Bass of the Week: Artisan Bass Works Classic Series

Artisan Bass Works looks at things from a different angle. The Ohio-based company licenses ANSIR Technology, which is a patented neck design that puts the fretboard into a more natural playing position. ABW puts the design to use on their Classic Series to add their own touch to common bass styles.

Artisan Bass Works Classic Bass - Metallic

The Artisan Bass Works Classic basses are available in fretted or fretless versions and several pickup configurations: J/J, P/J, Reverse P/J, and J/MM. They are built with solid alder bodies, maple necks, and a choice of maple or rosewood for the fretboard. Hardware includes a Hipshot bridge, Hipshot tuners, and a Graph Tech TUSQ nut.

The basses come in four finish options: Natural, Black dye, Nova blue metallic, or Tri-Color Traditional Burst.

For more info, check out the Artisan Bass Works website.

Artisan Bass Works Classic Series Photo Gallery:

Artisan Bass Works Classic Series Specs:

  • Industry Standard Playing Angle Neck
  • Fretless or 21 Fret Configuration
  • 4 or 5 String Models
  • Right or Left Handed
  • Scale: 34? Scale Length
  • Body: Solid Alder
  • Neck: Maple
  • Fretboard: Choice of maple or rosewood fret board.
  • Pickup configurations: J/J, P/J, Rev P/J, and J/MM.
  • Pickups: Seymour Duncan
  • Bridges: Hipshot
  • Nut: Graph Tech TUSQ
  • Tuners: Hipshot
  • Finish Options: Natural, Black Dye, Nova Blue Metallic, or Tri-Color Traditional Burst.
  • Topcoat: Satin Lacquer
  • Includes SKB Gig Bag

Get Bass of the Week in your inbox.

Don’t miss a Bass of the Week. Sign up for email alerts (every Monday).

Share your thoughts

  1. This is the worst.


  3. New bass? Or, are you just happy to see me?

  4. I see what they’re trying to do but this just looks wrong. burn them all.

  5. This is why you should never store Viagra in your hardshell case overnight.

  6. ogliest shit I ve ever seen.

  7. Yeah dunno about that just looks wrong.

  8. Looks strange, but now I’m curious to see how it feels. Does look wrong, though.

  9. looks like a boomerang, can you play frisbee with that sh*t!

  10. Ugly, fugly, burn them all! Now that’s not very nice! Come see more of these horrible basses here, you wont be dissapointed!

  11. It’s just a tool to make music with. If it sounds good and if this design would create a greater sense of balance and make the instrument feel more ergonomic then I am on board and I am interested in picking one up in the future! Some of the other instruments on their website are gorgeous.

  12. I expected bassists to be more open minded than this, especially when the design is more than just cosmetic. These comments are disgusting.

    • Thanks David! Musicians like instrument builder’s pour their soul into their craft and present it to the world to scrutinize. Why anyone would bash always confused us, but we will not stop our instrument designing as I hope musician will not stop writing

    • Thanks David. I’m surprised too. Often, we hear “just another XYZ knockoff” for some of the basses shared here… and I know Kevin works hard to find variety and interesting new ideas in this series. But when it is different, then there’s often this reaction too. So it is probably just all personal preference that sometimes gets too “personal”. We’ll keep sharing!

    • In regards to this, you have to keep in mind that most musicians are that, musicians, not aestheticians (or they rarely are). And I can tell you this based on the vast quantity of musicians I know, and because I happen to be one myself, but also one who has actually studied aesthetics and such, in both fine/plastic arts and music. and believe me, having this perspective helps you to appreciate things either from a whole new perspective, or helps you have a greater view of the one you already have. Just my thoughts.

    • Not sure which comment you’re replying to Daniel, but you make a very good point. There’s something else worth mentioning too – which hasn’t been mentioned yet – and that’s manners ;)

    • Corey, I wasn’t replying to a particular message, my comment was aimed at nasty comments I’ve read here in general.

