An open letter to Bass Player & John Slog from Carl Thompson

(reference: Bass Player Magazine, Jun 97, Page 96)

First of all I would like to thank Bass Player and John Slog for that wonderful picture of my Bass in the June 97 issue. Thank you kindly. However, there are a few points I would like to make clear.

I didn’t spend my life dreaming about making a bass, much less a “user friendly” one. Hey guys, I just don’t talk like that. Back in early 1974, I had to play a Fender bass for three consecutive nights, 6 hours a night. I thought the Bass was too heavy and out of balance. I wanted to try to correct that. The truth is that if Fender had put the neck into the body another 3/4″ or so, towards the bridge, I would have probably never made a bass. I can assure you that making my bass was not a life long dream.

Although I did make several 36″ scale basses in 1976-77, The one I build for Anthony was in late 1974 – early 1975 and was a 34″ scale.

I never take into consideration the percentage each piece of wood will contribute to the overall mass or how their positions will affect the basses resonance. I’m not even sure what that means. When I first met Les, I thought “what a wild and crazy guy”. So, I made him a “wild and crazy bass”. I did my best to assure that the instrument would be lightweight, balanced and that everything would work properly. As far as selecting the wood for the body, it was just a matter of appearance. That’s it, period.

I am quoted as saying “My basses don’t have only a single sound in them”. I do no know what this means. I don’t think my basses have a sound in them. I try to make instruments that are comfortable to play, so you can get your sound. The main reason I think Les Claypool gets the sound Les Claypool gets, is because he is Les Claypool. The same goes for Stanley, Anthony, Jeff Berlin or any musician.

You are the sound …you are the music.

Thank you for your kind attention,
Carl Thompson