Wandering around the halls at the NAMM Show is great for finding unique instruments. While browsing Hall E this year I saw this killer four-string fretless built by Tim Seisser of LowDown Bass Guitars. With all the interesting body work and the stunning fingerboard, I had to find out more.
“This bass started as an effort to use some really nice cutoffs I had in the shop that I didn’t want top throw away or burn,” Seisser explained. “I had a decent sized piece of superior alder leftover from some previous builds that I knew I could use as a lightweight core. In addition to that, I had a bunch of nice Mahogany, Maple and Zebrawood leftover that I could use as alternating stripes to do a “rainbow bass” inspired body, as the alder was too narrow to use on it’s own. I used a bunch of layers of Maple and Mahogany veneers as well to accent the alternating layers. Then I just capped the body core with a real nice 2-tone Flame Maple top and very nicely colored Mahogany back.”
Its roasted ash neck is topped with a Marblewood fingerboard, which Seisser says is one of his favorites for fretless basses. “It is extremely hard and handles the roundwound strings fine with a nice bright and clear tone. I initially chose Marblewood because it’s Janka rating and the fact that it looks a lot like Zebrawood, which I knew would tie in nicely visually with the Zebrawood ramp and knobs. As with all my instruments, bolt on neck design with steel threaded inserts. This particular body actually features a slightly smaller lower horn for easier access to the upper portion of the fingerboard. I try to have subtle differences in all my builds to make each and every LowDown unique.”
Seisser finished the bass off with a set of Nordstrand pickups and electronics as well as Hipshot hardware.
LowDown 2017 NAMM Show Special Custom Series 4F Fretless Bass Specs:
|Body:||Alder core with Mahogany, Maple and Zebrawood accent layers and veneers|
|Top:||2-tone Flamed Maple|
|Neck:||1 piece Roasted Ash|
|Headstock:||Top matching Maple headstock cap with hand inlayed Chrysocolla stone emblem, Maple and Mahogany rear headstock veneers|
|Pickups:||Nordstrand NJ4SE Hum-Cancelling Pickups|
|Electronics:||Nordstrand 3B-5a preamp with push/pull active passive volume and push/pull mid frequency selector|
|Straplocks:||Dunlop Dual Design|
|Other:||Zebrawood knobs, Zebrawood cavity cover, Zebrawood top ramp with Mahogany and Maple accent layers|