Bass of the Week: Stradi Apollo Symphony

Stradi Apollo Symphony Bass

Luthier Marek Dabek of Stradi Basses has been wowing us for years, and this week we’ve got another jaw-dropper. David Sutkin shared his new Stradi Apollo Symphony Bass that is an evolution of the standard Stradi model. The bassist and NYC bassist worked closely on the details of the design for over a year, says Dabek.

The luthier kindly gave us a full rundown on the collaboration:

“[We] spent countless hours choosing specific, select woods, design concepts, and details like aesthetics, electronics, pickup positions, bridge types, etc. all with a focus to create a very special instrument with great functionality and a unique, individual character. Ultimately, the level of satisfaction from the first designs to the final build left us both feeling that we’ve designed something truly unique and special.

I love to work with people like David – people that inspire me to push my own boundaries for example asking if I can create black frets to contrast the pale moon ebony fingerboard? I love these challenges and I was extremely happy with the results. The frets now have now the same specific black dull shine similar to dark, gunmetal.

Another challenge was to create the option to route separate, individual signals to allow each of the 4 strings to run independently through different effects chains but still have the ability to use the bass traditionally when needed. As a result, we ended up with a 4-coil pickup custom built for us by Humless Pickups. Using two stereo Y cables, we can run separate, individual string signals through any desired effects chains or use a standard mono cable that turns the bass signal back to a traditional, operational setting. The wiring was quite a challenge as well. I wanted to go as simple as possible with a passive setup and just one switch to change the operational mode using a common quad volume pot and tone pot, this functionality gave me pure satisfaction!

The bass has a solid construction with a deeply roasted flamed oak body and beautiful book-matched piece of roasted flamed ash for the top and a thin line of contrasting maple in-between. The top carving brings even more elegance to the ash as it enhances the beautiful flaming that corresponds nicely with the natural wood grain. The neck is made with 3 pieces of purpleheart with roasted oak linings between. A big thanks to Mr. Adrian Maruszczyk for his help getting us such a beautiful piece of pale moon ebony for us to use for the fingerboard! for side position markers I used crushed jasper stone in a nice marine blue color, surrounded by pure silver outlines.

The bridge is a saddle-less construction design by Ray Ross, fitted on ebony support to accommodate it to the carved top design. The tuners used are Gotoh Res-O-Lites with the added addition of a Hipshot Xtender equipped with a double-stop lever so the low string can go down from E to D and even drop C. Aurora black string finish the aesthetic beautifully.”

Stradi Apollo Symphony Bass Specs:

Construction:Solid body with set neck
Body:Deeply roasted flamed Oak
Top:Roasted flamed Ash, Maple underline, carved
Neck:5-piece, Purpleheart / roasted Oak, top matching headstock
Fingerboard:Pale moon ebony, jasper/silver side markers
Electronics:Custom individual coil per string by Humless Pickups, roasted oak cover with pale moon ebony top, oval shaped.
Controls:Quad Volume + Tone, mono / quad operation switch, 2 output jacks
Bridge:Ray Ross RRB4B
Tuners:Gotoh Res-O-Lite, Hipshot Xtender with double-stop lever

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Share your thoughts

  1. Greywoulf

    Beautiful looking wood on this bass’s fretboard and body! Interesting modern experimental electronics! So why would anyone create two annoying little wood stabbers on the top of it? -Just to make it more uncomfortable to play? I just don’t understand designers; they appear to not take human interface into their designs at all sometimes…

    • Marek

      Thank you for your comment Greywoulf – you pointed out the thing that concerns lots of people seeing Symphony design. Luckily I would never build a bass that won’t follow the players ergonomy – the back is carved smoothly by hands to make sure those little corners will never cause a discomfort.

    • Not uncomfortable at all, but a pretty sight. (Jochen (Stradi player)

    • ZP-Chien

      As a proud Stradi owner, I undoubtedly agree that Marek is a top luthier, and the artwork I own is the best in terms of sound, aesthetics, and feel. If I had to choose boutique bass again, I would not hesitate to make the same choice.

  2. david sutkin

    As the VERY PROUD owner of this absolutely brilliant piece of musical artwork, I am still in awe of Marek’s work. The bass plays like a dream. The fit, finish, aesthetics and tonal variations are incredibly inspirational. I have a very vast collection of basses, many being high end custom builds and this Stradi Apollo Symphony bass is easily the nicest one. Bravo Marek, Bravo!!!! …. And thank you NoTreble! You guys are the best of the online bass world!

  3. ZP-Chien

    As a proud Stradi owner, I undoubtedly agree that Marek is a top luthier, and the artwork I own is the best in terms of sound, aesthetics, and feel. If I had to choose boutique bass again, I would not hesitate to make the same choice.