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Compact Encyclopedia of British Bassmakers Compiled by Jan Berendsen

AC Guitars Current production of standard & custom basses by Alan Cringean in Moffat, Scotland. Models are the Harlot, Skelf and Recurve. Features are two-piece body with top, set or Bolt-on neck, five piece graphite reinforced neck, Hipshot hardware, ACG designed FatBass pickups (made by Aaron Armstrong) and the ACG filter preamp (developed with John East). This preamp has separate lowpass filters for each pickup and a treble control with adjustable frequency. Scale and woods are determined by the customer.

Ashbory Since 1987; Unique little bass designed by pickup maker Ashworth Electronics and luthier Nigel Thornbory. This small bass with a short fretless neck, 18” scale,silicone(rubber) strings and piezo pickup has a remarkable doublebass-like sound and is frequently used by (studio)musicians. First production by Guild (‟87-‟89) in the US, later models by bass shop Bass Centre and Korean production by FMIC under the DeArmond (until ‟04) and Fender brands.

Alan Arnold Acoustic guitars an basses made by Alan Arnold in Goldalming near Guildford since 1994. Pictured is the 34” scale AB49 with special bracing and offset soundhole. It‟s made out of mahogany, rosewood and spruce with a graphite reinforced neck. Headway electronics are optional.

Ashley Pangborn

Andy Viccars Current production of custom instruments by Andy Viccars in Milton Keynes.

Arrowhead Current production of custom instruments and parts by Paul Creedy in Duston.

1980-late 80s; Standard & custom basses made by Ashley Pangborn in London. Pangborn has moved to Hamburg, Germany working for Gibson. His basses are most known for being played by Mark King in Level 42‟s early days. Pangborn has made three basic models, very much influenced by Alembic. Topmodel is the neckthrough Warlord. The Chieftain has a bolt-on neck, the Warrior is a cheaper model.

2 Awe

Barrios (BMI)

Custom guitars and basses currently made in Newton Abbot, Devon.

Mid „00s production of custom instruments by Barry Owen. The Barrios electric upright has a seperate body that can be attached for more volume.


Axe Budget replicas of famous instruments made out of used parts by The Painted Player and sold through internet. One example is a bass just like one of John Entwistle‟s „70s custom instruments.

Electric uprights, creatively designed since the „90s by Alan Hatswell in Whitstable, Kent . Current models are the portable acoustic Mini Bass and the Hi-Tech RC (a solid EUB). Early models had a 34”scale, intended to crossover to bassguitarists. These models include the collapsible Model C and the plastic Jazza.

Bassurgery Expensive handmade basses made in the mid „00s by the retired dental technician Kim Seaubourne in Worcester. The Bassurgery (prices from £ 7000) is a painstakingly handmade bass out of light woods and featuring Lightwave pickups with options like a built in tuner and exclusive leather cases.

Bailey Current production (since 1998) of custom instruments by Mark Bailey in Maybole, also “Build Your Own” classes. Mark started out working for Patrick Eggle. Bailey has made basses with letter-shaped bodies (like his „Sex Bass‟) and straightforward Fenderlike models but now offers modern neckthrough basses.

Baldwin Instruments made by Burns were sold under the label of its American owner, the Baldwin company between 1965-1970. The models are the same as the Burns range at the time: Bison, Baby Bison, GB66, Jazz Split Sound, Nu-Sonic en Vibraslim. The Shadows signature model seems to be the most popular model.

Bender Custom guitars & basses made by Brian Eastwood who‟s most known for his thematic guitars like his „Blue Moon‟ guitar. The 3D shaped Bender Collision looks visually crooked and distorted but this is done on purpose to achieve better playability. Other feature is a series/parallel switchable Kent Armstrong P-pickup.

3 Benjamin Guitars Current production of custom acoustic guitars and basses (starting at GBP 2750) by Nick Benjamin in Lewes, Sussex. Benjamin‟s ABG has a jumbo size body, long scale and graphite reinforced neck.

BR (Black Rose Guitars) Current production (since 2005) of standard & custom basses made in Haverhill, Suffolk. The standard range is all about simplicity with a choice of four bodystyles (one being axe-like), bolton necks and one pickup. Custom basses range from vintage Jazz replica to modern active fivestrings.

Bravewood Guitars Current production of standard & custom guitars and basses by John Bravewood in Redruth, Cornwall. Bravewood used to make modern neckthrough basses out of exotic woods but since the success of his Vintage Replicas he now concentrates on artificially aged Fender copy‟s with a lot of attention to detail.

Bridge Production of (semi-)acoustic bowed instruments and an EUB. Bridge started in the „90s in Sleaford. The Electric Bass (2250 GBP)is a hollow instrument without f-holes made out of carbonfibre and kevlar. Its neck is one piece maple with an ebony fingerboard. Former employee J.Glen makes a wooden version under his own name.

Broadway Brandname (late „50s – „60s) of British distributor Rose-Morris for British made instruments from the same source as Fenton-Weill, Vox, Dallas and Hohner guitars & basses. From the early „60s on Japanese instruments made by Guyatone, also sold under Antoria and Star brandnames. Broadway was also sold through the Bell mailorder catalog. There‟s one Broadway bassmodel (#1875), probably made by Fenton-Weill around ‟61.

Brook Current production of acoustic instruments by Simon Smidmore and Andy Petherick in Exeter both used to work at Manson Guitars. The Otter is an ABG without cutaway and available in two versions: 010 (1900 GBP) and the upscale 015 (2400 GBP) with bound neck, gold hardware and detailed inlays.