  13. these people making these negative comments are of the same mindset of the petty minded people that told Columbus that the world was flat! Innovation is what drives the world! I’m quite sure these are the same guys who will be down at the ford dealer this weekend trying to buy a model t! so artisan bass works keep building your amazing creations till the rest of the world catches up!

  14. That picture does not do it justice. They look incredible in person. The weight is amazingly lighter than expected. A+++

  15. Sure it looks wired but it is subject to thoughtful ergonomic design. I suspect if I played it on a strap I would be in love, and look at the quality of finishing on the headstock. Clearly tis is a brilliant instrument, and the “Salvador Dali factor would be a talking point at the very least.

  16. Potential haters owe it to themselves to try an ABW bass before slogging it for its distinctive design. The feel is awesome, and there’s great attention to design and detail. Open your minds.

  17. Well, I think it looks good! Looks like it would have good balance too (no neck dive). Congrats for doing something new and unique.

  18. I’m not a fan of the design myself, namely the different angle for the neck, but if it helps to have a more balanced instrument with improved ergonomics and if it sounds good, then bring it on! As to whether it’s ugly or not, can’t say it is, it’s just different. As a matter of fact there basses look very similar in a lot of ways to classic designs many praise for their looks, with the different neck angle. And just for the sake of respect for other’s work, you don’t call something ugly, or fugly or whatever you may feel calling someone else’s work, there are other ways to express your dislike and opinion without being disrespectful. Too bad respect is something that the world lacks so much these days, and it’s also too bad that being entitled to your opinion makes others think they are also entitled to express it in such a “tactless” way.

  19. Fantastic sound, feel and look. Can’t wait to see them on store shelves so “they” can experience ABW…. As always, amazing work Brothers.

  20. Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change-this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over- confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And outof hope, progress.

  21. I like the idea of ergonomic design… and often those designs are in conflict with traditional conventions (torzal twist, dingwall, etc.) But in this case, can’t you just adjust your strap differently to get the same playing angle? That’s what I do. Interesting design though.

    • Jeff, it’s not just a strap adjustment or button placement thing. The neck is in the body at an angle, and askew of center. This not only keeps the neck in a proper playing position, it throws the center of gravity towards the bridge, creating perfect balance. You not only have no neck dive, you cant make it neck dive. Thank you for your open mind, and thoughtful comment.

    • Jeff is wanting a bass that will afford him vertical stability when performing a full 720 degree gainer off a stack of Marshall amplifiers!! lol

    • BTW, happy early Bday big guy!!!

    • Thanks, Knuckles! :)

    • Scott Heath Thanks, Scott. I figured there would be more to it than that. I like to move my bottom strap button closer to the forearm bevel on my basses (like on MTD and others) really makes a difference in the “default” playing position the bass wants to be in. It seems like there is quite an increased distance in this design from the forearm bevel to the pups. Does that translate into a less cramped/arched right hand position?

    • Jeff Schieb Great point Jeff, keeping both the right hand and left wrists in a more natural position alleviates repetitive motion issues. When you think about how much time is spent playing and or practicing, any extra pressure will take its toll on your body. Utilizing our design creates a more efficient transfer of energy from the player to their instrument, the end result is less pressure and an overall easier playing instrument. We get tons of emails supporting our claims; musicians stating they are no longer in pain, the can play better longer etc. The cool thing is the technology is not just for those in pain, but for anyone looking to elevate their playing!

  22. It’s… odd looking to me. On the other hand, I’d love to try one. (And if I bought it and didn’t like it, it’d also be a very cool piece to hang on the wall! Just for peoples reactions… Almost want to call it a Dali bass. :) )

  23. David Pastorius plays a bass with a similar offset-biased body. I believe his is a Tobias, but it has a similar ergonomic vibe. Well done! B)

    • “The basses come in four finish options: Natural, Black dye, Nova blue metallic, or Tri-Color Traditional Burst.”

    • But not the metallic red pictured?

    • Brett – I believe David is an ABW artist. Dan – Each is handmade, so custom options are available, though that may be a standard option I missed. I’ll look into it! Cheers.

