MEET THE GREAT BRITISH BASS LOUNGE TEAM
MEET THE TEAM
AC Guitars (ACG) is Alan Cringean, based in Moffat, South West Scotland.
Alan builds very modern basses. There is nothing else like them being built in the UK - or probably anywhere else for that matter!
ACGs (unless the customer specifies otherwise) come with filtered preamps custom built by John East (Britain's own pre-amp guru). Each pickup has its own filter which allows independent EQ of each pickup making it possible to have totally different sounds set up on each... in effect, two preset sounds that it's possible to move between using the blend control. As always, there is more to it than that though...
Another USP of these basses is zero radius fingerboards (flat) and asymmetric necks - both which make complete sense when you pick up and play an ACG. The latter is ergonomically better suited to the human hand and a flat fingerboard is just brilliant for chording, tapping and bending. Who needs radii!?
ACG has an ever-growing customer / fan base which descends upon the genteel market town each March for the legendary 'Moffat Bass bash' where all things bass, and especially all things ACG, are discussed with enthusiasm bordering on religious fervour!
Our ACG basses are custom built to our specification and, uniquely, feature the SEQ dual filtered preamp (2 band) which is a simpler introduction to filtered preamps than the full-blown 3 band type. A particular delight in specifying an ACG is the range of tonewoods to select and combine... black limba, Tasmanian eucalyptus, white holly, tiger-stripe myrtle and other signature ACG species.
ACG... another world class product built here in Britain!
Back in May 2013, 2 young guys called Chris and Alex asked if they could come and see us…they’d started building basses (and guitars). We agreed but with limited expectations. To say that we were ‘blown out of the water’ when we saw their initial offerings is an understatement…
As folk know, we’re very passionate at GBBL about supporting homegrown products and talent (why wouldn’t you) and to now be involved with Chris and Alex at such an early stage is very exciting… we’re convinced Alpher Instruments has a very bright future and they’ve already secured a full order book and custom orders from the UK, Europe and USA.
Alpher have some firm views and preferences regarding tonewoods and we see a fair bit of Warwick DNA in their approach, which is a very positive thing.
Their stock Bass model is the MAKO (a species of shark) which thy build for us in 4 and 5 string formats and to our specification relative to wood types, fingerboard, pickups and hardware. Infact, we hand-pick the tops for our Alpher basses. Chris and Alex may not have been in the bass building game long but the results speak for themselves - world class instruments that are only going to get more expensive as their star rises.
'With basses of this quality emerging from the UK, we should all have renewed faith that top quality manufacturing of musical instruments is on the increase. The workmanship, knowledge and expertise that has gone into this Mako Custom proves that maybe we're close to a point where homegrown bass-making may be just the best its ever been'
BASS GUITAR MAGAZINE reviewing our Mako Custom 5, Issue 101, 2014
Andrew's mission, on and above creating beautiful looking and playing instruments is not only great tone but a tone that is only achievable through very specific combinations of tone woods and electronics.
Over to the man himself:-
"Our mission is to give more bass players access to instruments with superb tone, dynamics, versatility, playability & ergonomics that look visually stunning."
The Anaconda 'Slither' model has been designed specifically by Andrew for The Great British Bass Lounge and features its own distinctive, smaller, body shape. Like all Anaconda's however, it employs USA Bartolini pickups and Glockenklang 3 band active EQ. It's another no -holds- barred TONE MONSTER!
Now, in the Bass Centre's third decade, they are no longer a 'bricks and mortar' store but instead, focus on a discreet selection of prestige lines and a range of exclusive Bass Centre branded products (Bass Collection basses, Elites strings, British Bass Masters basses etc) all informed by the experience and long history of communication with top players around the world.
Our search for the 'best we could find' range of 'classic' style basses costing between £300-£500, ended at the Bass Centre with the 'Bass Collection' instruments which are designed in the UK and crafted in Korea. You simply won't find better attention to detail, build quality, playability and tone at this price point.
The Bass Collection - Modern Classics from The Bass Centre.