Burns Guitars and basses made by James Ormston Burns (who died in ‟98) starting in 1960. Jim Burns has been named the British Leo Fender by his fans but actually his career looks more like that of Mosrite‟s Semie Moseley. Innovative instruments with active EQ (1962) or radical shapes (Flyte) did not guarantee successful sales and Burns had to close shop more than once. Starting out with his Supersound guitars in ‟58, teaming up with Henry Weill in ‟59 and going solo in ‟60 for the most successful venture, producing several classic instruments. The 60‟s saw him making Ampeg guitars too, and after selling his company to the American Baldwin company also under the Baldwin brand until closing business in ‟70. After working on the Hayman range he set up a new version of Burns bringing in the talents of the Shergold company (‟74-‟83). The radical designs did however not catch on. In ‟91 Barry Gibson picked up the trail with British made and later Korean(from ‟99) and Chinese (from ‟04) reproductions of classic Burns designs and even adding a fivestring model. The first Burns bass is the Artiste (‟60-‟62), followed by the Vista Sonic (‟62-‟64) and Burns‟ most successful creation: the Bison. This was made in different versions between ‟62-‟70, ‟80-‟83 and reissued since ‟94. The first version has a large body with a bolt-on neck, bound ebony fingerboard, 33,5” scale, 22 frets, three pickups and four inline tuners. Later versions (like the Baldwin Model 516) have rosewood „boards and 2x2 scrolled headstocks, from the „80s on 34” scale, no scroll, 2x2 tuners, 21 frets and two pickups. The Baby Bison (model 560) has a smaller body and two pickups. These Bison designs were a great inspiration for the „60s budding Japanese guitarmakers, both Ibanez and Aria have made Burns Bison like guitars and basses. Other models are the G.B.66 ('65-'66), Jazz Split Sound ('64-'70), Nu-Sonic ('64-'66) and Shadows, made between '64-'70 for Hank Marvin‟s popular band. The Vibra-Slim ('65-'70, Baldwin model 549) has a scrolled headstock and a thin body with three pickups. Designs of the „80s are the Concorde inspired Flyte and the Scorpion eith it‟s extreme cutaways. „90s reissues are the Bison and Scorpion

4 basses with the Marquee being a „new‟model based on the „60s Jazz Split Sound.

Chennell Standard basses made by double bass maker Toby Chennell in Bournemouth. Chennell makes the Arco ABG, a double bassshaped acoustic bass guitar with 34” scale that can be played arco and pizzicato in upright or guitar position.

Burns-Weill In 1959 Jim Burns and Henry Weill made guitars and three different bass models with an original design that would be modern even by today‟s standards. Burns did the woodwork, Weill worked the electronics like he‟d done before for Dallas – Britain‟s first electric bassmaker in ‟57. Burns left after a year to start his own Ormston Burns company. Henry Weill continued as Fenton-Weill, Fenton not being a new partner but a reference to one of the Burns-Weill guitar models. Most seen bass is the angular Super Streamline. bass_guitar.htm

Clifton Limited production (since 1986) of about eight basses a year by Mo Clifton in Blackheath, London. The Downright (from GBP 1300) is a five string bassguitar with 36” scale and Kent Armstrong pickups, available both passive and active, fretted or fretless. The Mini-Upright is an EUB with 1/4 doublebass scale, fretmarkers on the side of the fingerboard and a Realist pickup.


Chris McIntyre Current production (since the early „90s) of custom guitars and basses by Chris McIntyre in London. Base price is 1350 GBP for a fourstring bass in Telecaster or Jazzstyle.

Coley Custom & standard instruments currently made by James Coley in Carmarthenshire, Wales.

Colin Keefe

Dalmedo Custom instruments currently made by Tito Dalmedo in Preston, Lancashire. De DB has a mahogony body with maple top, bolton neck with ebony fingerboard and optional Seymour Duncan Electronics. The DC is a Jazzstyle bass with a lot of custom options. Pictured is the BC Rich-like Gorgo fivestring.

Custom acoustic instruments made by Colin Keefe in the East Midlands. Keefe has built electric basses.

Crimson Custom & standard instruments made by Ben Crowe in Henstridge since 2005. Crowe was previously associated with Scorpion Guitars Ltd. Basic models are the Artemis (mahogony body, maple top, bolt-on neck) and the neckthrough B5 with Basslines MM pickup, sapele body and fretless wenge fingerboard.

Dave Meg Music Custom stringed instruments made by Dave Megannitty in Burnley, Lancashire. Dave makes four- to sixstring basses - "any shape you like (within reason!)" - with traditional woods and choice of bolt-on or neckthrough construction.

Dallas Instruments made in Britain and Asia between „50s and „70s. The first British made electric bass is the Dallas Tuxedo ('57) with pickups and electronics by Henry Weill (Burns-Weill, Fenton-Weill). Distributor John E. Dallas & Sons ( “Johnny Dallas”) was involved with other British made guitars too, like Shaftesbury (until '65) and Hayman (until '75) and imported Asian instruments like Jedson. Dallas made amps (being the owner of Vox in the early „70s), effects pedals and Hayman drumkits as well – drums actually being Dallas‟ main business since the start of the company in 1875. Dallas will be forever linked with another dealer/distributor: Ivor Arbiter, owner of Drum City and Sound City (well known for their own amp range) – setting up Dallas-Arbiter in the „70s.

DM Guitars Custom guitars since1990 made by Dan MacPherson in Southend-on-Sea, specializing in high quality paintwork.


Eccleshall Custom instruments made since the „80s by luthier Chris Eccleshall in Buckfastleigh, Devon. Basic models are an 335 style semiacoustic (as used by Peter Hook and Simon Gallup) ,the bolt-on Cruiser bass and the original design Excalibur

Dan Armstrong (London) Though mainly know because of the American made Ampeg plexiglass guitars and basses Dan Armstrong spent the early „70s in the UK designing guitars and effects. The set-neck London Bass model was made with short or longscale and a single movable Dan Armstrong pickup (Dan is the father of renowned pickup maker Kent Armstrong).

