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 GW Basses & Grandon Westlund, "The Bass Kahuna"

What is it about "The Bass"? I think William Mathews knew...

"You have to pick up The Bass, as Mingus called his with audible capitals,
and think of the slow years the wood spent as a tree,
which might well have been enough for wood,

and think of the skill the bassmaker carried
without great thought of it
from home to the shop and back for decades,

and know what bassists before you have played,
and know how much of this is stored in The Bass like energy in a spring
and know how much you must coax out.

How easy it would be, instead, to pull a sword from a stone.
But what's inside The Bass wants out."

William Matthews, 1995
From: "Time & Money: New Poems" (1995)

So you want to be a Luthier?

How does one decide to become a Luthier? For me, it is more of a calling than a career choice. I have been involved with music and woodworking from my earliest memories as a young child. Everyone, on both sides of my parent's families have been musical people as well as artisans and craftsmen/women. My grandfathers were carpenters, as well as my father and uncles, all being involved either full or part time in carpentry, either as house framers, cabinet makers, repairs, remodelling, etc. Therefore, an integral and most important part of my upbringing was a combination of creativity, music and sawdust.

Since I started playing guitar in grade school, I have yet to own a guitar or bass that I didn't eventually modify in some form or fashion in an attempt to improve it somehow. Either refinishing, doing my own setups, rewiring, routing for new pickups, putting figured tops on guitars or basses that didn't have them, etc. Granted, early on, not all of my attempts turned out for the best, but I continued to learn, read, study, and grow. I also built various pieces of custom furniture, did quite a bit of remodelling and related carpentry work. I also attended college for Electronics (including tube theory and repair), earning a degree in Electronics and Computer Technology.

As time passed and my experience and abilities grew, I built guitars and basses on a onesy-twosey limited basis for a very few select individuals as well as taking in countless repairs and setups more as a serious hobby or part time job while I worked in the fast paced, hectic and unrealistically demanding IT field and focused my remaining energies on my abilities as a bassist. I gained a solid reputation as a live and studio session bassist, earning the moniker of "The Bass Kahuna", and as a guitar/bass tech, and even wrote a guitar and bass repair column for a well known Southwest music monthly magazine. After much soul searching I came to understand that building - nay - creating basses was what I needed to do, and after quite a bit of research and business planning I decided to forsake the IT Industry and with it Corporate America and change careers and build my own business as a full time Luthier buildling my own Custom Basses.

My Philosphy

For those of us who understand that we don't just play bass, but that being a bassist is a calling, a state of mind, even a lifestyle. It is in our soul and part of what makes us who we are - there is a connection between our hands, our souls, and our basses. Just the feel of a bass resonating against our body, even unplugged, is something we understand to be bigger than our concious mind and language can describe. We bassists understand that it can't just sound good, it has to "feel" good too!

Most other musicians don't live in the world where rhythm and melody must meet to make a song, to make music that connects with that primitive, reptile portion of our brain that makes us feel the need to move our bodies, that touches our hearts, our souls, and pulls on our emotions and memories. That is what we bassists do. Our ability to lay down a groove, to lock in with the drummer to drive the whole band and thereby the listener, the connection and experience that is music.

For me building a bass is so much more than just the refined mechanical abilities of carpentry and lutherie. Building a bass is just like writing a song or painting, or any other form of human creativity. After all of the drawing and designs, the mathematical calculations and models and renderings, to really build a bass you have to learn to let go of conscious thought and allow yourself to channel the creative energy that connects you to the wood from which the bass will leap to life. The wood knows how best to be a musical instrument that will instill the passion of creativity in the hands of the person who will play it, and it will tell you how, if you are open to hear it.

I build basses to fuel and expand on that unconscious and most visceral of connections between your soul, your hands, and your bass. I understand that connection, I speak your language, I too, am a bassist.

Live the dream. Play bass.

So... what's with all the purple? Purple is my favorite color!


"The Bass Kahuna"

Grand Westlund Portrait Image
Potrait by Image Source Studios

My suppliers

I can't do this all by myself. Without the following suppliers I would not be able to build basses, period. Rather than think of them as "suppliers", I like to simply think of them as extended employees and family. They are always there for me when I need them for the best possible products and support, and they have all helped me through a tight spot now and then with their attention to detail, recognizing my needs and my customers needs and the fastest possible turn around time around. I don't use these particular suppliers because I get the cheapest prices or best discount, I use these particular suppliers simply because they provide the absolute best products and services for the basses that I put my name on and my reputation on the line for. They are, in no particular order:

And yes, I play bass too!

I've had a pretty good career playing bass as well. It has given me a ton of insight and ideas for my custom basses from a players perspective. If you'd like to know more about me as a bassist and my playing, new releases or upcoming performances, you can checkout my site for me as a bassist at, or at my MySpace page at

"The Bass Kahuna TM", "GW Basses TM" and the "GW " logo are Trademark 2003
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