Bass of the Week: Esperanza Spalding’s South Paw Fretless 5-String

Esperanza Spalding with South Paw Fretless 5-String Bass

If you happen to follow Esperanza Spalding’s Facebook page, you might have seen from photos of her Radio Music Society summer tours that she’s wielding a slick new 5-string fretless.

The bass is a South Paw, created by NYC luthier Simon Propert, and it’s one of a kind.

“Each bass is custom and a little different, so there is no model name,” Propert shared. “They’re all the same basic shape, but each one evolves into something different.”

Esperanza’s bass is centered around a maple body with off-center maple and ebony strips that complement its jet black ebony fingerboard and maple neck. The pickup is a Bartolini Stingray Five that’s wired to a three way switch that toggles between the coils. It has three modes: series double coil, parallel double coil, and single coil, which utilizes only the neck coil.

Esperanza Spalding’s South Paw Bass Photo Gallery:

Esperanza Spalding’s South Paw Bass Details:

Body:Mahogany, Maple, Ebony
Pickup:Bartolini Stringray 5
Controls:Volume, Tone, 3-way Toggle

Photos of Esperanza Spalding performing by Daniele Solavaggione, Russ Kirby and Willeke Machiels.

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Share your thoughts

  1. Now that’s cool! I’ll have to find some video of this in action!

  2. Beautiful instrument. It plugs in in the back!

  3. How, in any way, is this a “left-handed” instrument?

  4. thats a real cool bass,even cooler with esperanza behind it

  5. It makes so much more sense to put the jack in back. Why doesn’t anyone else do this?

  6. Al Gates

    Does the toggle control series/parallel action?

  7. Al Gates

    Sorry didn’t read all of article……

  8. Not a south paw (left handed) bass but very nice

  9. Ben Johnson

    Why is it called a South Paw if it isn’t left handed?

  10. New world -wow! I would love to play an instrument this ergonomically clever and forward-thinking.

  11. Al

    Lovely Bass with some similarities to Fenders Tony Franklin signature Precision. Ebony neck, 3 stage toggle. The Fender isn’t a 5, but it does have a Hipshot on the E.