Enfield Custom basses currently produced by Martin Sims in Ashford, Kent. Sims entered the guitarmaking world in „94 with his innovative LED position markers and quickly expanded in making other guitar parts. The Enfield name comes from Sims‟ father‟s successful raceboats. Enfield basses (from GBP 2650) have bolt-on necks (with graphite option), elaborate active electronics and the eyecatching “Super 8” pickup which consist of eight coils that can be split/combined in various ways.

Eastwood Guitars Custom guitars made by Brian Eastwood, see: Bender.

E Basses Standard and custom basses made by Nick Smith and Ian Hancock in Petersborough since 2000. Earlier models are the Aztec, Toltec, Crusader, Saracen, Genie and Hornet, available in bolt-on (Roadwarrior) or neckthrough (Osiris) versions. Current model (2007) is the pictured Valiant mk2 with redesigned electronics, Kent Armstrong pickups and Gotoh hardware, available in several wood combinations.

7 Erasmus Standard & custom basses and guitars formerly produced by Erasmus Guitars in Swansea. Models are the angular Trident (as pictured, with Kahler tremolo and OBL P-pickup) and a fivestring with three cutaways, wooden bridge, two humbuckers and complex electronics.

Fingerbone‟s bass is the four- and fivestring Fastback, made out of mahogony and with Kent Armstrong pickups.

Frank Usher Custom guitars and basses made since the „70s by Frank Usher in Innerleithen, Scotland.

Ethos Current production of custom instruments since 2004 by Paul Hancox in Redditch. The pictured Lucky bass is an EB3-styled neckthrough with a chambered alder body and active EMG PJ-pickups.

Feline VK; 1997-heden. Custom instruments made by Jonathan Law in Croydon,Surrey. Models are the B52 (Telecaster-style) and Valentine, based on the Spuler/Ibanez Affirma.

Fingerbone Standard & custom made guitars and basses made between 1986 – ‟89 by Paul Richardson, starting out in the former Manson workshop in Crowborough. Later he joined acoustic builder Matthew Carter in Brighton. The Fingerbone trademark was sold to Mark Hammock and afterwards to a guitarstore in Sevenoaks. Leftover parts have been assembled with secondhand Westone and Tanglewood parts by Geoff Mason in ‟92.

Finch Custom guitars and basses made by the London based luthier Jeff Finch.

8 Fret-King Standard guitars and basses designed by Trev Wilkinson and made by Patrick Eggle Guitars in Southport. Wilkinson is known for making high quality guitar parts and also involved with brands like Vintage and Italia. Fret-King models are divided in two series: the limited production British made Green Label and the imported Blue Label. The pictured Europa IV has a Thunderbird shaped korina body and three humbucking pickups. The Europa Stereo has three P-pickups with separate outputs for E/A- and D/G-strings. The Esprit is a similar imported bass with PJ pickups and a reverse headstock. The Perception is a Fender/style bass with PJ pickups, also available in the Green Label series with choice of PJ and JJ pickups and a ´50s or ´60s neck profile.

cues and came back to full time guitarmaking in ‟96. Current bass is the Magician (2900 GBP), a 34” scale fourstring ABG with walnut body, red cedar and laminated mahogany/walnut/ash neck with ebony fingerboard. Earlier models are the shortscale King Toby among others.

GB Standard and custom basses made by Bernie Goodfellow in Brighton since 1995. Goodfellow was previously involved with Goodfellow and Nightingale. All electronics are made in house, all woodwork is done by hand without CNC machinery. Models are the neckthrough Rumour and the Bolton Spitfire.

Ged Green Basses and guitars currently made by Ged Green in Cheadle,Chesire. Ged Green basses feature Villex pickups.

Giffin Roger Giffin worked in London until 1988 for customers like Pino Palladino and John Entwistle, designed the Steinberger M-series (with Mike Rutherford) and went on to work for the American Gibson custom shop. He quit Gibson in ‟93 and started Giffin USA in ‟97, now in Portland, Oregon.

Fylde Standard and custom acoustic instruments made by Roger Bucknall in Penrith. He started making guitars at 9 years old, went professional in ‟73 setting up a business that made as much as 1000 instruments a year, got sidetracked in making pool

9 Gordy GMC Basses Custom basses built by amateur luthier Gareth Cooper.

Goodfellow Standard basses built by Bernie Goodfellow between the „80s and 1996. In 1992 Goodfellow was taken over by the Lowden guitar factory who sold the brandname in ‟96 to Japanese distributor Shinseido – Goodfellow is now used for a range of accessories like gigbags and picks. Bernie Goodfellow continues to make basses under the Nightingale („90s) and currently GB trademarks. Best known Goodfellow bass is the neckthrough Player with Kent Armstrong pickups, pictured is the bolt-on Classic.

Basses and guitars formerly made by Gordon Whitham between ‟84 and the early „90s in Altrincham, Chesire. Models are the Gordy Headless (based on Status designs) and the Blueshift range (1, 2, Deluxe) with angular cutaways, ash body, maple or rosewood fingerboard, one or two pickups, optional active electronics and Schaller hardware.

Graham Parker Acoustic and electric instruments made by Graham Parker in London. His custom basses feature neckthrough construction and two piece bodies.

Gordon-Smith Gordon-Smith was set up in 1978 by Gordon Whitham and current owner John Smith. The company made basses in the early „80s but currently only produces guitars. Whitham left Gordon-Smith in ‟84 to start his own Gordy company. Top of the range is the active Gemini with XLR output and tremelo bridge. The pictured Gyspy has the same mahogany/maple neckthrough construction and GCS pickups – these are individual pickups for each string, 90 degrees turnable for different sounds.The Graduate is a semiacoustic bass with regular pickups.

