Scott's Guitar Blog: February 17, 2012

New SBM Bass

I just finished this bass yesterday, and it will be with its new owner on Sunday. Sourcing the wood for this was as important as the rest of the elements; I really wanted a special, thick slab of Hawaiian koa for this client. The warmth of the walnut, combined with the crisper spirit of the maple and koa, made for a very textured and fully developed voice. I left the pores open, sealing them as I built-up layers of hardening oil, giving the bass a rich natural luster. Covering this lovely wood in a thick super glossy finish would have ruined its natural beauty.

The top layer is flamed koa, with a center layer of figured maple, and a back layer of black walnut. The bass has a warm deep spirit, with a crisp piano-like highs. I’m very pleased with how it came out, and can’t wait for the customer to see it for the first time.

I asked Lindy Fralin to custom build me a set of Jazz pickups, then I painted the covers brown, and laminated koa on top of them, to honor the rest of the koa. A thick top slab of figured wood creates a visual “waterfall” of grain details, as the rounded edges are graceful and substantial. On tops that are much thinner (as is common on factory instruments) this effect is lessened. Of course, had I done this, I could have had 3 extra tops, but the point is to create art, not save money!