    • I hadn’t had enough coffee yet. Pastorius’ bass is an ABW. I meant that it is a “Tobias inspired” design. Hey Dan, notice the bridge on the red metalflake model is different as well… looks like a 2Tek, but top-mounted instead of through-body.

    • He plays an Ansir bass designed by Jody Michael… Awesome company!!!!!!!!

    • David Pastorius plays an Artisan Bass Works Classic Series custom, J/MM. In fact, a David Pastorius signature model Classic Series is soon to be released.

    • Dan Rocha Red Metal flake as shown is available. We offer custom finishing and are soon to release a revamped list of standard finish options.

    • The standard bridge on the Classic Series basses is a KSM Foundation bridge. The red Metal flake is our premium version and uses a Schaller 2000 bridge.

  24. I think these look cool. They’re different. Lot’s of unusual basses get a lot of grief because they don’t conform to the P-Bass or J-Bass shapes, but these shapes are half a century old, and it’s good to be constantly reinventing the bass. Could you imagine if the traditional fender shapes was all that was on off to musicians? How dull would that be! In this basses case it still has a very Fender like head stock and pick up configuration, so I think most players would feel quite at home with this.

  25. Interesting, but not my style. I’m a symmetrical kind of guy. It probably sounds and plays great. If that’s your bag, go for it! Not hatin’ on it!

  26. I think it’s an interesting idea. My only complaint purely aesthetic – the use of a stock J body shape. If you’re going to do something radical like changing the angle of the neck, the body should contain design elements that blend with it. As it is, it looks like a J Bass that someone shook too hard.

    • John M Shaughnessy II, We offer several original body shapes designed for the angled neck. This J style shape is our response to an overwhelming demand for a Fender shaped instrument with an angled neck integrated.

  27. looks different on a cool way… I would love to play it to see how it feels.

  28. I’m just thinking… This is the bass I would take to gig in a house designed by Friedensreich Hundertwasser! it would blend into the surroundings ;).

  29. I’ve demo’d a few… Amazing instruments! Wait till they hit the stores and some of you critics will be singing a differ tune! By the way David Pastorius in fact plays an Ansir bass!

  30. It’s already been done. Alvarez did this in the early 90’s as a production model. It actually played real nice.

  31. Isaac

    Over the past 20 years of playing, I have owned numerous very high end bass guitars. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING comes close to the comfortable ergonomics, feel, sound and playability of my Artisan Classic True Tone bass. I can sit/stand and play my Aritsan bass for hours at a time. I have noticed a huge improvement in my playing over the past few weeks that I have owned this bass, it is so much more fluid and natural. I no longer have to concentrate on getting the bass into a comfortable position to play, comfort is built right in. All I have to do is play and let myself go. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is second to none. I would put my Artisan up against Fender’s custom shop offerings any day! The neck on my Artisan is arrow straight, rock solid yet buttery smooth and feels like it was custom tailored for my hands. To top it off, Artisan Bass Works’ customer service is the best I have ever experienced. They went above and beyond to make sure I was completely satisfied in my purchase. All the big name cookie cutter manufacturers can learn a thing or ten from Artisan. These guys are passionate about their art.

    I have quite the collection of bass guitars at the moment, and they are all going up for sale. They simply feel awkward and cumbersome in comparison to my Artisan. My Artisan will stay with me for life. My current fleet of basses that no longer see the light of day include: Status Graphite S3, Rick Turner Renaissance, Lado Medallion, Spector Euro, Fender Stu Hamm Urge II, Warwick Streamer Standard, Warwick Thumb Standard, Fender American Deluxe Jazz, Fender Elite II P-Bass, Fender American Jazz Bass Plus, Kubicki Factor, US Masters EP4, US Masters Magnus, Fernandes Gravity Deluxe, Ibanez Prestige.

    I am sold on Artisan basses, and already looking at buying a few more instruments from them. Do yourselves a favor and try out these impeccable instruments. You will know exactly what I mean.