Grimshaw Standard guitars and basses made by Emile Grimshaw in London between the „50s and the late „70s. Emile Grimshaw sr. was a famous banjoplayer in the „30s. Later he started "Emile Grimshaw & Son" in Londen mainly known for building quality archtop guitars. When Emile jr. (deceased in '89) took over business solidbody guitars (Meteor) an a semiacoustic shortscale bass were introduced. The pictured SS Deluxe bass has been modified.


Gus VK; 1994-heden. Standard basses and guitars currently (since 1994) made by Simon Farmer in Old Heathfield,Sussex. Gus instruments are partly made out of carbon fibre and finished with chrome and metallic finishes. The neckthrough four- or fivestring G3 bass (introduced in ‟96) has a light, compact, pearshaped body made from a cedar core and a carbon shell. The body has a chromed aluminium tube making for the actual guitarshape. Fingerboard is cocobolo, electronics are passive with two lipstick pickups. The G3 Active is an active version with 3 band EQ. Fivestring models have a 35”scale option, fretless versions an ebony „board. The G3 MIDI has additional RMC piezo pickups and electronics for driving Roland MIDI equipment.

Hayman Standard guitars and one bass model marketed by distributor Dallas between 1970 – ‟73. Instruments are designed by Jim Burns and Bob Pearson (formerly of Vox) with woodwork by Shergold, assembly by Re-An and finishing by Derek Adams. After production was stopped similar instruments were being made under the Shergold brand. The Hayman 4040was made between '71 - '73 and based on an earlier design by Pearson with a bolt-on maple neck, maple „board, obeche body and two P-style pickups. Distinct feature of Hayman guitars is the long oversized metal control plate.

Harrison Custom Guitars Standard & custom basses and mainly guitars made by Guy Harrison in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. Pictured is the neckthrough Wolf Bass.

Heart Standard guitars and basses made by Heart Guitars Ltd. in Southend-on-Sea during the „80s. Features are a sixpoint bolt-on neck with heartshaped position markers, heartshaped stringtrees, distinct headstock with heartshaped logo out of wood & pearl, a scalloped brass nut, Schaller hardware and EMG pickups with rosewood rings.

Hugh Falconer Custom instruments made by Hugh Falconer in Aberdeen, Schotland.

Jay Armstrong

Custom instruments made by Jay Armstrong in the late ‟70, early „80s. One model is a headless

11 neckthrough J-style bass with Kent Armstrong pickups.

Jim Cairns. Jaydee Standard/custom basses and guitars made by John Diggins in Birmingham since 1977. Jaydee basses became very popular in the early „80s through the playing of Mark King. During the „80s a regular production line was set up but since the „90s John Diggins returned to small scale quality guitar building. Jaydee basses are all called Supernatural – they were designed for a natural wood look though many later models have a color finish. All basses have set neck construction despite the neckthrough appearance. Necks are laminated mahogany/maple with 22 frets, bodies are Brazilian mahogany with a laminated centerpiece for the more expensive models. Active electronics feature 3 band EQ (10dB boost/cut), active/passive switching and a low impedance XLR output. Hardware features Jaydee own brass bridge with sustain block and Schaller tuners. Pickups are Jaydee‟s own design (currently SN2000) in a laminated wooden casing. Optional are: short scale, 24 frets, passive electronics, fretless, 5 or 8 strings and neck binding. Basic models: Roadie (1 or 2 pickups, active electronics optional), Mark King signature (21 frets, slap groove to facilitate string popping), the 24 fret GA, the Calibas and the pictured J-like Celeste with two slanted pickups. Rare models are the very expensive Studio and Video editions, Thunderbird style instruments and J-style basses (made for Jaco Pastorius).

Jim Cairns has been making custom instruments in North East England since the „80s. Cairns has designed pickups for Burns in the „90s.

Jim Fleeting Custom instruments made by luthier Jim Fleeting in Ripon since 2006. He‟s a graduate of the American Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery and makes and repairs a lot of different acoustic instruments. The pictured Jim Fleeting Custom Bass (from GBP 900) has frets on the E- and A-strings only, koa top, wenge fingerboard and EMG pickup.

J.Glen Jimi Glenister makes custom guitars and electric bowed instruments in Kommetjie near Capetown. He started making jazzguitars in ‟75, moved to the UK in ‟89 for further education. He was co-founder of Bridge in Sleaford, maker of carbonfibre electric uprights. In „04 he returned to South Africa, now making full wood (Bridge-like) EUBs.


John Procter Custom instruments made by John Procter in London since 1994.

JJ Hucke VK; jaren '90-2001. Custom instruments made by Jens Jurgen Hucke in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire since the „90s. In ‟01 the company changed its name to JJ Guitars and is no longer making basses. The neckthrough Tower Farm has an alder body, ogea top, ogea/maple neck and Bartolini pickups and electronics.

John Bedingfield Electric upright basses formerly made by John Bedingfield in Westcliff on Sea.

John Birch Guitars Standard and custom guitars and basses formerly made by John Birch („60s – „80s), currently by John Carling (since 1993). Most „70s instruments are made by John Diggins who left in ‟77 to start his own Jaydee company. Birch specialized in pickup making and developed his line of Flux pickups with large cobalt steel magnets. In the „90s he also worked on MIDI pickups. John Birch basses (from GBP 1499) are mostly based on the Rickenbacker 4001 and Gibson EB3.

KGB Standard/custom instruments currently made by Keith Bennion in Birkenhead. KGB makes headless neckthrough basses with maple bodies and necks.




Standard electric and acoustic basses and guitars made since the „70s by Kif Wood in Perranuthnoe, Cornwall. Kif once worked for Dan Armstrong and is interested in experimental design. The acoustic Kif bass is made out of laminated woods, has a 32” or 34” scale and is fitted with dual piezo pickups. Electric basses have Kent or Aaron Armstrong pickups and passive electronics.

