April 2002

Ocean Blue

Trip's 8-string "Is that a bass?", "How big are his hands?", "What is it?", "Who is this guy?" are just some of the many questions asked by visitors to our factory while this bass was under construction. Afterall, it isn't every day you see a bass that challenges the very definition of "bass," and it is this challenge that belies the anscestry of this project.
Trip Wamsley was demonstrating gear for Gallien-Krueger amplifiers at a NAMM show and was introduced to the Wickershams by their friend Doc Greene. They were totally amazed by Trip's talent, wit and enthusiasm. It was clear to all that an interesting project was about to begin. Originally, this project was to be a baritone guitar. After the four days of the show, and many cups of coffee, the idea of this bass started to take form. What did Trip want most from this instrument? That the sound should "explode." So a combination of woodworking and electronics features were selected to help make the exploding sound get out of Trip's head.
The pickups are arranged so that the four lowest strings have one output and the four highest strings have another. There is also a mono output that combines the signal from all 8 strings. Inside are jumpers the allow Trip to route the 4 pickups any way he wants between the 2 channels.

string spacing

With a massive neck comes massive hardware. Since we make the bridges and tailpieces for our basses inhouse, it it's entirely possible to make the hardware for a custom bass. Trip specified the exact fingerboard dimensions he wanted on this bass. He even had a chance to feel the bare neck before we painted the bass to make sure the contour and spacing were as he expected. With his approval, we went ahead and painted it with our Oceanburst green to Carribean blue clear finish.


The front and back of the peghead are matching Quilted Maple veneers. Anytime we paint a burst finish, Bob sprays the burst patterns on the front and back of the peghead, front and back of the body and even along the edges of the neck.

truss rod cover The truss rod cover tucks nicely around the bass strings neck pickup. All screws for plates and anything adjustable are never wood screws - we use machine screws with threaded metal inserts, to prevent stripping.
It's in this picture that something else unusual is evident: the flat fingerboard. Trip plays this bass with touch style techniques, and gosh darn it, he just wanted it that way!
side position LEDs For basses that are meant to be played live, side LEDs are not always a luxury. On a dark stage, that little reminder of fret positions can be reassuring. Plus they can impress your friends, not to mention in this case are color coordinated.
up tailpiece To see how easy it is to change the strings, look up from the tailpiece. In this picture, you can see how the ball end of the string is securely anchored by the tailpiece. When you relieve the tension from the string, the ball end easily slips out. Bob machined this chrome plated tailpiece from solid brass, precisely made to match the bridge spacing.
side jacks The side jacks are mounted on a chrome plated solid brass mounting platform that James made. It's hand carved to follow the curve of the bass and countersunk so it doesn't disrupt the countour at the edge. The jack mount is curved on both the outside and inside - James designed the plate so that the cables fan out. The plate also protects the finish from misfires when plugging in to the jacks. jacks before mounting
Front Back


  • 8-string Rogue
  • 32.00 medium scale
  • AAAAA Quilted Maple top
  • Oceanburst finish
  • Side LEDs in green
  • 11-piece Maple and Purpleheart neck
  • Custom electronics
    • split pickup configuration
    • volume, bass and treble for each channel
    • output for each set of pickups, plus combined output mounted on plate
    • on/off switch for LEDs
  • Chrome plated custom hardware
  • Zero radius Ebony fingerboard

Price available on request

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