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Luthier Spotlight

Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – Steve McDonald Basses at the 2016 Guitar and Bass Show




Luthier Spotlight: Garry Beers, GGB Basses



Luthier Spotlight - Garry Beers, GGB Basses

Meet Garry Beers, Luthier and owner of GGB Basses…

Bass Musician Magazine: How did you get your start in music?

Garry Beers: I played acoustic guitar as a kid with my mates at school. We decided that one of us should play bass, so we had a contest where the one who knew the least guitar chords would buy a bass – so I lost the contest, bought my first bass, and became the only bass player in the neighborhood. Soon after, I met Andrew Farriss, who had heard that I had a bass, and a few days later, I was jamming with Andrew and Jon Farriss.

Are you still an active player?

Yes, I am still actively writing music and playing bass sessions. I also have an LA-based original band called Ashenmoon.

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

I did woodwork in High School and always enjoyed making all sorts of things out of wood.

After finishing high school, I took a course in electronics for a year or so and learned enough to understand basic circuits in guitars, amplifiers, and effects. The best way to learn is to deconstruct and study, so my dad’s garage was littered with old junked radios and any instrument parts I could find. 

My first guitars were more like Frankenstein-type creations made out of parts I found here and there. I didn’t really try to build a bass from scratch until I perfected my Quad pickup design and got my patent.

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

I only use woods that were used at Fender in the 50s, which are my favorite basses and guitars of all time. All my GGB basses are modeled in some way from my INXS bass- a 1958 Fender Precision bass I bought in 1985 in Chicago. I call her “Old Faithful,” and she has an Alder wood body with a maple neck. All of my GGB basses are select Alder wood bodies that I have had extra dried, so they match the resonance of “Old Faithful,” as she has had 66 years to lose all her moisture and become more resonant and alive-sounding. I use plain old Maple necks that I carefully select, and again, I dry the necks to make them sing a little more.

Tell us about your pickups.

I started working on my Quad coil design back in Australia in the ‘90s and then put it to bed, so to speak, until I found an old pickup winding machine at a swap meet here in LA. I taught myself enough about pickup winding to build my first prototype design and worked towards my patented Quad coil design by trial and error. Nordstrand Audio builds the pickups for me here in SOCAL.

What is the reaction of players who pick up your basses?

I build the basses to feel like an old friend. They look and feel vintage, and when you plug them in, you discover the array of vintage sounds available to you from just one pickup. Most of the players I have contact with are established professional players, and they all love the basses. Freddie Washington and Nick Seymour from Crowded House are a couple of players with GGB Basses in their hands.

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

I would say I am most proud of the patented Quad pickup design. I own the patent from 4 through to 10-string. So far, I have only built 4 and 5-string pickups, but the design is a winner. Split Humbucker / Reverse Split Humbucker / Full Humbucker / Single coil Neck / Single coil bridge. All these sounds come from one passive pickup. I am very proud that my perseverance and desire to have this pickup have made it a reality. Being able to have these sounds in one bass enables the player to have one bass in the studio and on the stage. The only place you can have the GGB Quad pickup is in one of my GGB Basses.

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

I offer three body shapes and about ten different color options – all based on the ‘50s and early ‘60s custom guitar and car paint styles. I have always been a lover of P basses, but my favorite bass I build is now my XS-1 model- which is a custom Jazz bass body style. It is pretty sexy and is a light, well-balanced, and great-feeling body shape. The other body styles are the XS-2, which is a custom Jazzmaster body and has been the most popular so far- and the XS-3, which is the standard P bass body style. I also offer an XS-58, which is a replica of my “Old Faithful” ‘58 P bass. They are currently available to order now and should be available soon.

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

I don’t really consider myself a Luthier in the traditional sense. I just love to build things and tinker. I was always looking to improve things, whether it was a guitar, an amp, a pedal board, or a car. So my advice is to always be curious and learn the basics of what you want to build, and the rest should follow once you decide what you want to say as a designer/builder. People are lucky these days that you can learn pretty much anything from talented people on the internet, but nothing replaces working with and learning from real people in real situations. Seek out like-minded builders and start a discussion.

