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Bass Musician Magazine’s Year of the Luthier – Hannah Mayne, Mayne Basses




Meet Hannah Mayne of Mayne Basses…

How did you get started as a Luthier?

It was in1993 while attending college in San Francisco, and studying the bass. I remember going into a Luthier’s workshop to purchase a bass. It was very intriguing to see all the various parts and pieces of basses in various stages of restoration and construction. I went away knowing inside that I would again feel this desire to learn more about the intricacies and work of the Luthier. And in fact it was only a short year or so after that that I was apprenticing full time. It was the early years that gave me the foundation for a dedicated profession as a Luthier.

When did you build your first bass?

It was almost 5 years just on repair and restoration work before I finished my first bass. My plan was to build it between other work and see how it came out and whether I should attempt to build another one. When it was finished in 2001, it didn’t stay with me more than a few weeks, and ended up in the hands of bassist Jon Burr in New York. That was the exciting experience of my early career, because I had no idea that was even a possibility. My first bass was my dream and then it became real. I’ve been inspired ever since.


How did you learn the art of woodworking/Luthier?

A lot of my foundation for wood working techniques as it relates to Luthiery work, primarily came from Luthier Boyd Poulsen.  I’ve also learned a lot of other wood working techniques from other wood workers. The work is involved and always evolving in some form. Staying centered and focused creates good results in the work, and keeps me injury free.  I’ve worked alone for at least the last ten years or so. This solitude suits me, and I find that when I’m forced to figure things out by myself I learn about my weaknesses and make them my strengths.

Whom would you consider a Mentor?

My parents I consider my first teachers, my first mentors. They were both able to build things out of wood, make music, and make art that was very personal. I also consider anyone who has really influenced my thinking and my way of working to be a mentor for my work and for my life. And the two can’t be separated from each other. One’s work is who they are in part and the other layers are just somewhere in there too as part of what makes us create.

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

I select based on what either the client wants or what I have on hand in the shop. I use traditional woods: maple, poplar, spruce.


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

Jon Burr is the first noted player that started playing one of my basses; in fact he has the first bass I ever made. Daryl Johns also plays on the same model Jon Burr plays on. Both players are really inspirational bass players and have recorded a lot with my basses. I’ve been very fortunate to have all my basses played by players I consider excellent people and great musicians.

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

The most important consideration is what does the player want and how can I create it or at least come very close to it. Other considerations are aesthetics not just in sound but everything else to do with individual taste and preferences. A players relationship to an instrument reflects a part of who they are and how they feel their identity reflects well and is matched to an instrument is elemental to the whole process of creating an instrument for a particular person. How an instrument will feel under their fingers is also critical. How they create their tone and their musical voice are important aspects to building an instrument for a player.


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

I like the idea when I build an instrument that it will out live me. This is unique, to create something that will be a legacy. It’s like this story, like recording music is a story or any other artistic work. It’s about the process and what is left for posterity and what can be remembered by it. Going beyond the initial creation of one’s work and into history is something I can say makes me proud.

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

I used to think it was my first model but then I’ve come around to all of them as my favorites, and for different reasons. The first model I made is life as a Ferrari and the second is like a BMW, and the last model is a Rolls Royce. Surely I enjoy the three models I make because it’s what I make, and each one is unique and has a story I can tell about it. 

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

Especially in the beginning it is important to study and work alongside some one you like and respect. It’s always good to develop working relationships with others that encourage your growth and help you strengthen your skills and understanding. Avoid staying under someone who discourages you in any way or who is competitive or that you hear talk negative about others. This kind of person hurts the spirit. The work is very humbling and wood is always telling its own story. Finding the way is finding the true nature of your material.

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

It’s individual. It’s about knowing yourself and what works for your ideas and concepts for creating your sound — knowing what you want is the first step to finding the instrument that can serve you well for creating music. It’s always a good idea to try a lot of different basses because you can discover what works for you in the process.

hannah-mayne-mayne-basses-cdWhat is biggest success for you and for your company?

My basses have been recorded a lot and that is something that helps me feel a sense of success. A lot of times I never hear my basses played live, so hearing recordings is a great way to know what’s happening out there with my basses.

Are you preparing something new, some new model or new design?

I’m currently working on several custom basses. Whether it’s new building or restoration or repair work, there’s always a lot going on in the shop. Work keeps me busy and focused in the day-to-day. Then I can dream and imagine something new, like a new model or just a unique sound hole or detail I want to incorporate on my next bass.

What are your future plans?

I plan to continue my focus on building basses. I’m also dreaming to travel to places I’ve never been. I want to learn about other places and discover something new and different. Sometimes different emotions and feelings inform the process of creativity and without even realizing it we’ve changed and broadened our minds. This always encourages creativity and inspiration for work. Like getting a refueling.

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Gear News

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)



Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)

Bruegel Masterpiece (1565) Inspires BITE Masterpiece (2023)…

Flemish Master Pieter Bruegel the Elder probably had many things in mind when painting his Hunters in the Snow in oil on oak wood in 1565. This masterpiece tells plenty of little stories about winterly pastimes and precarious livelihoods in the Early Modern Age. What Bruegel presumably did not have in mind was that this painting would, several centuries later, become one of the most popular ones in fine arts globally, displayed in a permanent exhibition at Kunsthistorisches Museum (Museum of Fine Arts) Vienna. The painting’s popularity was lately taken to a different level as it was replicated by hand to design an exclusive BITE bass.

An international art collector and bass player who regularly visits Vienna to immerse himself in the wonderworld of Kunsthistorisches’ Bruegel Hall asked BITE to replicate the painting on a bass body. BITE Guitars, an Austrian premium manufacturer exporting most of their basses to the US, has become renowned for colorful artwork basses, offering a range of manual and digital techniques. The firm’s art director Peter, a trained scenic painter of Oscar and Palme d’Or rank, specializes in photo-realistic reproductions. He also painted the bass for Robbie Williams’ 2023 world tour by faithfully replicating Robbie’s own stage design onto the tour bass.

Peter copied the Bruegel motif onto the bass body in minute detail, little twigs even by one-hair-brush. Positioning the rectangular image section on the body shape proved to be a special challege that he met by repositioning little elements, a bird here, a horse and cart there.

It all came together in a memorable video shooting in front of the original painting in the Museum’s Bruegel Hall: venerable fine arts, premium handicraft and groovy jazz tunes.

View video at the museum:

What’s the conclusion of BITE’s client, our Vienna, art and bass lover? “It’s a magical bass! When I touch the strings, I feel warm inside.”

Specs highlights:
Bass model: BITE Evening Star, the proprietary BITE premium model with inward curved horns
Pickups: 2 x BITE 1000 millivolt passive split-coils (PP)
Neck: roasted maple neck and roasted flamed maple fretboard

Price tag incl. insured door-to-door express shipping:
New York: 4726 USD
London: 3645 GBP
Berlin: 4965 EUR

Full specs available at

Bruegel Hall at Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna:

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser



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: 
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



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.

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This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram



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



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 

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