back was terrific.

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What are your future plans?

Just keep on building and to keep learning. It’s been a fun ride so far.

Visit online:
www.beardlycustoms.com
www.facebook.com/beardlycustoms
Instagram @beardlycustoms

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