Ansir Music is sponsoring a bass giveaway this month on No Treble. One lucky reader will get a custom-built Ansir bass, and they’ll be posting videos and photos throughout the coming weeks to showcase the building process for the prize bass.
Ansir founder Jody Michael has a unique process of building basses. First, he starts with a questionnaire. Players are asked a series of questions about the overall characteristics of their current instrument(s), their desired sound characteristics, playing positions and angles and neck preferences for their new bass, as well as the types of music they play. Ansir tries to get as much information as possible, often spending hours going over the details before ever putting a pencil to the board or considering cutting a piece of wood.
“Once I have a solid idea of the tone and characteristic the client – by now a friend – is trying to achieve, we can now concentrate on the body style,” Jody shares. “Do they want one of our designs? Do they want one of our bodies modified? Do they have their own ideas, sketches etc? Chances are if they can draw it, we can build it.”
Jody measures the player for his or her perfect playing angle, using Ansir’s measuring apparatus, a patented measuring device used exclusively to measure a customer’s perfect playing angle for use in the manufacturing of the instrument. Ansir stands for “Angled Neck Stringed Instrument Resource”, and the pparatus has a movable neck with a measuring template at the base of the neck. A customer puts the apparatus on in the standing or sitting position, he then lifts the neck up into his own perfect playing angle. Next, a technician reads the information from the body of the instrument. This information is recorded and your perfect playing angle is manufactured into your own truly custom instrument.
Jody takes the wood selection part of the build process very seriously. “If they want a warmer sound, we will lean towards Padouk or a Bacote’. If they want a brighter sound, we will lean towards Wenge or Bubinga. We then accent or compliment with a plethora of other exotic woods, and we have the luxury of being near one of the finest exotic wood distributors around.” Jody often sends photos of wood from the distributor’s location, via his cell phone, to the client to help select the right combination.
Once the wood is selected, Ansir’s team begins the layout process by taking a cardboard pattern and putting the grain puzzles together. Once they determine the most aesthetically pleasing look, they send more pictures to the client for approval. Once approved, they start the glue-up, cut-out and “sanding sanding sanding”, all while performing continuous resonance tests to make sure the sweet spots stay as close to the pickup placement as possible.
All the wiring, bridge placement, fret leveling and set up is done in a separate quiet location.
“We continually do a resonance test to make sure the sweet spot stays as close to the pickup placement as possible,” says Jody. “Every step of the way I use micrometers, dial calipers and indicators to create a precision instrument. My first career being a high precision machinist helps in this process. Oh, and we believe in passive electronics.”
Jody adds “When the bass is done and ready for the strings, at this point I still get such a rush the moment the first string is put on and strummed. It’s like you have created a living breathing entity that one day may travel the world, be seen on TV or stage, be cherished and enjoyed for generations. Each and every bass that Ansir Music builds, we are connected to in a spiritual way. That is why to this day I have never met a bass or a bass builder that I haven’t respected or learned something from.”
The contest ends March 31st, 2010. Click here to enter.
For more information on Ansir Music, visit their web site.