There is nothing quite like a custom-built high-end bass guitar. They play superbly, look good, and most importantly have that awesome clarity and depth of sound that only the combination of the best tonewoods and the best pickups can produce. But they cost so damn much!
Or do they?
This is a beautiful Royale Carve Top fretless bass (with Maple fret markers in the fingerboard) made by luthier Neil Shoemark of NS Custom Guitars in the UK - click here to visit his website. In fact, Neil has advised that this, serial number 51, is the first of the Royale Carve Top model he made, and as such he is regretful that he sold it, as he normally keeps the first of any new model for himself.
The body is gorgeous 1-piece Ash with a carved, bookmatched flamed Maple top, while the neck is a 7-piece lamination of Mahogany and Maple with a stunning Purpleheart centre lamination and lovely-feeling Ovangko fingerboard with Maple fret position markers. The fretless neck was custom-made for the original (previous) owner.
Hardware is high-grade, with passive Kent Armstrong pickups and Wilkinson bridge. The bass weighs a nice light 3.9 kg (8.6 pounds), and scale length is standard 'long-scale' 34". The neck is described as a Jazz profile, but it is a nice, slightly chunky-feeling neck with a natural, oiled finish to the fingerboard, and a thin nitro-cellulose finish to the neck (and body). Width at the nut is 42mm (1 5/8 inches), and 57.5mm (2 5/16 inches) at the 12th 'fret' position. There is no wear showing at all on the fingerboard, an indication of how little it has been played. This has instantly become one of my favourite basses, so will be carefully gigged until sold.
Totally hand-made, totally grouse.
And at an unbelievable price for a handmade, custom-built bass in near-mint condition (this bass was barely played in the one year it was owned by the original owner). This bass will come in a brand new CNB hard shell case, and has just been fitted with a set of my favourite flatwound strings, La Bella 760FS 45-105.
Sold to Shane