Custom and standard guitars and basses made since 2004 by Bob Johnson in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. Basic model is the B42 with maple body, six point bolt-on maple neck, ebony fingerboard, Schaller tuners and active EQ.

Kinkade Custom acoustic instruments made by Jonny Kinkade in Bristol. He made his first guitar in ‟76 – thirty years later he wrote "Build Your Own Acoustic Guitar", published by Hal Leonard. The Mahogany Classic (GBP 2750) is an acoustic bassguitar with optional florentine cutaway, mahogany body with rosewood binding, spruce top, 34”scale and ebony fingerboard.

Leverty Joint venture of two Orkney luthiers: Dick LEVEns en John FogaRTY. They have made a variety of electric instruments. Fogarty now concentrates on artistic paint jobs for electric guitars. Pictured is the Levens designed Elban 4 solidbody bass. It‟s fitted with a Kent Armstrong humbucker as well as a Roland MIDI pickup.


Les Evans Custom instruments formerly made by Les Evans in Liverpool.

Longfellow Hollow body aluminum guitars and basses currently made by Ronnie Longfellow in London.

Manson Custom acoustic instruments by Andy Manson and electric instruments by his brother Hugh, made in Devon since the „70s. Hugh Manson has built several instruments for John Paul Jones. The pictured Merlin was one of Manson‟s standard models in the „80s along with the Kestrel.

Lucas A.J.Lucas makes a standard range of acoustic guitars since 1990 but makes custom basses too.

15 McMillan


Custom basses made by Ernie McMillan at the Lowden factory. McMillan previously built Goodfellow basses at Lowden.

Custom instruments made since 1979 by Jimmy Moon in Glasgow. Moon had a standard line of basses in the „80s but he now concentrates on building mandolins and other acoustic instruments. Electric guitars and basses are built on custom order only – pictured is a ten string custom bass.

MD (Martin Dixon) Custom guitars and basses (from 850 GBP) made by Martin Dixon in Yorkshire since the early „90s. His speciality is marquetry – refined wooden inlays.

Morgan Custom Guitars Custom instruments made by Neil Morgan in Powys, Wales.




Standard & custom basses made by Tony Wright in Dudley, West Midlands. Wright previously worked as an engineer and educator.

Standard instruments made by musicshop Newton Guitars in Merstham, Surrey. Newton basses are the Devolution (P-bass with ash body, Gotoh hardware and Newton P-pickup) and Devolution II (GBP 799) with PJ-pickups.


Ned Callan Affordable guitars of the „70s designed by Peter Cook and made by Shergold.Similar instruments were sold under the Shaftesbury and CMI names with later models being made in Japan. Peter Cook made custom instruments for John Entwistle and also ran Cook‟s Guitarworld music shop in London until the late „80s. The Ned Callan Cody was nicknamed „Nobbly Ned‟ because of the shape of its cutaways.

Standard/custom basses made by Bernie Goodfellow (Goodfellow, GB Guitars) and Neil McDonald in Croydon during the „90s. Basic models are the Original (mahogany body with exotic top, five piece bolt-on neck – GBP 895), Vision (alder or ash body, one piece maple Bolt-on neck - GBP695), Vision Active (with EQ -GBP795) and the Fourthru, Fivethru & Sixthru (1150, 1250, 1350 GBP)with fivepiece neckthrough construction. Alle models have Nightingale humbuckers and three band EQ except for the Vision.

17 Northworthy


Standard & custom acoustic instruments made by Alan Marshall in Ashbourne,Derbyshire since 1987.

Standard guitars & basses assembled by Freddie Overton. Overton uses Kent Armstrong and Brandoni pickups and imported American woodwork from Custom Parts.

NS (Nathan Sheppard) Custom guitars and basses made by Nathan Sheppard in Clevedon,Somerset since 2001.

NS Custom (Neil Shoemark) Custom guitars and basses made by Neil Shoemark. NS also produces guitar parts and sells tonewoods. Pictured is the Moth bass.

Overwater Standard and custom basses made by Chris May in Carlisle since 1978. May co-designed the Delta (by Carslbro) bass amp range. The first Overwater basses are plain one pickup models made on a relatively large scale (400). Simultaneously Overwater developed an original shaped neckthrough bass (nowadays refered to as Overwater Original) leading to the C Bass. This was designed by bassist Andrew Bodnar and has a 36”scale with C tuning (major third below common bass tuning). Other „80s shapes (with advanced active electronics) are the Artisan and Fusion. The Perception is a simpler bolt-on bass made in the early „90s, succeeded by the Evolution and its neckthrough counterpart Progress (currently third generation, as pictured). The Progress III is available four- to sevenstring, 32”to 38” scale and four levels of construction. The Expression basses are semiacoustics with a solid spruce top, bound mahogany body, maple/walnut neck, rosewood fingerboard & bridge and Headway piezo pickups with Overwater/East preamp. The J-series comprises of four- & fivestring J-style basses.

Patrick Eggle Guitars

Organic Standard guitars and basses made by Duncan Wales in Thorney near Peterborough since 2005. Organic basses have four or five strings and J- or MM-pickups.

Standard guitars and basses made in Coventry since 1991. Patrick Eggle (the man) is no longer involved with this company. The Patrick Eggle Company is also involved with other brands like Gary Levinson/Blade and Fret-King. The Milan Pro IV/V ('92-'97) has a swamp ash body, bolt-on maple/rosewood neck with rosewood fingerboard, 24 frets and Sperzel tuners. Two Kent Armstrong humbuckers are paired with an active contour control (simultaneous bass and treble boost). The New York IV (‟95) is a single pickup version. Between '97 en '03 no basses were made. The second version (since '03) is called Milan 4/ Milan 5(pictured) with a flame maple body, bolt-on maple neck, rosewood (fourstring) or maple (fivestring) fingerboard and 22 frets. Electronics are two singlecoil J-pickups and 'activator' EQ.


