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Bass of the Week: Safran Basses Iris Acoustic Archtop Bass

Safran Basses Iris Bass

This week we’re checking out an incredible acoustic bass guitar by Safran Basses called Iris. Hand built by luthier Umut Dal, the bass was dreamed up to bring the best of upright and electric together.

“The idea behind my archtop acoustic bass Iris is to close the gap in between electric and double bass,” Dal writes. “I have seen similar basses in the market and noticed one problem they all had in common, they don’t sound like a bass! In order to achieve a deep acoustic bass tone I had to think outside the box, in fact, I had to create a new box! There are no references or information about how to approach building an instrument like this. I had to use all my technical knowledge and merge it with creativity. It took over two years and several attempts to develop Iris.”

He built the bass with traditional wood choices including maple for the back and sides, spruce for the top, and ebony for the fingerboard. The neck, however, is a less traditional choice: Douglas fir. Dal writes that it has an excellent weight to stiffness ratio. He also arched the soundboard by hand and tuned it to a “top-secret gradual thickness.” Purflings on the back and top protect from cracking while adding a decorative line.

“The amplification of this instrument is achieved by a piezo element under the bridge. It isn’t a generic brand. It is custom and it is different from harsh sounding ceramic piezos,” the builder explains. “I also recommend a clip-on microphone in conjunction with the piezo in order to capture the acoustic essence of the instrument. If you are an electric bass player and want to have double bass sound or a double bass player looking for a more practical instrument to move around, I have built Iris for you.”

Safran Basses are made by hand in Belgium.

Safran Basses Iris Bass Specs:

Scale:90cm (35.4″)
Body Sides and Back:Master Grade Flamed Maple Back and Sides
Top:Master Grade Seasoned Spruce Top
Neck:Douglas Fir
Fingerboard:Ebony
Pickup:Custom Piezo
Tuners:Schaller Lightweight Tuning Machines
Strings:Thomastik-Infeld Spirocore Strings

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