Bass of the Week: Lieber Guitars Spellbinder 2001

Stanley Clarke has not only pushed the way people play the bass, he’s helped to push the way people build the bass. The legendary player is known for experimenting with new concepts in bass designs ranging from body materials, electronics, and tunings.

Lieber Guitars Spellbinder 2001 Bass (cropped)

In 1979, Clarke commissioned luthier Thomas Lieber to build an all composite bass. Their partnership resulted in a limited edition run of fifty Spellbinder basses, but the duo broke the bass mold to preserve their value. Over two decades later, Clarke and Lieber decided to return to the project to reimagine the Spellbinder.

“It was 2001 when I received the call from Stanley Clarke,” Lieber shares. “It had been many years since we had last spoke. The conversation was one to engage me and embark upon a New Spellbinder Bass Project. The original intent was to create a platform to launch new electronics and pickup technology. So I created the 2001 Spellbinder Bass prototype. The result was the Original Spellbinder design with a new face, longer scale and a wood sound block construction design.”

The Spellbinder 2001 bass features a neck-thru-body sound block design with a three-piece quartersawn maple laminate neck and quartersawn sitka spruce body wings. The neck, which is reinforced with graphite, is topped with an ebony fingerboard.

Lieber Guitars Spellbinder 2001 Bass controlsThings start to get crazy with the electronics. The pickup system is a collaboration with LightWave Systems that incorporates optical and piezo transducers into a custom bridge. Additional electronics include built in envelope and octave effects. The EQ section includes a stacked knob with mid gain and Q controls, while the master volume and tone controls are stacked on a separate knob. All of the bass’s circuity is hidden in its back beneath a hand forged copper back plate.

All in all, the Spellbinder 2001 is a dramatic change from the original 1980 design. As Lieber writes, it’s “very, very different from its predecessor,” not to mention from your average bass. For more, check out the Lieber Guitars website.

Lieber Guitars Spellbinder 2001 Bass Photos:

Lieber Guitars Spellbinder 2001 Bass Specs:

Construction:Neck thru body sound block design
String Nut Width:1.5″
Scale length:34″ scale
Neck:3-piece (Graphite reinforced) Quatersawn Maple Laminate
Finish:Catalyzed Varnish
Body Wings:Quartersawn Sitka Spruce
Back:Hand forged cooper back plate
Pickups:Lightwave Systems Optical and Piezo Pickups
Electronics:Built-in Envelope, Octave, Mid-Gain and Q Controls

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