Custom 12-String Bass

Built by Bill Fellows

Bill writes, "I originally had a chaparral 12-string bass and that was when I discovered your website. I enjoyed it and even played a few gigs with it. I ended up selling it but I missed it greatly. I decided since I had intimate knowledge of this kind of instrument I would attempt to build one from scratch since no one seemed to offer a double octave neck."

"I also prefer Bartolini pickups and I liked the look of the heavy Schaller Bridge from your article on the Music Man 5-string bass conversion."

"You may have noticed that it has different color tuning pegs. This is for two reasons. First, we have all broken strings by cranking on the wrong tuner. This way you go for the corresponding color and you always get it right. The other reason is it actually looks less insane than matching color pickups. I don't know why."


"This is my first attempt at something like this. The construction is mahogany sides, maple and purple heart neck with a purple heart fingerboard. There is volume and tone for both pickups and a selector switch between the pickups like a Rickenbacker. The mini's operate a series / single coil / parallel switch on each pickup. You can get 14 different sounds out of it. I hate changing batteries and they leak so this bass has no preamp. It doesn't need one. It's plenty hot enough."


"It took a few months until I got to the finishing. I don't have a booth so I had to do it by hand. Since I am a perfectionist I did it over a bunch of times. I went for poly because I also do slap and pluck style and I wanted it to hold up. So basically off and on for two years. But it's the prototype and there are two other basses I was building at the same time, a 7-string bass and a 4-string bass."

"I made all the parts from scratch. Warmouth doesn't make these kinds of parts. It is a neck through construction."

Thanks Bill!