Chris Larkin / Single Cut Basses / Natural / Bass For Sale
After almost 25 years I have a new bass range! The idea for singlecut basses came from Joe Gershberg of Joey G Guitars. I had never liked the idea of headless basses for a number of reasons and seldom made through neck instruments either. But these have both and work really well. So why go to a Singlecut? The extended top bout of the body stiffens the neck and the whole bass then has a different resonance which seems to 'tighten' the sound. The carving at the back of the neck extends access to all the frets effortlessly and it feels as if the depth gets slimmer as you approach the body - very strange! The design makes for low weight and perfect balance when strapped up so this is a conforatble bass to wear for long periods. The pictures below are of the prototypes, one fretted, the other fretless, The final spec is not fixed at this stage but I am open to suggestions.
Some details on this one. A fretless, singlecut, 35" scale, through neck bass with Chris Larkin/ Kent Armstrong magnetic pickups and an RMC piezo in the ebony bridge. The carving up the neck makes access to the complete fingerboard effortless.
The through neck is made from ebony, maple and walnut, the body core is alder and the wing facings are Irish burr elm. The fingerboard is extra thick ebony so that a section of it continues through to the tail. The controls are: master volume, three way selector for the magnetics, piezo/magnetic blend and passive tone. Two miniswitches control the coil arrangements for the magnetics.
So how does it perform? The Chris Larkin/Kent Armstrong magnetic is deep and rich, the RMC piezo has wonderful clarity and a 'woody' acousticness. Lots of sustain. Even as a passive bass the range of tones is exceptional. It feels very compact (because it is!) and is so easy to play. I love it!
Prices are exclusive of applicable tax/duties/shipping/VAT
Del's Coffee Pot Bass!
And what about this? A 'one off' Single cut that Del Palmer designed (he built a model of it in paper and plywood in the workshop!) and it shares some features with the basses above. It has a through neck, 35" scale, single magnetic pickup plus RMC piezo and Polydrive 1 MIDI. That is where the similarity ends. The headstock is elegant giving a straight pull on the strings, the body wings are hollowed out underneath the full width, bookmatched, facings and the ebony bridge has adjustments for intonation and height. The strings are fitted through the body and I had to get Malcolm at Newtone Strings to make a special longer than longscale set to make this possible. The 7 piece neck laminates are flamed and hard maples with walnut and there is carbon fibre buried in there too.
The Chris Larkin/Kent Armstrong magnetic is mounted in the 'sweet spot' and this, along with the different construction give this bass a sound of it's own and it is quality. The facings are Irish burr elm and the core is Irish sycamore (it is great to have such wonderful Irish hardwoods available) - the arrangement of the sapwood and heartwood on the front is very attractive. Del intends to use this bass in the studio to drive MIDI devices. Using an Axxon with a soundcard the tracking is excellent right down to the low B. It can get confused if you try to play like Steve Vai on the lowest notes! He has called it The Coffee Pot Bass. I don't know why!
Chris Larkin Custom Guitars, Ireland
About Chris Larkin
I work alone hand building a variety of instruments beside the beach on the beautiful west coast of Ireland. I am in my third decade of guitar making and it is still the best job in the world. And, so far, I get paid to do it. Nothing could be better!
Working alone gives me total control over the process. I do everything from buying in the wood to packing the instruments for shipping and nothing leaves the workshop that I cannot be proud of. Each day I look forward to going to work and learn something more about my craft. The more I learn the more I know I have to learn. And there is no Holy Grail in guitarmaking, there are too many variables in hand making an instrument to be sure of anything. The traditional 'rules' are there to be tested. At this stage, working with wood has become largely intuitive for me. And I am a wood junkie!
The wood junkie on the left is cuddling enough yellow cedar to make at least 40 flat top guitars when he cuts it up. This yellow cedar board is perfectly quartersawn with 80 grain lines per inch (31 per cm). Yellow cedar makes great archtops (jazzers and mandolins) and is also very good for steelstrings. In my opinion more people should try it.
The man on the right is taking instruction from Melody (the guitar building dog and real brains behind the business) on the best way to carve the top plate for an ASAS Semi. (yes Harvey, it is yours!)
I produce a limited number of master grade instruments each year almost all of which are exported (thanks to contacts made by exhibiting at the Frankfurt Musikmesse since 1985). Naturally I use the finest available materials. My designs are original, practical and, I think, beautiful. My instruments are individual for individuals.
My wife Syra is a professional painter (there she is on the left working on a portrait of Robbie Overson which was used for his album cover) and after years of makeshift workshops and studio space we finally designed and built our ideal workplace attached to our house in 1997. Syra has most of the upstairs with great natural light and wonderful views over the bays and mountains while I have the ground floor and an upstairs sprayroom. All of my areas are humidity controlled (47% RH) which gives me great confidence in dealing with the wood and the assurance that the possibilities of future climatic damage to instruments is limited to extreme conditions (which instruments should never be exposed to anyway!).
It is possible to order from a dealer or directly from me at the workshop. When a customer makes an order they will fill in a Conspec which is a document that specifies all aspects of the intended instrument. The Conspec is exchanged between me and the customer being changed by agreement until we are both happy with what is to be made. At this stage a firm price and delivery date is set. The Conspec now becomes the blueprint from which I will work when I am making the instrument. The Conspec can be changed at any time up until the start of building with agreement between the customer and me. As both the customer and builder have a copy of the Conspec there should be no surprises on delivery! Payment.
For orders from the workshop a non-returnable deposit of 30% is normally paid when the Conspec is agreed and the price is set. The balance is payable on completion of the instrument. A photograph of the finished instrument is sent to the customer (by mail or email) to show that the building is complete and shipping happens when the balance of the money reaches my bank.
For orders from dealers the payment details should be arranged with the dealer concerned.
Shipping costs are the responsibility of the customer. For orders from the workshop I can arrange shipping by insured courier at cost if required.
Someone once said that the only two things you can be sure about in life are taxes and death! I can tell you a bit about the taxes.
Orders from the workshop that are to countries within the European Union to persons who are not registered for VAT will have Irish VAT included in the price at the rate that is current at the time of payment. Orders outside the European Union will be free of Irish taxes but note that most governments charge some sort of tax on imported instruments. Check what this will be locally. Orders from dealers will include whatever taxes are relevant in that country.Your dealer can tell you about this.