November 2002

Autumn's Delight

Rod's Bass
What you're looking at is a very special custom bass. Rod had been thinking about getting a custom bass for a while. When he visited our shop, we just received a round of some amazing Burl Padauk. As soon as he saw it, he knew it would grace the top of his custom bass. In fact, Rod's bass is the first instrument we made from this striking wood. The pictures can't begin to do it justice - the figuring resembles polished marble more than wood. The colors are gorgeous autumn hues with orange, peach, rust, and crimson. The figure is a heavy burl with a fantastic flame pattern superimposed. Nature's artistry is hard to beat.
While the bass starts out as a Series I, many custom options and special features set it apart as a true work of art. The Ebony neck laminates and accent pinstripes are an elegant touch (and sound darn good to boot!). The clean look of no inlays focuses all the attention on the wood.
Another idea Rod wanted adapted for his custom bass was the curved body like the Ned Steinberger designed Spector basses. Using that shape as a guide for the basic form, we modified the upper horn to match the sleek appearance of the bass. We had to change the curves to fit all the Series I electronics as well. You can get an idea of how the bass curves from the reflection in the photo at the bottom of this page showing a closeup of the body.

Hardware We decided to echo the curve of the body in the bridge design. Both the rails that support the intonation screws and the top of the sustain block match the curve of the top. It's one of those "little things" that go almost unnoticed in the final design. We also elected to conceal the hardware in the bridge to keep everything streamlined.
Bookmatch detail Since Rod went all out for the Burl Padauk top he wanted to see as much of it as possible so he ordered our bookmatch to center option. The bass is neck through construction, but we cover the neck with the top laminate. Sounds easy, right? It's actually a tricky woodworking maneuver to get the fit just right around the fingerboard.
logo inlay When Rod placed his order, he visited the factory to tell us his specifications in person. One look at the inlaid logo on an in-production instrument was all it took to add it to his spec sheet.
But he wanted to make his a little more special and had us add the rays coming from behind the Mother of Pearl cloud. As the inlay artist, James was given the freedom to select the materials that suited the job best. He chose different types of Abalone for the rays to convey the feeling of the full color logo. James also found the perfect piece of Abalone for the Dragon's circle - it looks like the lines are radiating from the Alembic at the center.
All this is inlaid below the finish and is completely smooth to the touch.
plate binding On the back of the bass we used non-burled Padauk (Vermilion). It's the same species of wood as the top, just without the burl figure. To make the whole design make sense, we made the backplates capped with the Burl Padauk like the front. In this closeup, check out the small Ebony binding around each plate. For the battery plate, we were originally going to match to other plates, but decided the continuous wood looked even better.
Rod was pleased with this bass that we're starting a matching fretless.

Peghead front Peghead back Back curve Body
Peghead front Peghead back Back curve Body

Front Back


  • 4-string Series I bass
  • Ebony fingerboard
  • Burl Padauk top
  • Burl Padauk backplates
  • Ebony accent pinstripes
  • Custom body shape
  • High gloss polyester finish
  • 5-piece Maple and Ebony neck
  • Concealed hardware curved bridge
  • Nickel plated hardware
  • Custom control configuration
  • Inlaid logo with shell and rays

Price available on request.

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