Up until 4 years ago, I had only ever played 4 string bass – well thats all that you need. Or is it? the fact is that in a few cover-band situations you really do need that extra string, mostly just to get to the low ‘D’ – not the ‘B’ (although obviously it is there). I thought long and hard, online are MANY people both ‘for’ and ‘against’ that extra string – not just jazz players. It is one of those subjects that brings an opinion. The only option was to make one, for a number of reasons; most importantly I couldn’t justify the kind of expenditure that seemed to be required for something I may not get on with (yes, I’m tight!). Then, I really like strings close together so that I can easily reach chords on bass (maybe 12mm string spacing ?). Finally I thought it would be crazy to have all those people out there playing my instruments if I was going to have something off the shelf.
I wanted to play a couple of songs, so I got out the paper and pencil and designed a bolt on neck, laminated body, simple bass that I could make from scraps in the workshop. Because of the string spacing I’d need to make the bridge too, also, those of you who know my work will also know that I like to use pickups that I make and wind from scratch. It took a while (because I have lots of distractions day to day, life is fun), but eventually I had the monster finished.
Since then it has been my regular bass, I hardly play 4 string any longer. It has worn well over many hours of play, home and out live. Gigging instruments always take a battering, its part of their charm, the dings and wear that they carry over time, its their ‘story’. here are some pictures that I took through the build, I bought the machine heads and a pre-amp circuit which I built (wanted in active), made everything else, total cost I think of about £100 (because it was all scrap materials).