Helms' Custom 12-String Bass

This custom 12-string bass was built by Josh Helms of Helms' Custom Basses in Salem, Oregon. It was a special order commissioned by a customer and is the only 12 that Josh has built thus far. Josh writes, "Being that 12's are pretty rare, I took the commission just as much for the chance to play it as anything else, and I'm glad I did because it's one of the coolest basses I've ever played."


2004 Helm's Custom 12-String Bass

This bass has a Mahogany body with matching headstock, graphite reinforced Maple neck, Macassar Ebony fretboard with no inlays, with 24 frets plus a zero fret and brass nut. The electronics are a pair of Bartolini W4 soapbars with passive volume / volume / tone knobs. The bridge is a Schaller 471 8-string bridge that was slotted for the extra octave strings. The tuners are Gotoh GB-7's and Grover mini's. It has a side mounted and recessed Strat type jack.


Helm's headstock

"You know, the headstock is one of the things that I really wanted to try and make a little less obtrusive, being that 12-string headstocks definitely take the cake in the 'They're Just Plain Big' category. I also wanted to try to do it with a little style as well. The beveled headstock edge and recessed tuning machine nuts were all part of the plan to keep the headstock on the smaller side (for a 12) but still nice and strong."

The bass is strung in the Inverted string arrangement. "As far as both my client and I were concerned, it was the way to go. Having the octave strings on the treble side of the fundamental strings really seemed to do a lot for the finger style playability."

When asked if he would be interested in building more 12-string basses, Josh replied, "I'd love to, they're totally cool!"

 

Helms' Custom Basses is presumed to now be out of business.