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Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – Xavier Lorita

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Luthier – Xavier Lorita-8

Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – Xavier Lorita…

How did you get your start in music?

I started to play the classic guitar at the age of 13 when I was at the school. My cousin who at that time played the electric guitar, taught me to play with an old classical guitar. It was a very fun time because everything I learned from music was completely self-taught and thus each chord or melody I learned was an exciting experience for me.

Are you still an active player?

Unfortunately no longer. I was active years ago when I started experimenting with repairing instruments but being focused 100% to building electric basses I set aside my role as musician. I cross the line between musician and Luthier because it was more exciting to build my own bass guitar.

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

I started thanks to my cousin Michael. A few years after starting to play classical guitar with him we realized it was better for playing songs together that I play the bass. Shortly my cousin, frustrated for not finding a good guitar or bass, decided to build it for himself and I helped him in the project. It was 1992 and I was 16 years old and was so thrilled by a completely unknown thing.

With my cousin and little information we completed a fretless 5-string electric bass made entirely of Beachwood. It sounded very well and that encouraged me to modify my first bass guitar, a copy of a Tune bass, very fashionable at that time.

After about 3 years of testing with that Tune bass, in 1995 I decided to buy some tools and start my first 4-string Alembic bass, because Mark King was my idol in those years. I was obsessed with playing and having the same bass like Mark, and so I started to work with a piece of paper and a pencil drawing and eventually built my first handmade bass in my parents’ house.

Every evening after leaving the high school I came home and I started working on my bass. But just before finishing the project I saw that I needed help from a professional to cut the pickup cavities… that is when I met Jerzy Drozd.

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

My cousin Michael and Jerzy Drozd both are Mentors for me. The first awakened in me the passion to build basses and the second gave the professional touch.

In 1998 I went to Jerzy’s workshop and he helped me with routing pickup cavities for my first bass. After seeing my first project I returned home thinking that someday I could build basses as beautiful as Jerzy’s basses. My surprise was that a year after Jerzy phoned me and offered a job as an apprentice due to a vacancy. It was 1999 and I can say that there began my career as a professional Luthier. From 1999 to 2012 I worked at Jerzy Drozd starting as an apprentice and becoming a professional Luthier in all aspects.

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

We only select the best wood available from our suppliers. Although we usually work with wood from different sources and European woods such as alder, sycamore, walnut or olive, they are very present in our instruments. For each customer we select the most suitable woods according to sound, tone and weight, without sacrificing aesthetics. So every bass is unique and special and we prefer not to have a large wood stock in our workshop. Just what we need to work at that time.

Wood selection is an art but responds to different criteria: moisture, hardness, figure and density. We seek the most stable dry pieces for necks and if is possible we look for quarter-sawn cuts, but with our 3 piece necks this is not essential. For the bodies we seek a good figure and especially low weight and good tonal qualities. And for tops everything is possible.

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

In the past I worked with Bartolini pickups and EMG but with the experience with Jerzy I decided to apply my knowledge to improve some designs that I had in mind. That is why I now use my own split-coil hum-cancelling pickups with wooden covers.

Luthier – Xavier Lorita-6The whole process from winding the coils to make the covers and final assembly is done in the workshop. This allows us to control the quality of the whole process step by step. For our economical models we work together with Delano pickups and also with Aguilar amplification under request.

For electronics we work with Glockenklang 2 and 3 band preamps. They sound amazing with our custom split-coil pickups.

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

Marcos Miranda, Miki Santamaria, Andres Rotmistrovsky, Fernando Lamadrid, Juan Antonio Guerra and Carlos Sanchez are some of our endorsers. All of them well-known bass players in Spain and Europe. Carlos and Andres are our most international artists.

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

The most important thing is to investigate what kind of instruments the customers have and what kind of music they play. Listening to the customer is the key because it gives us some clues about that sound our customers are looking for.

This is not about making a copy of an instrument that the customer already has. It’s just about getting a little references to start with the overall design and the mixes of woods and electronics. Although often the customer is looking for something completely different and in this case we simply listen to what they have in mind. All that process is the same whether it is a new design for an artist or a model for a customer. In our company we make no difference because for us, all people are equally important.

After gathering all the information, we do the design on the computer and after the approval of the client, we start cutting templates that help us to cut the instrument itself. Not using CNC machines means that we have a lot of templates due to all the modifications requested by our customers.

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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 very happy overall with the design and ergonomics. This is key for me because on my previous stage with Jerzy the design and attention to small details were very important and I know that’s the way to success. There are still many things to improve every day to make the perfect bass guitar, and this forces us to use the best wood and hardware to get that dream sound for our customers.

I think the sound and tone is what differentiates our instruments as well as a certain “style” or ” aesthetics” in small details, such as wooden bridges and tail pieces or pickups wooden covers or headstock. These details create a different look. But above all a direct and friendly relationship with all of our customers; we don’t have customers, we have a family.

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

My favorite bass is Andres Rotmistrovsky’s bass. This was an amazing challenge to build a hollow-body bass for him because this was my first hollow body bass design after leaving Jerzy’s workshop. With these kind of basses you never know how things are going to finish. Too many options to be considered and the result is not always good enough.

But in this case all the long working nights were worth it because Andres is delighted with his instrument.

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

What I would say to young Luthiers is: put all the passion in what you do because without passion nothing is possible. A lot of work, passion, effort and sacrifice are necessary and at the end it is all worth it and takes you to success if you work well.

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

My advice is, don’t look for the perfect bass because it doesn’t exist. There is a bass that best suits your sound and comfort needs, but people always try to find a bass that fits all styles in one and that doesn’t exist. So, do not waste much energy on finding the perfect bass. With time and experience they will see that it is necessary to have two or three different instruments in sound and design to get all that they want.

