Bass of the Week: Ray Ross Bass No. 20

This week we’re featuring the work of Aaron “Ray” Ross, a Missouri-based builder who began making basses to supplement his own collection. “I make basses by hand in a VERY modest shop,” Ross explains. “This started when I wanted a fretless bass but could not afford one.”

Ray Ross Bass 20

Ross builds each bass by hand with an assortment of materials. His five-string Bass No. 20 features a laminated Bolivian Rosewood body paired with a 150-year old walnut neck. As with all of his designs, the bass has a 32.5-inch scale with 24 frets. The padauk fretboard reaches beyond the 24th fret all the way to Nordstrand Big Single pickups.

Another signature aspect of the bass is its bridge. “The bridge itself is the world’s first saddle-less instrument bridge,” he writes. “Until now, bridges typically served three purposes, one: a place to anchor the ball end of the string, and two: to provide a means to intonate the instrument, and three: a means to set the ‘action’ or the height of the strings off of the fretboard. That is why there is always a bit of an angle to the saddle on every instrument from high to low strings. The purpose is to get as close as possible to perfect intonation without sounding weird to the human ear. While my bridge is not unique in that respect, it is quite unique in the removal of this critical piece of hardware. What resulted put simply is a straight line. This may not sound like much, a straight line, but acoustically something marvelous happened.”

The bass, which weighs in at 9.35 pounds, also features Gotoh tuners, Fender pots, and a matte poly finish.

For more information, check out the Ray Ross website.

Ray Ross Bass No. 20 Specs:

Scale:32.5 Inches
Body:Laminated Bolivian Rosewood
Neck:150 Year Old Walnut
Fretboard Radius:Compound
Pickups:Nordstrand Big Singles
Electronics:Passive, Volume/Volume/Tone
Bridge:Ray Ross Patented
Finish:Matte Poly

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Share your thoughts

  1. Van O

    Love the string saddle design!

  2. Beautiful bass with an innovative bridge approach. I guess less is more ;-) BTW is it tuned BEDAG, does the scale handle the B string well?

    • Sorry for the typo, I meant BEADG

      • Yes it’s great. BEADG.. I have made as small as 30 1/2″ before and felt the B was a little thuddy. I ultimately arrived at 32 1/2″ as a solution. That plus the bridge is clear as a bell. the high treble setting on this bass sounds exactly like the guy from TOOL. Not sure how I did that. I am currently trying to do soundbites for all the instruments on my website..Complicated process but dang, you gotta hear it!