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

Have a good hard think about what you want to say as a player. What is your style, both musically and as a player? There are so many instruments available. Do the research, play the instruments that fit your criteria, and make a decision. But make sure you try a GGB Bass!   With all the sound choices my basses offer, with a simple turn of a knob, you may find it easier to find “your” sound.

What is the biggest success for you and for your company?

Well, the company is brand new, and at this point, it is just me, so getting this far in the manufacturing process and now having these amazing basses in my hands is a great achievement, but now comes all the business stuff!! 

What are your future plans?

It’s a work in progress. Right now, it’s all about getting the word out and getting the basses into the hands of interested players. I believe in the basses – and the Quad pickup, so hopefully, GGB Basses can become a go-to bass for demanding studio and live players who want sound choices in a gorgeous vintage-style instrument.

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Luthier Spotlight

Luthier Spotlight: Ellis Hahn of LEH Basses



Ellis Hahn of LEH Basses

Meet Ellis Hahn of LEH Basses…

In this issue, I have the honor of interviewing Ellis Hahn of LEH Basses.

Ellis Hahn of LEH Basses

You’re obviously not one for name-dropping, but you’ve built basses for some legendary musicians from Colin Greenwood (Radiohead) to Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie, Tedeschi Trucks, Black Crowes). How does it feel when your instruments are played on big stages by these icons?

Not gonna lie!  It really feels pretty amazing. Being at a venue and feeling a bass you made through the sound system rattling your chest… it’s surreal.

I recently got the chance to have Tim Lefevbre pick up his bass at my shop. It was so great to see him take to it right away. I literally dropped him off at rehearsal with it an hour later. When  I got a chance to see him play it the next day with the BlackStar Symphony Orchestra: The Music of David Bowie… let’s just say it was an absolute high note. I think I was smiling for two days straight.

The bulk of my experience building basses for legendary musicians comes directly through my time building for Sadowsky. While I was there I got the chance to build basses for Jason Newsted, Will Lee, Tully Kennedy, Verdine White, Tal Wilkenfeld and definitely some others whose names are escaping me right now.

One of my favorite builds was for Colin Greenwood of Radiohead. He wanted a bass that felt like and sounded like his vintage P bass but that was a bit less worrisome on the road. He brought in one of his favorite P’s for me to get to play and listen to so that I could recreate it…but as a Sadowsky.

That was also a fun lesson for me- there’s a lot of geometry you can tweak in the neck pocket that can drastically change the feel of a bass. The neck pocket, more than anything, was the main difference between a “normal” Sadowsky and Collin’s vintage P. Dialing in the neck pocket for the right feel was crucial. Colin was so at home with his P bass that other instruments felt “wrong.”

Collin came to pick up his bass while Radiohead had a multi-night gig at Madison Square Garden. I still have the backstage pass to that show next to my workbench pegboard, right next to my BlackStar Symphony Orchestra ticket.

Ellis Hahn of LEH Basses

Is there a quintessential L.E.H. musician? Who are you building for lately?
Oh gosh! I get this one a lot, and I don’t want to build for a specific subset. A lot of things have become polarized in the past several years and music bridges gaps. I just want to make a bass that anyone can feel at home with. That’s my goal. I want my bass to be able to adjust to you and age with you and be the thing you can pass down to your kid who is going to do something I cannot even fathom with it.

Ellis Hahn of LEH Basses

You are also a musician on top of being a builder. How does that influence your building?
I’m not the greatest musician, but my greatest talent as a musician is being able to be a blank slate for playing styles. I can play-test a bass or a pickup combo and leave myself and my music out of it. Very neutral fretting and right-hand technique.

Another lesson from my time at Sadowsky was our “listening tests” for new pickups or tone woods.  As a new guy, it was “ear-opening” to be in a room with all my colleagues listening to someone play bass and hear the differences between the players and the pickups. By learning to make myself neutral and generic, I could find the nuance in the sound.