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What is biggest success for you and for your company?

The greatest success for me is to wake up every morning and work in what I love freely. The fact of being close to the people and capture their concerns, their desires and dreams and turning them into an instrument and at the end of the process see the happiness in her faces is a full success for me… as simple as that.

Are you preparing something new, some new model or new design? Or maybe some new gear amps, etc. 

We’re always working in something new or thinking in how to improve the current models. Now we have some special projects in mind such as a new bolt-on singlecut model and a new Baby bass for 2017. And of course a second hollow-body bass for Andres Rotmistrovsky.

What are your future plans? 

We’re working with our endorsers, especially with Marcos Miranda, to offer a future Bass camp in the near future that mixes nature, music clinics and bass guitar building construction clinics.

Visit Online:

www.facebook.com/loritabasses

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Bassist Ciara Moser…

Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

Visit online:

www.ciara-moser.com 
IG @ moserciara
FB @ ciara.moser

Photos by Manuela Haeussler

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Gear News

New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

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New Gear: Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar

Black Ice Boost and Distort, Battery-Free Modules for Bass and Guitar…

Black Ice Enterprises introduces Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort, small, battery-free devices that can be easily installed in a bass or guitar.

Black Ice Boost offers two selectable stages of up to 7 dB of boost, broadly concentrated in the midrange frequencies to add humbucker-like qualities to Strat®, Tele® and other types of single-coil pickups. Black Ice Distort is an overdrive module that can be configured to offer anything from slight overdrive to distortion. Both models are compatible with all passive guitar pickups and electronics (they’re not compatible with battery-powered active pickups).

Black Ice Boost (SRP: $119.95; MAP, $79.95) can be installed using several wiring options, including a simple “stealth” install that utilizes a single push-pull pot, and a dual-switch option that allows users to select between two different levels of boost. For those using the boost along with Black Ice Distort, a second push-pull pot or switch can be used to select a clean or distorted boost.

The Black Ice Boost module is approximately 2/3 the size of a 9-volt battery, and can be easily installed in most instruments with no routing or permanent modifications required. The tone of the instrument remains completely unaffected when the boost is bypassed.

In addition to use with popular single-coil pickups, Black Ice Boost can also be used with other pickup types. Use it to fatten up a P-90 style pickup, or add girth to a low-wind humbucker. Jazz Bass® players can use the additional midrange content provided by Black Ice Boost to produce a sound that’s reminiscent of a P-Bass® or soapbar-type pickup. Black Ice Boost is not recommended for use with high-output humbuckers and other dark-sounding pickups.

Black Ice Distort (SRP: $27.95; MAP, $21.95) is an overdrive module that can be configured for just a touch of grit, or a more aggressive grind, all the way to a 1960’s-flavored fuzz. While its battery-free circuit will never replace the more refined sound of a well-designed pedal, it provides handy, there-when-you-need-it access to a variety of fun old-school flavors, and is a great way to add additional textures to an already overdriven amp or pedal. Bass players will especially dig its raw dirty grind.

Like Black Ice Boost, the sugar-cube-sized Black Ice Distort provides a lifetime of tone with no maintenance or power source required. A variety of wiring options are included that let you activate the Distort via a switch or push-pull pot, or by easily converting your guitar’s tone control into a control for the Black Ice Distort circuit. It can be used in conjunction with the Black Ice Boost for a wide variety of useful tones.

Black Ice Boost and Black Ice Distort are now shipping.

Visit online at www.blackiceoverdrive.com

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

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TOP 10 Basses of the week

Check out our top 10 favorite basses on Instagram this week…

Click to follow Bass Musician on Instagram @bassmusicianmag

FEATURED @loritabassworks @meridian_guitars @alpherinstruments @phdbassguitars @mgbassguitars @mauriziouberbasses @utreraguitars @sugi_guitars @branco_luthier @blasiusguitars

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Gear News

New Gear:  D’Addario’s New Humidipak

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New Gear:  D’Addario’s New Humidipak

D’Addario’s New Humidipak Absorb Protects Instruments Against Excess Moisture…

Utilizing two-way humidity control technology, D’Addario’s new Humidipak Absorb protects against damage to wooden instruments in environments with too much humidity. 

Humidipak Absorb allows players to safely return an instrument and case to the ideal relative humidity level. Using Boveda’s patented two-way humidity control technology, Absorb automatically soaks up excess moisture at a safe rate, re-establishing the right humidity level and eliminating the guesswork of revitalizing your instrument. 

Like all the Humidipaks before, using Humidipak Absorb is easy—there’s no dripping sponges or manual adjustments. All players need to do is put the humidification packets in the included pouches and place them in the instrument case, close the lid, and relax. The instrument and case will remain at the optimal 45-50% relative humidity level for 2-6 months. 

D’Addario’s other Humidipaks, Restore and Maintain, are still available for those who need to increase and sustain the humidity around their instrument. 

To learn more about Humidipak Absorb, visit ddar.io/absorb-pr 

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Travis Book

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Interview With Bassist Travis Book

Interview With Bassist Travis Book…

Bluegrass music has had a very solid following over many years and I am always happy to hear from one of the pioneers in that genre.

Travis Book plays bass for the Grammy award-winning band “The Infamous Stringdusters” and has recently released his first solo album “Love and Other Strange Emotions”. As if he wasn’t busy enough, Travis also hosts a podcast, Plays a Jerry Garcia music show with Guitarist Andy Falco, and is constantly gigging locally in his neck of the woods.

Photo, Seyl Park

Visit Online:

www.thetravisbook.com
www.thestringdusters.com
FB @ TheTravisBook
IG @ travisbook

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