As is the story with many who build basses, this bass guitar of the week started with the idea to build an instrument with the idea of getting high-end features without the high-end price tag, and builder Todd Tomlin made that happen.
Oh, and this bass does feature something that can’t immediately be seen for you builders out there as an option you may want to consider – a gunstock finish for the neck.
I always wanted a high end 5 string bass but couldn’t afford many of the premium brands that were offered. I decided to build one to my specifications since I have been designing and building solid body electric guitars for several years now.
Being primarily a guitar player, I wanted a 5 string with a narrow neck so it would not feel quite as big as some with wider fret boards. Basically I took the specs off of a 4 string neck and evenly spaced the 5 strings across the fret board. It is much more comfortable for me to play but still has plenty of room between the strings to play with your fingers as well as a pick.
The body is made from American Black Walnut and Hard Rock Maple. I always admired basses made from these woods. The Maple center “stripe” adds a touch of high end class.
The neck is Hard Maple with a Pau Ferro fret board.
Seymour Duncan Phase II Passive Soapbar pickups are used in optimally placed positions along with independent volume controls and a Stellartone Tonestyler 16 position tone control.
The pots are 500K CTS and the input jack is a Switchcraft.
The control cavity is completely foil shielded to cut down on noise.
It has a 13 degree angled headstock with straight string pull for easier tuning.
A hand cut brass nut.
Hipshot Ultra-Light tuners for exceptional balance and easy tuning.
A double expanding truss rod with graphite stabilizing bars are used to increase neck stability.
It has a 34 inch scale length with 21 Dunlop 6100 nickel silver frets.
A bolt on neck using 5 hardened steel threaded inserts and stainless steel machine screws are used to increase stability in the neck pocket.
This bass features a contoured neck heel for comfortable upper fret access.
A Hipshot A-style solid brass bridge which allows for top loading or string through body string mounting has been installed.
Several coats of tung oil were allowed to soak in before a polymerized oil finish was applied to the beautiful partial German Carve body.
The neck was given a gunstock finish that feels exceptionally good to play on. I feel this finish gives a good balance between tone and durability.
Dunlop Dual Design Strap Locks are used for that added bit of security.
I currently have it set up with Rotosound 77 flatwounds.
This bass turned out exceptionally well and I plan on building more.
Four string models and 30″ and 32″ short scale models are on the horizon.
It balances extremely well, has great tone and doesn’t weigh as much as you would think with its beautiful tone woods due to its 1.5″ body thickness.
I also build 6 and 12 string solid body guitars using the same basic trademark body and headstock designs.
Todd does have his own company, Tomlin Guitars, LLC. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
A build well done, Todd!
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