This is a custom single-cutaway body designed to accommodate the multiscale (33″-36″) neck. Made from a solid piece of redwood burl, it still features the neck-through construction and 35° of twist of a Torzal Standard. Besides the redwood and a killer birdseye maple fingerboard, the bass features one Nordstrand Fat Stack pickup with stacked volume & tone controls and the latest revision of the fantastic Toone & Townsend bridges.
We knew it would happen eventually, and that time has finally come. The first fanned-fret Torzal just left the shop, destined for a good home and steady gigs in Florida. This bass is a 4-string, with scale lengths from 34.5″ to 32.5″.
This bass has a 5-piece wenge/maple neck with a stunning Zircote fingerboard. The top and back of the body are different varieties of flame maple (with matching headstock veneers), and a center core of lightweight spalted maple. Again we used the new Toone & Townsend bridges (one of the first production sets), which were perfect for this bass. Nordstrand Fat Stack pickups and an Audere preamp are the perfect complement to the bass.
Luthier Rick Toone has been busy developing some very high quality new hardware for guitar and bass, in partnership with Townsend Machine. He engaged a circle of innovative luthiers to beta test the prototypes before entering into full production. Earlier this year I tested the individual string bass bridges, and while they have made some changes based partly on our feedback, these prototypes are fantastic just as they are. In fact, I was so impressed I asked my next client if I could use them on his bass.
Along with the bass bridges, Rick has designed a very impressive new headless tuning system and an intonation adjustable nut/individual string headpiece for headless guitar. Actually Rick has a long list of impressive innovations and creations which you can read more about at http://www.ricktoone.com/. You can find Rick’s report on this blue Torzal at http://www.toone-townsend.com/2011/04/little-guitar-works.html.
What’s cool about the bridges are that they are lightweight anodized aircraft aluminum, but the saddles have full contact directly to the instrument body. The saddles are machined titanium, which was found to have the greatest musical qualities of many materials tested. There are also many advantages of being individual string units, including string-to-string isolation, and flexibility for a variety of uses (string spacing and scale lengths) including multi-scale designs. (Stay tuned for the first multi-scale fanned fret Torzal with the new production Toone & Townsend bridge, currently under construction).
As for Blue Myrtle, it’s a Torzal Standard 5-string with a maple/wenge neck, wenge fingerboard, swamp ash body with a figured myrtle top. Here’s what her owner had to say: “It is beautiful and is an absolute joy to play. The workmanship is perfect, as I knew that it would be, with you building it.” Thanks Jim!
We have redrawn the classic Fender Jazz bass and of course added a new twist, a 20 degree Torzal ergonomic neck. The body is slightly smaller and more curvy (i.e. sexy), with reduced weight and better balance. The neck features a headstock that is again reminiscent of the old familiar, but the nut is angled down 20 degrees for unparalleled comfort. Like most of our other bolt-on Torzals, the neck is flat (zero degrees) at the end of the neck, and the bridge is angled up approximately 4 degrees. Top notch components complete the package, including Nordstrand pickups and Hipshot hardware. Shown here is an alder body 5-string with a tobacco sunburst, and a swamp ash 4-string. The 5-string is available for purchase!
Here’s a singing 5 string with a slightly shorter 33 inch scale. This bass features a red maple/wenge neck with a wenge fingerboard and an english sycamore body. English sycamore is in the maple family, and although it is hard, it is a buttery pleasure to work. Somehow it sounds the same–articulate, but warm and buttery–very musical.
This bass now resides in Paris, France. I don’t know what it is about those Parisians, but this city tops the list for most Torzals in one city!
This is the second bass with the new “shifted” body style. It also features a one-off set of Little Guitar Works single-string bridges. The client requested single-string bridges and I was in the middle of prototyping some single-string bridge/tuners for a headless bass. I still haven’t achieved a satisfying design with the tuners, but I like these bridge. I appreciate the client’s trust and openness for trying new things. Of course, that should be said for everyone who orders a Torzal!
As usual, I didn’t want to let this one go. The warmth and roundness of the mahogany and quilted maple body, combined with the punchiness of the bolt-on and the snap of the birdseye maple fingerboard…..all brought to life through the Nordstrand Fat Stacks and Aguilar OBP-3 preamp.
Apparently Mark, the owner, likes it too. He shared this little vignette with me:
Just wanted to say again,
I love this bass you made for me!
Superlatives galore! Fantastic, Epic, come to mind.
Almost plays itself.
Called up my Fender authorized dealer here in town, Kelly at Seidel’s Music, and told him I was having trouble with the neck on my Fender bass. He said come on up and he’ll take a look see.
As he vacuumed off his bench and turned toward me, I had my new bass pointing his direction with the head facing him. He almost fell down and said, “oh my gosh, I don’t think I can help that”, and then I started laughing and showed it to him.
He’s quite the guitar player and took my bass and played it without being plugged in, and said several times,
”I’m just floored. I’ve never seen a bass this nice”
“Don’t ever change the set up, it almost plays itself”
Thanks again Jerome!
This Torzal Standard 34″ scale 5 string was built for a gentleman in Glasgow, Scotland. This was the first bass with a modified, or “shifted” body style. Basically I took my standard body shape, and shifted the scale back towards the body about 1″, bulging out the butt end of the body. By doing this, the nut is brought closer to the body, reducing the reach while simultaneously shifting the center of gravity for better balance, both on a strap and on the leg (sitting position).
An interesting feature on this bass is an adjustable strap extension on the upper horn. The client sent me a picture of the contraption he had rigged up on his current bass to extend the strap, and this was my solution to meet his wish for a similar result. The strap button is mounted on a brass rod which can extend about 5 inches out from the horn and is secured by two set screws in threaded brass inserts in the back of the horn.
Other features of this bass include include a mahogany body and a mahogany neck-through with a hard maple center strip. The pickups are my personal favorites: Nordstrand Fat Stacks with switchable single coil/humbucking mode. Inside it has an Aguilar OBP-3 preamp with selectable mid switch and preamp bypass switch. The knobs are volume, blend, treble, mid, bass.