Ellis Hahn of LEH Basses

What role does your dog play in the process? It must be important.
Hahaha.. Yes! She is crucial. Burnout is not a joke. She helps me remember to take a breath and step away periodically. This is normally communicated by dropping a tennis ball at my feet and tilting her head slightly to the side. That’s her way of reminding me that whatever nuance I am squinting over is not as important as our ongoing game of fetch.

What’s the coolest part of an L.E.H. bass that tends to go unnoticed?
I’m not sure if it is the coolest, but my favorite aspects are the way that things line up together. Things that you don’t really think about unless they are off. For instance, if there is a pickguard, it lines up perfectly with the control plate. That’s because I get the plates cut, prepare them for plating, and check that the fit matches as the edges are de-burred and smoothed. I also have a new magnetic battery cover that fits into the backplate, and that is of course a perfect match.

One thing that is tricky but fun to line up is the treble side of the neck pocket where the heel is parallel to the body. If the body sticks out in front of it, that’s a deal breaker. I anticipate the thickness of the body’s poly finish versus the neck’s thin nitro finish and undercut it to make it either a perfect match or a slightly inset from the neck. It makes everything feel cohesive as you play up the neck near the body.

Okay now tell us about the faders.
I thought you’d never ask! I love those things! That was an idea that I came up with in order to simplify the controls and make adjustments easy for players at all times. I like the visual element too, because not only does it look cool, but you can see the EQ right there on the body of the bass.

Ellis Hahn of LEH Basses

What do you tell a client who’s a little wary of a bass that looks too out there?
First off, I guess I’d say to quit worrying!! Then I’d have to ask, what’s so “out there” about my basses? I know the headstock is a lot, but that mass helps the bass sing and pretty much eliminates dead spots. I also know the faders are a new thing, but trust me.. once you try it, you’re gonna love it. A client recently told me that he was a little wary of my faders but once he got it out of the case he said that it felt very, very easy to dial in what I was looking for on both the faders and the knobs.

Ellis Hahn of LEH Basses

For more than several years (sixteen to be precise) you worked at Sadowsky Guitars. What was that like?
Initially it was amazing. I got to level up my skill set in one of the best shops in the world with the best people and the best tools. But after leveling up, I wanted to push further. It wasn’t possible to go beyond the designs there. Yes, I could change my building technique and improve in very small ways, but in order to improve in a big way I had to move on and explore for myself. That’s why I started making my own designs. The biggest improvement I made, or rather, the biggest realization I made that led to an improvement was collaborating with Roger Sadowsky and Chip Shearin in designing the Sadowsky Single Cut.

On paper, the task was simple: make a single-cut bass with 24 frets and a bolt-on neck. What I didn’t expect to find was that the giant neck pocket improved the classic Sadowsky 24-fret model significantly. It added sustain, it reduced dead spots, and it made the long neck of the 24-fret much more solid. All that added up to making that bass much more acoustic and organic.

I kept that experience in mind when I designed the original Offset. I maximized the neck pocket and made the most solid neck-to-body contact that I could while still maintaining the aesthetic of a double cut. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier about the end result. I feel like I found the happy spot between cool Fender vibe and a solution to Fender-style-build problems

You’re known for a lot of things in regard to your builds, but tell us how you came up with your body design. Where did the offset shape originate?
With the Offset design, I’m attempting to evolve tradition. The goal is something immediately recognizable and, to be honest, just plain cool. Fender designs aren’t the most comfortable, balanced, or playable, but they are iconic. I took where they left off, offset the curves more for balance, carved the back for more comfort, and added a bunch of small improvements that I had learned over the past several years building Fender-style instruments.

Alright, so this isn’t exactly bass-related, but what’s with the space thing?
Ha! Yes….. Ok! I am weirdly obsessed with space. Since I was a kid, I’ve loved space exploration. In the 80’s I went to garage sales and was on the lookout for National Geographic Issues from the late 60’s that had amazing images and would tear out records of sounds from space. Never did find a lunar landing issue fully intact. But that’s ok, now there’s the internet.

