GW Basses & Luthiery

  A Custom Shop Full Custom 4 String Fretless

This bass is a full custom of the customers design. We discussed it quite a bit over the phone and via many emails. He sent me a rough pencil drawing of his design concept, which I then did up on the computer. After one or two slight modifications to the design, I was now ready to start cutting wood for this bass.

Here are the specs:

  • 5 Piece neck: Zebrawood, flamed maple and padauk
  • Stabilized Macassar Ebony Fingerboard, fretless, 34" scale, 12" radius
  • Bass Clef inlay in Fingerboard at 12th fret in Camphor Burl
  • Spanish Cedar headstock with Camphor Burl overlay (to match the body)
  • 2 mm side dots, one at each fret position
  • no dots / inlays on fretboard
  • thin zebrawood accent layer between fingerboard and neck

  • Body:
  • Chambered Spanish Cedar body wings and back
  • Bookmatched Camphor Burl Top
  • thin zebrawood accent layer between body wings and top

  • Hardware and Electronics:
  • Gotoh tuners and Hipshot Model "A" style bridge, Gold
  • Matching wood knobs from THG, spanish cedar with camphor burl tops for controls and tuners
  • Kent Armstrong custom wound pickups with Aguilar OBP-3 preamp
  • Wood pickup covers, camphor burl tops with spanish cedar sides
  • matching custom wood knobs in spanish cedar with camphor burl caps with thin zebrawood accent layer from THG Knobs

  • The Build Process

    Here are pics of some of the woods and inlays, and a scan of the original drawing I recieved from Russ and the final approved design drawing I did on the computer for this beauty!

    Russ' original drawing

    Here's a scan of the original drawing that Russ sent me of his design for this bass
    My computer drawing of the design

    And here is the computer drawing of the design I did for Russ based on his drawing.

    Here a a few pics I took of the neck just before routing for and installing the truss rod and fingerboard.

    front of headstock and scarf joint

    front of headstock and scarf joint
    back of headstock and scarf joint

    back of headstock and scarf joint

    The Camphor Burl bass clef inlay at the 12th fret is in. Next the body wings go on.

    Bass Clef inlay cut out

    Bass Clef inlay cut and ready to go in

    Inlay is in

    Inlay is in
    Headstock closeup

    Camphor Burl headstock overlay
    Finished neck blank

    Finished neck blank ready for body wings

    Body wings are on

    Body wings with tone chambers

    The wood pickup covers are done and off to Kent Armstrong for custom winding and installing of the pickups! Wood is off to THG for the custom volume and tone knobs as well.

    unfinished pickup covers

    Unfinished covers
    First coat of finish applied

    First coat of finish applied, and the insides are sealed as well

    A few pics of the roughed out bass just before I routed the control cavity, battery box and belly contour. I've got a few pics of the bass with the first few coats of finish on, which I will post in the next day or two.

    headstock rear

    Macassar Ebony rear headstock overlay and volute
    Neck heel carving

    Neck heel carving



    Pickups placed in bass

    Just for fun, the pickups placed in the bass
    Rear of pickups

    Back of the pickups, excellent work by Kent Armstrong!

    Some pics of the first coat of oil going on.







    It's on it's way! I must say, I really like this combination of woods. I really like the zebrawood accent layer, it adds a lot of visual interest, as if the camphor top wasn't enough on it's own. The wooden tuner and control knobs from THG are the final touch (and of course, I love gold hardware).

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