Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Introduction to the Ed Goode Six String Barker Project

He bought his Barker Bass used, so I never really got to know him until his writings--terse, direct, entertaining, well spoken--showed up on the Barker Bass forum and elsewhere, always with kind and enthusiastic tidbits about his relationship with this vertical bass. I started paying attention to Ed Goode

Then the hammer. He wanted a six string. He is one of an elite crew, the Extended Range Bassists, who have used the bass as a vehicle to explore not only new sonic territory but to challenge conventions of building the very instrument. Stew McKinsey comes to mind, as do others such as Gregory Bruce Campbell.

One of the builders who consistently rises to the top in this realm is fellow Oregonian Fred Bolton who consistently pushes himself and his designs into admirable results.

So with a confluence of gently unrelenting pressure from Ed and inspiration from players and builders, I figured out a way that I could sidle into this genre of instrument without a full-on retooling away from the heart and soul of the company--the four and five string Barker basses.

Ed leapt at the opportunity, which required him to furnish me with a 6 string bass guitar of his liking. From that, to reduce the process to a mere line, I have the components to produce exactly what he is looking for: The Good Stuff of a Barker with Much More String!

In the images above you'll see the very rare wood which will grace the front of this bass: quilted fir. I had just a few boards to select from, and this one wins because of consistency of pattern and color match. Both sides are shown. The board will be resawn and bookmatched for the front of the bass. Also note how the colors in the fir bring out the reds and browns in the rosewood fingerboard.

From time to time I'll bring you up to date here on this process, which will be interwoven with another effort in the shop which, in a sense, heads quite the other direction but is driven by enthusiasm equal to that of Ed. Soon you'll meet Craig.

Without these two bassists, this could have been Just Another Summer.

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