I guess I use space imagery as a backdrop for what I do because space imagery feels like endless possibilities. My 10-year-old self would totally dig it.

Ellis Hahn of LEH Basses

Ok, final questions: Where can we find you on social media and how can our readers order a bass?
Important questions! Thanks for asking. My only social media thing I do is Instagram. I’m @lehguitars. And ordering a bass is the fun part. If you have an idea for a build or questions about my instruments please email me:

I like to walk clients through all the ins and outs of their options and make sure we’re building the right bass for them. That way when the bass is complete, I can be sure that they are getting exactly what they want and need in their new instrument.

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R.I.P. Bill Conklin, Conklin Guitars and Basses



RIP Bill Conklin

Updated: Oct 29, 2021 – It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of Bill Conklin, beloved Luthier and industry friend to many… may you rest in peace.

Interview: Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – Bill Conklin, Conklin Guitars and Basses


Meet Bill Conklin of Conklin Guitars

How did you get your start in music?

My interest in music started at a very young age and was influenced by my parent’s listening preferences, my older brother’s record collection and eventually my friends who convinced me to be the bass player in the band they were forming when we were all in the range of 10 to 12 years old. My first bass was a Kay that I played through a tweed guitar amp from a company called Earth.

Are you still an active player?

I have played on and off throughout my life, performing in cover bands and original bands, most recently with my business partner Mike Apperson, covering modern rock and progressive material. I have always enjoyed writing lyrics and playing but never took it too seriously or pursued it on a professional level. One of the goals on my bucket list is to record a CD of 10 to 12 songs of my own original music and lyrics; not to necessarily sell or profit from, just to enjoy and say, “Yeah I did that”.

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

At the same time my love of music was brewing within me at an early age, so too was a love of art and design. Naturally as I entered my teen years I began to merge the two mediums and quickly filled my sketchpads with drawings of wild looking guitars. It was just about that time (1977-80) I started seeing ads for Ibanez, Dean and Hondo that featured uniquely shaped guitars and then it hit me that I could possibly turn this passion into a career.


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

Without any woodworking experience, no family members involved in manufacturing and no one to mentor me in my small Midwest resort community, I did the only thing I could at the time and built my first guitar in high school woodshop my senior year 1981. I had designed a machine gun shaped guitar and thought it lent itself perfectly to my rock-n-roll mindset. The guitar turned out so well that I ended up playing it in my first semi-professional band after graduating from high school.

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

We have a few favorites that we like to work with such as Maple and Purpleheart for our multi-laminate necks, but when it comes right down to it the customer is free to choose their own woods. Of course if they don’t have a preference or if they are unsure about a certain application we are happy to make suggestions or recommendations.

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

Just as with the woods, we encourage the customer to select their favorite pickups and electronics. On occasion they may request certain components that don’t necessarily work together as well as they should so we will suggest alternatives that we know from experience will perform as expected.

We have been offering Bartolini and EMG since our start in 1984 and more recently have been doing quite a bit with Delano, mainly because they have been so willing to make custom pickups for our extended range basses, not to mention that they sound incredible. We have also been recommending Lundgren pickups from Sweden to our 4 and 5 string bass customers and are extremely happy with them. We were the first dealer for Lundgren pickups in the USA and have them available on our website for anyone wanting to do upgrades on any brand of bass.

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

Our association with Bill Dickens has been pretty renowned.  We have been working with him since 1998 and his signature model 7-string bass has been a key fixture in the popularization of extended range bass. In addition to the BD-7 we also built several custom ERB’s for Billy including the world’s first 9-string bass tuned from low F# to high Bb. (View Bill Dickens ERB Legend Interview in Bass Musician Magazine in the December 2016 Issue)


It was a great pleasure and a real honor to work with the incredible groove legend Rocco Prestia for so many years. It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing your unique instrument in the hands of such a stellar talent as he performs his unique style for fans all over the world. (View Rocco Prestia Cover Interview in Bass Musician Magazine in the February 2015 Issue)

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

It all starts with the artist. It is virtually the same thing we do for any player wanting a one-of-a-kind custom instrument. They have an idea, or often times several ideas that they want to incorporate into a bass. It could be something as simple as a tone that they are after; maybe it’s an aesthetic or a certain feel, some specific woods, hardware or electronics or possibly a combination of all these things. We have them make a wish list of desired specs for their dream bass and then we discuss it with them, make recommendations, offer suggestions, and answer questions until they are completely comfortable with their choices. Once the work order is in and the build is on we develop 3-D drawings that are emailed to the customer for approval. If everything looks good, it’s off to the woodshop and we start making sawdust.

