Technical FAQ about certain details of the instruments
As you might know by now, we use a specially developed synthetic material and construction for our instruments. They have an outer skin of approx. 3-4mms in one piece, while the rest is completely hollow. Yes, also the neck and even the headstock – if not headless. That´s why they are light. Very light!
Our material has some carbon in it – which is one of the reasons, why it is expensive (approx. 10-15 times more, than what others pay for so-called “noble woods”). Just as a sidenote: one carbon layer also shields the complete instrument from outer interferences – completely, right up to the pickups….. You can´t do it any better.
Back to construction! If you have a hollow, light instrument with such a small outer skin, you also play directly on a resonance chamber – with both ends of the vibrating string, maximising the vibrational energy transfer to the body, which
a.) is light, to have a good ratio of vibrating string and body mass, giving the best and fastest response and interaction
b.) also has an extremely well and even “velocity of propagation” across almost all frequencies and the whole instrument
c.) the combination of inner and surface resonances gives you the most complete spectrum possible
It´s up to you to finally check the results, but we believe, that this is the most responsive, dynamic and sensitive way to reproduce the movement of your strings. Being made out of a synthetic material also makes it immune to humidity- and temperature-changes. (Of course, there are limits for the temperature!)
Most people call them futuristic, but we don´t feel, these are anything special other than ergonomical or optimised for tonal reasons. Period!
Read the introduction to each model, to learn more about their individual characters and fortitudes.
If you want something that differs from our standard shapes: We can do almost any shape you can imagine! BUT, already understanding what you want can take a lot of time, not to mention the final work. In case you are looking for a personal shape, just ask – you never know, it might be less, than you expect. Adding a scribble or a pic of an instrument, that comes close to what you want, always helps.
Headed vs. Headless
As you can see in the gallery, we make both headed and headless instruments, while on some models, the headed versions still use headless tuners. Overall, we have a slight emphasis on headless.:
Well, this one is difficult, because it´s mainly about getting used to it and/or a matter of taste. Some people call headless a fashion of the ´80s. Okay, if so, those headed ones are the fashion of the ´50s.
As much difference, as these 30 years made for other technologies, headless does have a couple of advantages over headed.
Headless basses are very compact, which lowers the overall weight, and simplifies travelling and moving on a small stage.
– Moving the tuners from the head to the body gives a much better balance. Nowadays, no one should use neck-heavy instruments, since bad balance more often causes back problems, than overall weight.
– Tuning stability
Linear tuners have a much better tuning-stability, since the “active” length of the string is much shorter and elongation happens on a shorter length. Also, there is no slippery of string windings on those classic tuners.
– Zero fret
This is not just a headed/headless argument. We use them on all our instruments because the open strings will sound exactly like the rest and also, because a well positioned fret gives you the most accurate heigth and low action. And finally, you don´t have to file nut slots, because you want to use a different string gauge.
– Dead notes
A dead not is one, that is e.g. lower in volume, sustain and often misses substantial parts of the lower register. These are often caused by inferences with a vibrating headstock. Note, that there are many other things, that can be involved….
In short: Imagine, the string being anchored at two points (nut and bridge) and the neck and body reacting to the vibrating string with an opposite movement to compensate. The headstock does the same, but mainly in-phase with the string. The overall result is a partial elimination of the tone.
This is basically why headless instruments don´t have dead notes (or much less, because of the other things involved).
Active vs. passive electronics
This is another often and almost religiously discussed topic.
Since active and active is not always the same, let´s state the features, it must have (and our BassXX preamp has), before one can compare these configurations:
– True bypass (active/passive switch)
Every active circuit relies on batteries, so whenever it runs out of power, there must be a way to bypass them. If it´s a real bypass, it´s even better, because there is nothing in the way of the weak passive signal. Additionally, switching between active passive should not cause any difference in volume or tone, otherwise you clearly have some sound-influencing elements in the signal-chain.
– Low power consumption
The BassXX needs approx. 0.5mA – it doesn´t get much less, at least not for a dynamic preamp. Dynamic needs some power in the backhand.
– Battery control
Our BassXX preamp was (or still is) the first and only on the market to give you control about the status of the battery. There is an LED, that starts to flash, once you have only approx. two hours of undistorted playing time left.
– Battery change
Most players change the battery directly before a gig. Best experience is on a dark stage, unscrewing the cover of the electronics housing (8-10 screws), changing the battery and screwing the 4 screws (the only ones you could find on that dark stage) in there again.
So: no active preamp without a quick and toolfree way for a quick battery exchange.
– Noise and dynamics
As with everything else, you´ll only get good results, when using good parts.
See the technical details of our BassXX preamp and compare that to others. Not many – if any – can stand it.
Following our premise of having the very best signal to start with as input, we only need the preamp to alter the tone, not to produce or correct anything already being faulty! Making the outcome fit for an environment, style or embedding in an overall band sound.
These things said, one can start a fair comparison of active and passive and finally bring personal preferences into the discussion.
The hardware is the main connecting element between string and instrument. Good hardware should be lockable, so it doesn´t suck up vibrations. 3-D adjustability should be another must-have for versatility.
We prefer our ETS hardware, made out of brass. You can also get lightweight aluminum hardware, but we don´t appreciate their uneven mid-range tone, although this can also be a matter of taste.
– Codes and effects
We use acrylic paints for all finishings. These are usually applied on top of a groundcoat as a first basecoat and then two layers of clearcoat (with the logos and markers in between). The colors can be plain, metallic-, metalflake, pearl-effect or one of those candy-, flip-flop-, or harlequine ones. Most metallic- or pearl-effects are already included in the standard pricing.
The easiest way for us, is to get your preferred color code – be it RAL or a car manufacturers coding system. Sample pics from the web will help, but are pretty unaccurate.
A simple multi-colored version is to set the fretboard and/or pickguard apart from the rest with a different color. Different designs will also work. Once again, having a small scribble will help us to understand, what you want.
– Water-transfer prints
This a very new, unique and versatile design method. There is a basecoat applied at first and then a sort of a print via a transfer foil. These transfer foils come in hundreds of designs. Right now, we are working on choosing a basic set of designs. Each of these can be combined with all different basecoats, making it an almost endless pool of designs possibilities.
We use Dalano pickups as our standard. Besides of being well done with much attention to detail, we also love their clear tone and detailed mid-range (Check out our links, to see their different models.). Almost all of these are also splitable.
We prefer to use quiet humbuckers, but will use whatever you prefer.
You can also have piezos as an additional or only pickup. We use ETS piezos in combination with our BassXX piezo preamp. As always, we can also use whatever you want.
All our instrument are made upon request and since they are handmade, this always takes some time. Standard build time is approx. 3 months, depending on our overall amount of work at the time of ordering and the speciality of your order. Often, delivery time also depends on those of our hardware suppliers. Ask us and we will let you know…..
Contact us and we will make you a personal offer, incl. price, delivery time and all other details. You can reach us via our request form or use the mail or phone addresses on the contact site.
We finally set up an order confirmation for your very own instrument. Once you would like to order, we need a 50% deposit to have the hardware costs covered. During the building process, we can/will always keep you informed with some pictures about the current status of your order.