I recently discovered San Francisco luthier Ben Lambdin’s new 35″-scale 4-string bass guitars. They’re handmade and fetaure some very good quality hardware and woods.
Ben wanted to make a four string bass with some more low end growl. And rather than go the route of a five string, which is the usual way of doing such things, he has opted to go for a longer scale length of 35 inches and to tune the bass BEAD. So by not going down the 5 string route, he has managed to keep the looks and apparently also the feel of a more traditional vintage-inspired four string instrument.
The photos on the company’s site look sumptuous. I think that he has used a ‘spirit varnish’, which has to be done by hand. He also wanted to achieve a bass that is thin and lightweight to the touch. I would imagine this bass won’t have a heavy ‘plastic’ feel, something that musicians tend to dislike.
Reports online from players that have tried them are all favourable, and they have just been reviewed by bassplayer. They do, however, appear to be a touch ‘neck heavy’, but nothing too bad and I would imagine a good-sized strap would remedy that. I see they are a pretty weighty as well.
There are no audio demos as yet online, which is a shame. On paper these sound like they could be pretty meaty. The company is one I will be watching closely myself, as I like a nice ‘Fender-inspired’ bass, with a bit more in the lower register. So, these may well fit the bill.
Price USD $2,500
Specifications from the Lamdin Guitars site
A 35’’ scale length
Ebony fingerboard & neck plate
Stainless steel fretwire
Honduran mahogany body
Hipshot USA hardware
Ulyate handmade b90 pickups
Volume, Blend and Tone controls with passive electronics
Spirit varnish finish hand applied over sprayed shellac sunburst.