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

When I first started the company I had several unique and/or innovative ideas on how I felt guitars and basses could be improved, simplified or otherwise given a ‘Conklin’ twist. One of the first things I designed was a bolt-on heel that was completely carved and molded right into the neck. There are quite a few manufacturers nowadays that bevel or carve their neck heel in some fashion in an effort to make it more comfortable, but as far as I am aware, Conklin was the first to do this and still one of the only companies to really blend the two pieces, almost like a neck-through-body.

I also thought it would be a good idea to place the position marker dots on the very edge of the fretboard. During installation they actually hang over just a bit so that when they are sanded flush you get a top dot and side dot all in one…we call them “off-sides dots”.

Another thing we started doing right from the start was leaving the covers off of the truss rod slot and the tremolo spring area on our guitars, an idea that is now quite common.

Finally, we developed an entirely new approach to making exotic wood tops, fingerboards and headstock caps. Instead of the traditional bookmatch we joined several contrasting species of gorgeous woods into a twisting, wavy, flowing organic graphic that we call “Melted Tops”. Of course we don’t do these on all of our instruments; they are reserved for those customers wanting something extremely exclusive and extra special.

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

Right now I am really jazzed about our Sidewinder 4 and 5-string Classic models; they incorporate retro era styling with modern refinements.


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

This may not be the most pc thing to say, but quite honestly you might want to plan on working for one of the established companies because this has become one of the most competitive markets on the planet. When I started Conklin back in ’84 you could count the number of custom shops on one hand. Now I’m not sure you could not count all the custom builders. This type of work is like music itself; it gets into your skin and it is extremely fulfilling. I totally understand why so many people aspire to do it. Just give it some serious consideration.

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

Email us your wish list…lol!

What is biggest success for you and for your company?

It kind of relates back to your earlier question; I had a dream about building guitars and basses back in the early1980’s; back when it was unheard of for a kid in Missouri with no previous experience and no recognized name to start a custom shop and think anyone would buy one of my instruments, sight unseen and un-played. Keep in mind that this was several years before the Internet. But with undying determination, passion and spirit I did just that and 32 years later here I am… not necessarily living the dream, but living MY dream.

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

We are… several new models and designs actually. Starting with a new website in 2017, we are planning to release our Classics and Cutting Edge series, which will include the retro-inspired pieces I mentioned earlier along with some state-of-the-art models like our Wiggle Stick, which is a headless multi-scale 5-string and our Funky 5; a highly carved, fine-tuned little funk machine.


What are your future plans?

Funny you should ask. For almost as long as I have been designing and building innovative instruments, I have also been designing and planning to someday build innovative and unique furniture, accent pieces, jewelry and guitar related accessories. I had made up my mind that I wanted to get this new venture rolling by the time I turned 50. Now, at 53, I just recently have begun creating some prototypes of what I hope will eventually become an entire line of my ”other” ideas. Look for these products to begin showing up on our website in the next year or so and our name to change from Conklin Guitars and Basses to Conklin Custom Shop.

Is there anything else you would like to share that we have not included?

Yes please… I want to say thank you to all of our loyal fans, friends and customers that have put their trust and confidence in us over these past 32 years, and given us the opportunity to make a living making guitars. We hope you’ll stick with us for the next 32 years. Also, I can’t heap enough praise on those gentlemen that have literally stood beside me and believed in me these past three decades. From the early years with Brent Frazier, Jim Cox and Brad Bembry through the 90’s with Phil Goschy and finally these past 16 years with Mike Apperson. Without each of them being in the right place at the right time with such incredible dedication and work ethic for this brand, none of this would have been possible.

