Bass of the Week: Rybski Wooten Woods Camp Bass

Rybski Wooten Woods Camp Bass - bodyIn 2010, extreme flooding left a trail of destruction across much of Tennessee including the area surrounding Nashville. Many musicians from all walks of life were affected by the natural disaster. Wooten Woods, Victor Wooten’s home base and teaching haven located near the Duck River, was temporarily overrun by water and had to be evacuated. Thankfully it was restored with the help of the family and friends.

Signs of Mother Nature’s wrath are still occasionally found at the river bend that borders Wooten’s land, and Slawomir Waclawik and Benjamin Harrison of Rybski Basses decided to make the best of the situation.

The duo set out to craft a bass out of only materials found in Wooten Woods. The river bend provides for interesting woods by exposing them to moisture, warm temperatures, and nutrients from the bio-rich river. With the help of Wooten Woods grounds keeper Glen, Waclowik and Harrison removed interesting driftwood and sections of downed trees from the location and took them to their shop in Wartrace, Tennessee.

The resulting Rybski Wooten Woods Bass is built entirely from their harvest, excepting the hardware and electronics. The bass’s top was cut from the trunk of a washed up box elder tree. The striking red streaks are caused by a natural defense mechanism in the tree that causes chemicals to be released during stress. Similarly, other woods on the bass exhibit spalting, which is coloration caused by fungus growth. The fingerboard is spalted wester sycamore, and the pickup covers are spalted maple. Rybski also found hackberry and walnut for the body as well as maple, oak, and bodock to make the laminate neck.

As if that’s not cool enough, the bass’s position markers are tiny shells taken from the Duck River that were sliced with a gem saw and suspended in a polyester resin, then inlaid into the fingerboard.

All the effort of creating a truly unique bass didn’t hinder Rybski from focusing on it’s playability. Similar to their other models, the bass has a thin, fast playing neck and comfortable body shape that balances well sitting or standing. They fitted it with a hand scalloped brass nut and Hipshot hardware including a Type A bridge, Ultralite tuners, and a D-tuner on the E-string. The custom handwound Rybski P/J pickups are matched with an EMG preamp with a 3-band EQ and a parametric midrange for tonal flexibility. DR Strings bring it all together.

As you can imagine, the bass was a real process. Check out this sneak peek video of the making of the bass. It starts with Victor Wooten being presented (and surprised) with it at camp, and his reaction is priceless:

Rybski Wooten Woods Camp Bass Photos:

Photos by Liz Hamilton Design & Photography

Rybski Wooten Woods Camp Bass Specs:

  • Body: Hackberry core, Walnut Accent
  • Top: Box Elder Top
  • Neck: Maple, Oak, Bodock
  • Fingerboard: Spalted Sycamore
  • Inlays: Shells from Duck River Suspended in Resin
  • Pickup covers: Spalted Maple
  • Back Cover Plates: Spalted Maple
  • Pickups: Rybski P/J
  • Electronics: EMG Preamp with 3-band EQ, Midrange Frequency Ring
  • Bridge: Hipshot Type A
  • Tuners: Hipshot Ultralite, Hipshot D-Tuner
  • Nut: Hand Scalloped Brass
  • Strings: DR Strings

For more info, check out the Rybski website.

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Share your thoughts

  1. That just became possibly my favourite bass in the world. It’s gorgeous and sounds amazing. I LOVE it.

  2. S?awomir Wac?awik ;) a polish consonant “?” is spelling like english wh in word “what” – pretty simple ;) by the way great bass, great luthier, great site – THANK U 4 EVERYTHING!

  3. I own two Rybski basses and they’re hands down my favorite basses to play. They’re so comfortable and easy to play plus I can dial in any tone I want. Plus, working with Rybski is a pleasure. He’s one of the nicest guys and a super cool cat.

  4. best basses in the world.

  5. I was fortunate enough to meet them at Wooten Woods this year during Victors bass/nature camp. They had the top facing with them in its raw state. It was vivid then, but now after finishing it’s knockout. I’ve no doubt that the sound is brilliant.

  6. True artist! All the guitars he builds are true customs and are 100% functional art!

  7. These rybski basses are awesome. I played this model at wooten woods and it was amazingseeing all the detail in the bass.

  8. What’s the price range? I want one.

  9. I was there to help present this to Vic and it is an astounding piece of work. This bass and my two Rybski Signature models represent the best craftsmanship I’ve seen in my nearly thirty year career.

  10. Chauncey Sullivan

    I got ripped off by the guy who makes these basses. He calls himself Rybski but his real name is slawomir waclawik. He took 2500$ from me and blew me off. Oh and by the way, he makes these instruments on a CNC machine. They are not handmade. I got proof and a video!

    • You are totally wrong, I have been to the shop plenty of times. Not cnc made at all! I’m having my second built right now. The only thing considered cnc might be his inlay rig, but again that’s the inlays, not the bass itself. I have as well as any Rybski owner, pictures of the entire build. Find someone else to bad mouth, not a true craftsman.. James Bolin

    • Jamie C.

      You need help. I’ve been watching your posts all over the place and it’s pretty clear that you are just trying to harm this man. What you are doing is sick and it needs to stop.

  11. Chauncey Sullivan

    This guy Rybski riped me off!

    • What a lame attempt to undermine a real bass builder! I personally hope that you get sued for defamation of character! There is a community of Rybski owners who can all say everything that you state is false and not a word you say is anything close to how his communication with customers takes place!
      James Bolin

    • Jamie C.

      You can add me to the list of people who are VERY happy with Rybski. He’s still building my first Rybski custom, but his professionalism and communication have been great through the whole process, and he has been extremely forgiving of my rather late payment schedule. He’s emailed me photos of the entire process, and he’s just about the nicest guy I’ve ever met. Every instrument of his that I’ve played has been fantastic, and every owner of those instruments has had nothing but praise for the man. I’ve watched your video, and it’s pretty disturbing. It’s not very flattering for you. It’s clear you have an axe to grind, and that you’re a petty and otherwise unreasonable person. You’re very likely what most business owners would refer to as a ‘customer from hell’ and having owned businesses in the past, I can see that in you from a mile away. One last thing, Chauncey… Posting libelous accusations on YouTube and demanding money to take them down is called blackmail. You’re on very thin ice at the moment in that respect.