[Bass of the Week] Tomlin 5

See the business listing for this bass builder here

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.

Todd writes,

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.









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Todd does have his own company, Tomlin Guitars, LLC. He can be contacted at tomlinguitars@gmail.com.

A build well done, Todd!

Want to submit your instrument for bass of the week? Do it right now at https://bit.ly/botw-entry

Please respect the builder’s craft when commenting. If your comment contains criticism, that’s fine, but it must be constructive. Non-constructive criticism will be muted.

25 thoughts on “[Bass of the Week] Tomlin 5

  1. Very nice design and craftsmanship – wasn’t mentioned but I like the back-painted clear acrylic pickguard and choice of knobs. Tonestyler’s rock also.

  2. Personally id prefer for the top edge of the body to be rounded off. If had problems with that part of the body rubbing against my arm and becoming uncomfortable after a while. Apart from that, very nice. I like the shap of carving around the top a lot.

    • Thanks for the kind words and constructive comment. The German Carve on the top edge is surprisingly comfortable and the very edge does have a .125″ round over. The round over could be increased during a custom build if you think it would be a problem.

    • Thank you. I am pretty excited about the short scales as well. What I have drawn up should look good, perform well and fit in most standard guitar cases and bags.

    • Thank you very much. It is great to hear such positive comments! When you design something you never know how it will go over. Bassists seem to be a bit more willing to accept new designs and ideas than our 6-string higher tuned counterparts. 🙂

    • A few coats a tung oil was allowed to penetrate and dry and then Tru-oil filler/sealer followed by many coats of regular Tru-oil.

    • The logo is basically my signature (a very neat version of it), I usually don’t write quit that neatly. I then scanned and printed it on some waterslide decal paper and applied it after a couple of Tru-oil coats. The subsequent coats were applied over the decal to seal it.

    • Custom builds start at $1500 USD. Several options are available and some will add to the price. If you are interested it would be best to contact me at my email address and we could start to talk about the specs you desire. After the specs are nailed down I can give you a custom quote.

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