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Bass Videos

Luthier Spotlight: Jon Maghini of Maghini Guitars



Luthier Spotlight- Jon Maghini of Maghini Guitars

Interview with Luthier Jon Maghini… from MBasses to Maghini Guitars.

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Luthier Spotlight: Bjoern Kroeplin, Plankton Basses



Luthier Spotlight: Plankton Basses

Meet Bjoern Kroeplin, Luthier and owner of Plankton Basses…

2-Luthier Spotlight- Plankton Basses

In this issue, I have the honor of interviewing Bjoern Kroeplin, Luthier and owner of Plankton Basses.

How did you find your way into music?

I am now 53 years old and come from a musical family. Even as a child I regularly received promo singles from our neighbor who worked at the WDR Radio in Cologne.

I first played the piano and then joined my first band when I was about 15. There I played percussion until the bandleader got a gig in our school. We didn’t have a bass player, so I agreed to learn bass and within a month, bought one in Lübeck and quickly taught myself everything I needed to cut a good figure in front of the 400 people in the school’s sports hall.

Later in the 80s, I discovered Stanley Clarke, Mark King, Marcus Miller, and Defunkt with Kim Clarke. But my favorite bassist is Hellmut Hattler with his virtuoso plectrum bass playing. This is not least because he has bequeathed me his two Glockenklang Boxes, with which I can put all basses through their paces after completion.

I am also self-taught and have always taught myself how to play instruments, including the entrance examination for bass studies in Cologne. I also had piano lessons as a child. What I could advise today would be in any situation: listen, listen carefully, and stay on the ball.

Are you still an active player?

I have a small studio and compose mostly with the bass and then play all the other instruments – visit TRICKYPONY. I am booked as a session bassist here in northern Germany for funk, rock, and jazz.

Tell us about building your first bass…

I’ve had many a bass, but I didn’t like any of them particularly in terms of sound and certainly not in the classical form. So after a long accident with a fractured heel, where I couldn’t walk for a long time, I decided to build my first fine bass at home on a barstool. I bought all parts and tools on the internet and they were delivered to my door.

That must have been about 10 years ago. The result was absolutely sensational in terms of sound and appearance.

This was followed by an electric double bass similar to the one made by the well-known electric double bass player Eberhardt Weber with the Jan Garbarek Group. Here I chose practically only the middle section in the extension of the neck but without the charming, massive, sweeping curves of a babushka like in the Kate Bush video.

The body is made of maple with a neck that you can unscrew. This way you can transport the huge device relatively easily. It sounds like a classic double bass, so everything as it should be.

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

Wood is a fantastic material to create sculptural objects. My talent and pleasure has always been design, so it is always easy for me to realise my initially fictitious idea. As a mentor I have the philosophy of Bauhaus and Luigi Colani in mind. The European Nordic designers have created great stylish unique pieces. But also always a bit ahead of the times, such as the case of the Braun Phonosuper SK 4, the Snow White coffin, which was sensational for its time. It was designed by Hans Gugelot and Dieter Rams in 1952, when there was only phono furniture available worldwide. Carl Thompson in New York was the closest to the signature of the new design for basses that I like. How do you choose the woods you want to build with?

I have tried out many things! Just drop different pieces of different woods from a height of one meter onto the floor. Then you will get a first impression of what it means to perceive differences in the wood.

The topic of wood selection resembles a myth deliberately created by the producers called: Tonewood. I can immediately think of the following amusing anecdote that explains a lot; I quote and it was like this: “Taylor builds good guitars because we know how to do it. And to prove it, we built an acoustic guitar out of an old, rotten pallet from the rubbish. The top was made from a wasteboard whose wood type could not be determined. It was glued so artfully from 6 boards that you can hardly see it, and the nail holes … were highlighted with inserted aluminum discs. This Pallet-Guitar was a most acclaimed guitar of the Winter NAMM Show”. Taylor, ISBN 3-932275-80-2.