PAUL EVERSON GUITARS
We first came across Paul in an article in Bass Guitar Magazine. Some weeks later we bumped into him at a guitar show and commissioned a bass! Over to the man himself:
"Everson basses are rare objects; I currently build less than ten a year which are almost never available to retailers. Working with 'The Great British Bass Lounge' and their unique business model has allowed me to produce a small number of bespoke instruments only previously offered as commissioned, custom builds."
"Each of my guitars is completely hand built by myself, one at a time in my small workshop in Carnforth, Lancashire. Every bass I make is a one-off but each combines my passion for fastidious engineering and ergonomic ideals."
"When you first play an Everson bass you'll notice how little they weigh and how evenly they balance on either the strap or the knee. Despite the low weight they are built to be strong and rigid - essential for a good tone with a broad frequency range."
"Very low actions with clean, buzz free, notes are achievable due to precise fret work and my necks are fast and smooth."
"Due to the small volume of guitars I build I have no need to use anything less than the best woods and hardware and ultimately I make each instrument as if it were for myself."
"Whilst each component and detail in an instrument adds up to a great tone, the single biggest contributory factor is the musician - it's my goal to craft guitars that you're reluctant to put down and will inspire and expand the player to produce the finest music of which they are capable."
"G&L guitars are the best instruments I ever made" Leo Fender famously said prior to his passing in 1991.
Following on from Fender and Musicman, G&L was the third and final part of Leo’s legacy and was a collaboration with his old friend and colleague, George Fullerton from the old Fender days. G&L instruments are still to this day manufactured in the old Musicman factory on Fender Avenue, Fullerton, California. George said ‘My partner and I made the world’s most famous guitar, then we set out to make the best’.
Formed in 1979, the first G&L bass models (L-1000, L-2000 & L-2000E) appeared in 1980. They were, in essence, extensions of Fender and Musicman basses but with some modern innovations:-
‘The MFD (Magnetic Field Design) pickups are phenomenal and the Saddle-lock bridge is simply the best in the industry. If you want sustain, buy a G&L’ said Tim Page (ex-Fender master-builder).
All G&L instruments are instantly recogniseable by their distinctive ‘batwing’ headstock design.
Following Leo’s death, G&L was acquired by John McClaren of BBE Sound who, to this day, continues to faithfully nurture George & Leo’s legacy.
In more recent times G&L have introduced the ‘Tribute’ range of basses that are built in Korea (and most recently, Indonesia). Each ‘Tribute’ model is exactly that – a tribute to one of the USA built models. These basses are fitted with the same electronics and hardware used on the USA models and represent exceptional value for money.
Here at GBBL, we offer both USA and Tribute models ‘off the rack’ and can quote for and order custom builds.
Gordon-Smith Guitars have been handcrafted in Partington, near Manchester since 1974. The company is the longest running contemporary guitar builder in England.
John Smith (the Gordon half departed years ago) is a guitar lover with a lifelong obsession with fiddling with all things mechanical. He is also the author of some of the best one-liners we’ve heard:
”We make working tools, not coffee tables” and, perhaps the best “Our guitars are like Zippo lighters; not much to go wrong”.
Our collaboration with G-S began in 2012 with the design of a ‘stock’ G-S bass model named The Gryphon. G-S had, in the past, made a few basses but these tended to be very much one-offs as demand dictated. We had always liked their guitars which played great and sounded huge so the first priority with the Gryphon was the pickups – high output, splittable G-S custom humbuckers which, according to Bass Guitar Magazine “turn a good bass into an exceptional bass”.
John came up with the body and headstock design, we dictated that the bass must be lightweight, have a splayed ‘comfort’ body, modern neck profile and be finished in classic solid colours.
Final word to John:
”We’ve always aimed to put a really good tool into players hands – the right design with the right stuff in the right proportions. We’re pretty innocent of flirting with wild shapes, off-the-wall layouts & wood that belongs on antique furniture’” Say no more!
Overwater were the first new bass brand to arrive at GBBL (or Manchester Bass Lounge as it was then) and we have developed close working ties with Chris May and the team. If you ever get the chance to 'talk bass' with Chris - take it. Just make sure you have a couple of hours to spare!