Paulman Standard/custom instruments made by Paul NcNab in Huddersfield,West Yorkshire. Models are the four- to sixstring Rex SST (pictured, from GBP 1000, bolt-on five piece maple/bubinga neck with ebony fingerboard, mahogany or alder body with maple top and Goldo pickups) and the fourstring Regia EUB (GBP 2200) with hollow poplar body, maple archtop, two piece maple neck, ebony „board and separate piezo-pickups for each string.

Patrick James Eggle Standard/custom acoustic guitars made by Patrick Eggle in Oswestry. He‟s the founder of Patrick Eggle Guitars, left the company in '95, made guitars under the Redwing brand and subsequently moved to Hendersonville, US. Recently he returned to the UK. His US made instruments (like the pictured Discus Bass) have engraved aluminium plates on headstock, bridge and scratchplate engraving courtesy of former Zemaitis-engraver Danny O'Brien. Currently no basses are offered.

Pete Woodman Standard and custom instruments made by Pete Woodman on the Isle of Man. He is currently recovering from a serious illness and expects to be back in business late ‟09. Models are ABG, EUB and resonator basses.


Peter Byrne Custom guitars and basses built by Peter Byrne in Glasgow, Scotland. Byrne also makes acoustic and semiacoustic basses.

PR Guitars Standard/custom guitars & basses made by Paul Richardson in Durham. Paul started in 1988 with his brother Alan the “A&P Richardson” workshop.

Prose Standard/custom basses currently made by Paul Rose in Chorley.

Peter Cook Custom guitars and basses formerly built by Peter Cook in London. Cook also designed the affordable Ned Callan range made by Shergold. He maintained and built several basses for John Entwistle including the pictured Lightning Bolt as used on ‟75 album “The Who By Numbers” .

Rees Standard & custom guitars and basses made by Clive Rees in Cambridge. The F-Light (GBP 595) fourstring bass weighs under 3kg.It has a chambered body, Seymour Duncan P-pickup and passive electronics. There‟s a fivestring version (Rees5 Bass, GBP 935) with two humbuckers. Both have a maple bolt-on neck with special finish and nitrocellulose lacquered bodies.

20 Gibson and returned to the UK to work for Patrick Eggle. Basses are the CJB4 and CJB5: four- and fivestring Jazz-like with poplar body, maple top and neck, ebony, rosewood or maple fingerboard. Four string basses have Woodworm/Rob Williams pickups, the five string has a single EMG in bridge position and EMG active EQ. The CJB range is current under revision.

RIM Custom Standard and custom basses currently made by Robbie McDade. RIM basses are crafted from exotic woods with high quality hardware and electronics by Noll, Aguilar, Haussel, Delano and Bartolini msguitars/

Rob Armstrong


Custom acoustic (and some electric) instruments made by Rob Armstrong in Coventry since 1971. His first instruments were actually all fiberglass but from ‟74 he quickly gained prominence as a builder of solid wood acoustic „folk‟ guitars for people like Bert Jansch. His very first bass was custom made for Dave Pegg. The pictured fretless neckthrough bass was custom made for Maartin Allcock in ‟05.

Standard instruments made by Kevin Chilcott in the „80s. He‟s returned to building guitars in 2002 under the Royale brand but no longer makes basses. Most important Royal bass is the Electra, nicknamed “Swiss Cheese” due to the many holes in the body.

Ruach Rob Williams Standard & custom guitars and basses made by Rob Williams in Birmingham since 1995, previously under the Woodworm name. Williams started working at Jaydee, moved to the US to work for

Custom and standard basses. Basic models are the pictured Alpha, Turteled and Omega – all neckthrough basses with exotic woodwork and Ruach Electronics. Full custom builds are possible too.

21 Sei Bass Standard & custom basses made by Martin Petersen and John Chapman in bass shop The Gallery in London. Basic models are the headless Flamboyant (from GBP 2040) and the pictured Original. Standard features are neckthrough construction, seven piece maple/wenge neck, 24 frets, 34”scale, three piece body with exotic top, ABM hardware, Kent Armstrong pickups and active electronics. Options are: 35”or 36” scale, LED positionmarkers, headed version, fan frets, other pickups (like the optical Lightwave) and Axon MIDI electronics. The Jazzmodel (four- to eightstrings, from GBP 2100) is a J-bass with swamp ash body, bolt-on one piece maple neck, 22 or 24 frets and Bartolini J-pickups. The limited edition headed 35” Millenium bass celebrates Sei‟s tenth anniversary and has special electronics and piezo pickups. A recent addition is a Singlecut bass.

Scott Standard and custom basses built by Peter Scott, currently on Zürich, Switzerland -previously in Switzerland and the UK. Scott has been working for Swiss guitarmaker Rolf Spuler (designer of the Paradis guitars and the Ibanez Affirma basses). Basses range from modern to Jazzstyle models.

Scrimshaw Custom and standard instruments made by luthier Andrew Scrimshaw. Basic model is the Stonker, a P-bass with limewood body, Schaller hardware and Kent Armstrong pickups. Another bass is based on the Ashbory with a short fretless neck, rubber strings and piezo pickup.

SGL Custom instruments made by Simon Jones in Swansea since 1988.