Let’s talk about pickups…

I have tried American pickups, like the ones in the Fender basses. I have found a great liking for the Bartolini PU’s and have used them. Currently, I work mainly with the DELANO PU’S and the NOLL Electroniks from Germany. I have no comparable electrical solutions at hand. Alembic and Bartolini would be in the USA the closest to my sound ideas; an extremely broad frequency spectrum.

Who were some of the first known musicians who started to play your basses?

None yet, because my basses have only now seen the light. I studied electric bass in Cologne in the 90s and recorded everything on my website myself. You can play the classical styles of your idol with your instrument. However, an instrument would be great, with which modern creative young musicians can start to develop their own sound and their own “handwriting”. I build such basses for you at the Baltic Sea with PLANKTON BASSES, Germany and combine tradition with modernity.

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

By having a clear idea of the sound you want to achieve. Then you look inside yourself and think about the materials you want to use to achieve the desired result. I have another company that designs and produces floating pods and rooms. In all my design and creation work I always start by looking at the state of the art and with this knowledge I put myself into my floating tank. There I let the ideas flow and usually quickly arrive at a great experience and start.

What are some things that you are proud of that you would consider unique in your instruments?

In one sentence: The joy of playing… every time I think of something new. The bass himself composes here, just let it out I think every time.

Perhaps in all modesty, the first bass I designed myself was better than any other I have ever held in my hands. Maybe it’s because I’m very open to art, beautiful things, feminine curves and culture. Therefore I know no limits to allow ideas.

Which of the basses you build is your favourite?

Always the one that is still in my head and wants to be built AND then exceeds my own expectations.

Can you give us some advice to young luthiers who are just starting out?

Yes, of course. You have to make it clear to yourself what you want. If you are looking for large quantities, the only thing you have left is industrial production. You will soon notice that you have produced dozens of soulless things that somehow produce sounds. But if you play a precisely handmade instrument, you will soon notice the difference. You feel the love of detail that has been invested. That is the dilemma because every beginner would need a good instrument from the beginning so that the joy of practicing is maintained.

We must not confuse acoustic instrument making with electric instrument making. Physics has its natural limits. Copying a Stradivarius wood by means of artificial aging is quite possible today. In guitar building, it is the symbiosis of the individual components that has a decisive influence on the sound. Generally 50% electric, plus 50% wood selection including all other hardware and construction.

Often underestimated, half of this is the neck construction that gives the sound. That is my opinion, but here everyone has his own philosophy and that is good.

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

The perfect bass does not exist. There is the perfect bass, the perfect instrument just for the musician and his or her individual ideas. There is definitely no such thing as the legendary wollmilchsau.

What is the greatest success for you and your company?

The joy. The joy of the ability to diligently create a finely crafted instrument from the talent of a log.

Are you preparing something new?

Yes, I have only just begun to put all my passion for music into my Bass Boutique Plankton Basses.

Next up is a project with a special material mix. For example, underwater woods from the jungle of the Panama Canal will be used. These timbers were cleared with the permission to widen the channel’s shipping channel for larger container ships. So a diver has to saw off the tree underwater next to alligators using a high-pressure saw. The wood is of a Fanta-layered texture with very high density. I use this in thin strips in the bass necks. An absolute novelty in terms of attack and sustain.

I would also like to contribute to the discussion about carbon in instrument making with one sentence: Carbon fibre is a natural product like wood, but many years older than wood and therefore a fantastic component for my instruments. You will be the first to hear about everything new from me.

What are your future plans?

I would like to find a balance, to introduce my instruments to many musicians, to build up a reasonable distribution network and at the same time keep enough time to experiment creatively for the good cause. The design is almost a pretty dress by itself, but it’s the ingredients that count. I would be delighted if there were a demand in the USA, the country of origin of the electric guitar, for people who want to go my way.

What else would you like to share…

Do not emulate others, find your own style. Stay curious and above all healthy. We can end the interview with Victor Wooten’s sentence: Factor number one for your good tone is always your own fingers first.

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