Over to the man himself:
"It’s now over thirty years since we began building basses in our first little Overwater factory unit, high up in the Pennine hills, close to the ancient Market town of Alston in Cumbria. Our aim, then as now, was to build the finest instruments we could – always developing, always learning from our customers and responding to their needs, with an attitude of constant improvement…"
"Over the years the Overwater name has become synonymous with the finest hand crafted bass guitars and to date we have produced over three and a half thousand instruments in the UK."
The Rickenbacker International Corporation (RIC) of California should need little introduction to bass players out there. In our opinion the RIC 4001/4003 is the worlds most iconic bass guitar and has been Drew's 'go to' bass for 35 years.
Rickenbacker basses, like their guitars, have always sharply divided opinion as all great art and design should do. A 20 fret 4003 still looks and feels like a 'cutting edge' piece of design as opposed to other time honoured brands which feel a little tired!
The list of stellar players who have used Rickenbacker basses is long and illustrious: Paul McCartney, Lemmy Kilmister, Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, John Entwistle, Pete Quaife and so on.
Relatively speaking, RIC don't build that many instruments. Unlike certain other manufacturers, they keep the market 'keen' by not over-supplying it and they protect their brand and designs with great tenacity. The 4000 series basses are synonymous with Roger Rosmeisl's iconic body and headstock shapes incorporating 'cresting waves' and through-neck construction which delivers great sustain. The all-maple construction is what, in the main, defines RIC’s sound with that unmistakable 'mid-punch and ringing treble'. They have however, in recent times, adopted other woods, such as walnut, to create a basses with slightly different tonal characteristics.
Until recently, no one had produced a definitive publication about RIC basses. This was rectified in 2013 when Paul D Boyer published his superb reference book 'The Rickenbacker electric bass...50 years as Rock’s bottom' - a lavishly and extensively photographed affair detailing the evolution of all Rickenbacker bass models.
Many folk will cite the Fender Jazz as the most iconic bass ever - no, its just the most played and most copied bass guitar which is not quite the same thing!
Sandberg was established in 1986 by Holger Stonjek near Hannover, Germany. Their strap line ‘….always by your side’ reflects Holger's philosophy that building and playing (bass) guitars is, or should be, a life-style related choice as opposed to being a more ‘hard nosed’ business-driven thing – first and foremost, something driven by passion.
As such, Sandberg is very ‘employee-focused’ and comprises a small (around 20) and loyal group of people, several who have been with the company from the start. There’s Carlos, Anke, Hansi, Nils, Yannik & Gunnar to name just a few.
Production is around 1200 hand-built instruments a year of which around 200 come to the UK, making them both relatively exclusive and desirable.
Sandberg build ‘real-world’ instruments for the gigging musician at seriously attractive prices. The Bass range comprises essentially seven models/body shapes (Basic, Bullet, California T & V, Custom, Electra and Panther). The California models are based upon classic P and J style basses but are, beneath the skin, thoroughly modern basses.
On offer are more than a thousand body, finish, pickguard, fretboard, inlay and pickup configurations, all as either 4, 5 or 6 string basses and even a limited choice of 7 string. Just jump on the ‘Configurator’ on the homepage of Sandberg’s website and build your own bass... oh, then ask us for a quote!
Remember Alex Claber? He's the guy who did a series of excellent technical articles in Bass Guitar Magazine de-bunking many of the myths surrounding Bass Cabinet design and bass tone generally. And believe us...there are a lot of myths out there!
So how did Barefaced start? Over to Alex:
"Back in 2003, dissatisfied with the performance of existing bass cabs, I decided to put my engineering knowledge to good use and design a cab that did exactly what I wanted - within the boundaries of Physics of course!"
Barefaced bass cabs are built in Brighton and are the result of Alex's single minded, tone obsessed pursuit (as both musician and engineer) of the ultimate bass cabs - cabs that deliver MAXIMUM TONE & MAXIMUM OUTPUT with the MINIMUM OF WEIGHT.
Since it started selling bass cabs, Barefaced has only ever sold directly to the bass playing public so you can imagine how excited we are here at The Great British Bass Lounge to become the first specialist Bass Retailer to offer these phenominal cabinets. Not only that, but we're especially proud to be able to 'bring 'em up north' for bass players to come and look at and try out. After all, 'the proof of the pudding.......'
The Bass Guitar Magazine articles can be found on the Barefaced website at
PHIL JONES BASS