Eric's Skylark Travel Bass.

Eric's Skylark Travel Bass.

This is an unusual one. Eric does a lot of international air travel and wanted a bass that would fit into the overhead locker of any jet. This is the design he came up with and with the drawings came the exact maximum size! So how do you make something that will sound like a bass yet be so small? The answer is to build in an octave divider, in this case the EBS Octabass. I also had to fit in a magnetic pickup as well as piezo saddles and all the associated circuitry as well as batteries and all this in a tiny body. It was a real challenge. So, I started with a through neck, headless design with a 25" scale length, all of which Eric specified. The neck is made from Irish fiddleback sycamore with purpleheart and rosewood stringers. There is carbon fibre in there too. Fingerboard is Rio rosewood as is the overlay and the pickup cover. The bridge tuners are from ABM as is the string clamp at the headstock end. To fit the Octabass I had to strip off all the components that would normally be used when it was a pedal and then re-wire it to make the correct connections to the various controls, of which there were many! The piezo elements in the bridge are Acoustiphonics from GraphTech. These require their own circuitry and battery. So everything was a very tight squeeze with loads of wires going everywhere and it took a long time to get it all sorted. But it works! The strings are specially custom made by the nice guys at Newtone Strings with almost the same thickness as for a normal 4 string base but with lower tension as they were tuned to normal guitar EADG.
The pickups sense the frequency and the octave divider halves that and this signal (now bass notes) is fed to the amplifier. There are choices for the way the octave divider works so it is possible to blend the signals (bass and guitar), have bass alone or chose different types of octave division. Interesting! Another innovation was that there are no screws for the control cavity covers - they are held on with magnets and can be removed with a finger nail. The cd cover is there to give you an idea of the size of this thing - it's Del Palmer's brilliant first album 'Leap of Faith' by the way.

{gallery}414{/gallery}