Shaftesbury Brand name used by distributors Dallas (until '65) and Rose-Morris for instruments made in Italy (EKO), the UK (Ned Callan/Shergold) and in Japan. One Japanese model is a Rickenbacker copy though not based on the famous 4001 bass but on one of Rickenbackers semiacoustic guitars. Shergold made Peter 'Ned Callan' Cook designs under the Shaftesbury brand, a similar model pictured here (also sold as CMI, another British import label) was produced in Japan.

electronics with four different passive modules available (stereo, recording, phasing, bypass) and one active booster circuit. All passive circuits are about different combinations of pickups and coils. Sixstring bass are made too, as well as doubleneck instruments, popularized by Shergolds most famous user Mike Rutherford. The Activator (‟80) is a rare active Shergold with parametric EQ. The Dutch Van Zalinge electric upright inspired Shergold to make a similar EUB at a more affordable price (‟81, GBP 430) with 41” scale, semi hollow plywood body with obeche core and a Polytone pickup (Underwood optional).


Shark Attack Standard and custom basses & guitars with finshaped bodies made by Andy Moore in Scotland. Pictured is the Tao Bass.

Shergold Standard guitars and basses made by Jack Golder en Norman Houlder in Romford, Essex. They started out making guitars for distributors like Rosetti (under Rosetti en Shaftesbury brands), Barnes & Mullins (B&M) and Dallas (Hayman). From ‟75 Shergold started their own line of guitars and basses while still producing for other companies like Ned Callan and Burns (Flyte model). During the „80s production was slowed down and only custom orders were built. In the early „90s production was set up again but halted when Jack Golder died in ‟92. The Marathon Bass (pictured, GBP 187 at the time) is derived from the Hayman 4040 bass, produced by Shergold for distributor Dallas between ‟71 – ‟73 and designed by Bob Pearson and Jim Burns). It has a maple neck, bound maple fingerboard, 20 frets & zero fret, 2+2 headstock with Japanesestyle tuners, hardwood body and one P- pickup in humbucker housing. The similar Modulator has two full humbucking pickups and exchangeable

Custom and standard basses made by John Shuker near Sheffield. Shuker also organizes bass building classes and has his own Low Winder range of bass pickups. The Up 2 (from GBP 1200) is a four- to sixstring EUB with 34",36" of 41" scale, five piece neck and walnut body with exotic top. The P and J are Fender-style basses with several options like laminated neck, top and active electronics. Het JJ Burnel model is a signature recreation of his classic black P-bass. The Artist is a semiacoustic bass with a spruce top, laminated graphite reinforced neck, ebonol fingerboard and piezo pickup. The pictured Singlecut (from GBP 1795) is available in bolt-on or neckthrough construction with an optional Schertler pickup. The Bolt-On (from GBP 725) is Shuker's basic model mahogany or walnut body, five piece neck, two J-pickups and preamp. De Neck-Through (from GBP 895) is similar but with neckthrough construction.

23 Smiggs Guitars

Simon Lee

Custom instruments made by Ryan Smith in Kircaldy, Fife. Modern basses with Smiggs hardware and Seymour Duncan electronics.

Custom guitars and basses made by Simon Lee. Pictured is the passive J-style Panola with two Bare Knucle J-pickups, Badass bridge and maple body with cherry centerpiece. This maple/cherry/maple sandwich is bolted together – a concept that Lee calls „Cyclotron‟ which also involves the use of recycled plastics on some Simon Lee guitars.

the Spike (by McEvoy) Mixture of bass guitar and EUB formerly made by A.McEvoy. This bass can be played in upright or guitar position, bowed and plucked and has magnetic & piezo pickups.

Sid Poole Custom guitars and some basses formerly made by Sid Poole who died in ‟01.

Siggery Standard & custom guitars and basses made by Marty Siggery. Apart from several four- and fivestring updated Jstyle basses Siggery also makes the CR electric upright. It‟s made out of mahogany with a graphite reinforced neck and EMG electronics.

Sovereign Standard & custom guitars & basses made in Wootton Basset, Swindon.


Staccato Limited production of the Staccato Mg bass by instrument designer Pat Townshend and Chris (Mick‟s brother) Jagger between 1985-‟87 in Norwich. Shareholders were the Jagger family and Stones' bassist Bill Wyman. South African born motor racer Pat Townshend worked in the US where he came up with the innovative and oddly shaped Staccato drumkits made out of fiberglass. In ‟78 Yamaha commissioned him to develop a new guitar made out of metal. After trying aluminium Townshend chose cast magnesium for his guitars which were made at John Carruthers workshop in California. Original concept was an interchangeble neck, allowing quick change from guitar to bass or twelvestring. 21 were built under the Staccato name before Townshend moved to the UK where he designed the Staccato bass in ‟83. With funding of members of the Rolling Stones a factory was set

24 up in Woodbastwick, Norfolk. From ‟85 there were about 200 basses made, the most prominent user being Gene Simmons. Townshend then went back to motorsports. Currently he offers a limited number of Staccato Mg basses made from NOS parts. The Staccato Mg (GBP 850 at introduction) is an unique fourstring bass with magnesium neck, fiberglass body and screwed carbonfiber fingerboard with cast frets. The fingerboard can be easily replaced in case of fret wear. Other features: height adjustable nut, fine tuners at the bridge. Electronics are two Kent Armstrong humbuckers (with coil tap) and three band EQ that‟s adjustable through minipots in the cavity.

Since the early „90s headed “Matrix” models are offered as well as graphite reinforced wooden necks (Energy, Shark, Groover). The Stealth and the Buzzard (John Entwistle signature) are one piece graphite basses. The Electroline (I, II, Hellborg signature) are semiacoustics with bolton wooden necks and piezo pickups. More traditional are the J- & P-style Vintage series. The Trace Elliot T-Bass was made in the „90s as limited edition instrument for this British amp manufacturer. The model has been revived in ‟07 under Status own name.

Steve Kendall Current production (since 1993) of basses & guitars by luthier Steve Kendall in Oxfordshire.

Starfish Custom EUBs made ca. 1997 by Starfish Designs. Basic models are the Orca and Barracuda (four- or fivestring) with Ashworth pickup. Scale and neck profile were custom options.

