Custom 12-String Basses

Custom 12-string basses that have been built by enterprising individuals.

Klingon Bird Of Prey 12-String Bass

Built by Mike's Custom Guitar Works for Odell Robinson
More info

Custom 12-String Bass

Built by William Fellows
More info

Custom Headless 12-String Bass

Built by Walter Griswold of Sapporo, Japan in 2012
More info

Home-Built Custom 12-String Bass

Custom built by Matthias "12stringbassman" Haydn in Germany in 2005.
Close-up photos and details

Customized Hamer T-Bird 12-String Bass

Customized Hamer Inverness Green FB-12 12-string Thunderbird bass


This bass was built by Basil T. "Baz" Cooper from the Chicago, Illinois area. He is the bassist for the band Diamond Rexx.

Baz writes, "Since Hamer refused to build a Thunderbird style multi-string bass, I decided to do it myself using a 1990's USA Chaparral 12ver (no, I couldn't live with myself if it was a Korean one) and an '80's Hamer FB bass."

The bass was painted with nitrocellulose lacquer in Inverness Green.

It is wired volume / volume with a Strat jack. No tone control. The electronics are passive.

The original pickup setup in the FB bass was filled with Honduran Mahogany and routed for the two Gibson Thunderbird pickups. The neck pickup is an early 1980's T-Bird split coil pickup (same as a Fender Precision bass) while the bridge pickup is an early 1990's T-Bird humbucker.

Baz told us, "I did most of the work myself: Chopping off the USA Chaparral neck and chopping the neck off of the FB bass body. I routed the neck pocket to fit the neck, routed and plugged and re-routed the pickup cavities for the T-bird pickups, and painted the bass."

Thanks Baz!

Flying V 12-String Bass

Custom built by Chris Whiteley in the UK.
Read the Article about how Chris built this bass from scratch.

Rickenbacker-Style 12-String Bass

2006 Rickenbacker-Style 12-string bass - Shown here with the original Galveston headstock


George Downing from Tennessee built this Rickenbacker-style 12-string bass using the neck and electronics from a Galveston 12.

George writes, "This was a project for a friend of mine. Yes, he is a Cheap Trick fan. He bought a Galveston 12-string bass because he really wanted a 12-stringer, and that's what he could afford."

"It turned out to be a very nice playing bass despite the price and it being a mass produced import. The neck is quite nice actually but he hated the body. So we got to talking about making a new body for it and we both liked the Idea of using the classic Rickenbacker 4001 shape."

"The wood is buckeye. Originally he wanted it painted black, with white binding. I chose the buckeye because it has super fine grain and would provide a nice smooth surface for the black. Plus, I have a bunch of it. However, when I showed him the wood he went all goofy over it, and so we did it dead clear with tortoise binding. All the hardware and electronics remained stock, manufacturer unknown."

"The neck is bolted on. I considered gluing it in but was not confident that it would hold with all those strings. If I were to build one from scratch I would probably make a neck thru. What a huge sound! It really sounds like it has a chorus pedal on it. I'm gonna have to make me one someday. It's just too much fun to play!"

The modified headstock and finished body with binding

When asked whether he worried that Rickenbacker might object to his use of one of their body styles, George responded, "I'm not too worried about what Ric might think. If they built a 12-string bass, this guy would have gladly sold two or three of his guitars to buy one. But they don't, nor do they seem to have any intention of doing so. In fact he inquired, and got a rather humorous response: Something to do with a fish suspended by a dozen monofilament lines. Also, the construction is almost entirely unlike that of a Ric, except for the fact that it's made of wood. To top it all off, I received no money for it, just did it to build my chops, as it were. In fact I think I spent about 25 bucks on binding, glue and sandpaper, so if Ric really wants a piece of the action, they can send me a fiver."

Mirror Front 12-String Bass

1994 custom 12-string bass, 34" scale, single EMG active pickup. The builder described it as being a "KISS-style" bass.


Starting with a Carvin 5-string bass replacement neck-through-body neck, the maple body was attached with epoxy. The front of the body and headstock are covered with 1/8" thick Plexiglas mirror. The back is covered with a metal flake automotive paint and high gloss finish.



The neck is 1.75" wide at the nut and 2.75" at the 24th fret. Single truss rod. Very unusual!

Chandler-Style 12-String Bass

Japanese custom 12-string bass similar to Tom Petersson's original Chandler Royale.
Produced for Kinko Kenichi of the Tokyo-based Cheap Trick tribute band Cheap Track.
The headstock is inscribed "Cheap Trick".


Kinko Kenichi and his Custom 12-String Bass

Jesselli 12-String Bass

1980? Jesselli Transparent Antique White 12-string bass

Produced by custom New York guitar builder Joseph Jesselli in about 1980. It features a solid body with a shallow bowl sound chamber under the bridge. The body is hand carved from mahogany in the art nouveau style typical of Jesselli's work. The headstock has eight tuners while the other four tuners are positioned on the body.

The custom bridge and tailpiece were made by Jesselli from sand-cast bronze and ivory. The bass has passive electronics with a single volume and tone control. The pickup was hand wound by Bill Bartolini. Mother-of-pearl inlays on the ebony fingerboard and truss rod cover, and it has an ivory nut. The headstock was inlaid with a large "J" which is also in mother-of-pearl.