Status Standard/custom basses and guitars made by Rob Green in Colchester,Essex since 1981.The very first basses were branded “Strata”(‟82-‟84). Most Status instruments have graphite neck, since ‟98 with trussrods. All basses have Status electronics and Status Hyperactive pickups. Green also sells graphite replacement necks for P-, J- en Music Man style basses. His mid „00s Smart Bass program allowed online design of basses. The first Status model (Series II) is a headless neckthrough with graphite neck and exotic wood body and Status active electronics. This bass was very fashionable and was used by many famous „80s bands. One big name user is Mark King who currently has a signature model called Kingbass (pictured). Another recent model is the small bodied Streamline (‟07). Older models are the full graphite Series 2000 (late '80s), the Series 3000 bolt-on with wooden body (still offered as the Charger – the John „Rhino‟Edwards signature) and the Series 4000 bolt-on with an injection molded plastic body.

Street Guitars Current production of standard guitars & fourstring basses – standard instruments with a lot of common( and beyond) upgrades. The Talisman bass (GBP 1200) is a J-like instrument with a graphite neck, alder body with a steel top/scratchplate, EMG pickups and electronics, rechargeable battery and built-in wireless system.


Synergy Custom Basses

Tony Revell

Custom basses formerly made by Kevin Hartle in Birmingham in the early „00s. Synergy basses (five and sixstring only) feature neckthrough construction, exotic wood bodies and Basslines electronics.

Acoustic instruments made in the „90s by Tony Revell in Newtown, Wales. Revell worked previously at Overwater.

Tomson Guitars

Trace Elliot

Custom instruments currently made by luthier Richard Thompson in Wigan, Lancashire.

Limited production of basses by Status for Trace Elliot. Similar designs are currently offered by Status and Lodestone.


Guitars and basses marketed byJMI ( Vox amplification). First offerings (from ‟61) are British made by furniture manufacturer Stuart Darkins & Co. Low quality led to use of imported Italian necks (‟62) and full shift of production to Italy (EKO and

26 Crucianelli) from ‟64. Later Vox basses („80s) are Japanese and Korean made. The first Vox bass was the Symphonic – probably one of the first imitation P-basses given the fact that even the Japanese didn‟t turn to copying until the end of the „60s. Design improved however and many of the now classic electric guitars designs (like the pictured Teardrop) were also used for Vox basses resulting in a long list of different models: Bassmaster, Panther, Saturn, Apollo IV, Cougar, Constellation, Delta IV, Hawk, Violin, Phantom, Mark IV and Wyman (signature) Bass. Special features on some models are active electronics (EQ or booster), Gretsch-like detachable padding on the back of the body and a tuning note generator (“G-Tuner”).


Wal Standard/custom basses formerly made by Ian Waller and Pete “The Fish” Stevens (Electric Wood) in High Wycombe. Starting out in 1974 Wal basses have become well known and highly regarded British basses. After Waller‟s death in ‟87 Stevens took over but in 2007 he had to stop working due to health problems. Former employee Paul Herman is expected to resume production in 2009. First models (with distinct leather pickguards)are custom made for players like John Gustafson, Percy Jones and John Entwistle – from ‟78 regular production of a standard line (Pro I),

from ‟83 Custom line with laminated bodies in Mach 1, 2 and 3 styling and introduction of five- & sixstring basses. The MB4 is a Wal bass fitted with MIDI electronics, comparable to the Peavey Midibase.

Amplification producer WEM of Chertsey, Surrey (founded by Charlie, Reg & Sid Watkins) have made guitars and basses between 1957 and the „80s using the Watkins( „60s), WEM (‟64-‟68) and Wilson (‟68-‟82) brandnames. The Rapier bass was introduced in ‟65, together with the two pickup Sapphire. It features a two piece sycamore neck with duraluminum reinforcement, 24 frets, and a hand support. RRP in ‟70 was GBP 47. The Sapphire went for GBP 67. Other models are the semiacoustic (EB2-style) SAB2 (GBP 80). In ‟75 the W Bass (Lespaul guitarstyle) was introduced as well as the original Mercury 4.

27 Zemaitis WEM See: Watkins

Wilkes VK; jaren '70-heden. Standard and custom guitars, basses and electric violins made by Douglas Wilkes in Keele,Staffordshire since the 1972. In the „80s Wilkes was the largest guitar manufacturer in the UK with a factory in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. From ‟92 Doug Wilkes returned to small scale custom building. In the factory years Wilkes made a standard model in different versions: the single pickup Standard, fretless Percussive (with a contact pickup at the end of the fingerboard to enhance slap-playing), Supreme, Savoy and the laminated active Alembicstyle GAF.

Some basses are half fretted (fretted E & A string, fretless D & G). The Nigthwing is a small headless bass. Custom Wilkes‟basses sometimes are copies of Stingray, Thunderbird or violin basses.

Wilson See: Watkins

Unique handmade electric and acoustic guitars and basses made by Tony Zemaitis between 19601999. Many have engraved metal tops. Zemaitis also made acoustic bass guitars. From ‟04 Japanese replicas are built by Kanda Shokai. The cheaper standard GZ range is made by Greco. Higher quality models (pictured) are offered under the Zemaitis brand.

Zootbass Standard and custom basses made by Mike Walsh of Icenci Music/Bass Merchants. There are several Zoot basses (Chaser, S4, Funkmeister)) but top of the line is the pictured neckthrough Deluxe (from GBP 1695) with a 9- to 13-piece neck, 3-piece body,Icenci sustain bridge, Aero pickups and John East electronics.

Copyright 2006-2009 by Jan Berendsen

Compact Encyclopedie of British Bass Luthiers  

Detailed information about British makers of electric bass instruments.

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