It started somewhere in 2008. I had just completed my first electric guitar - a headless travel guitar - and moved abroad taking it along. I soon noticed that this instrument doesn't feel right, somewhat different from what I was accustomed to. While playing with the design I was overly focused on pursuing the different look, and so as a result the playability got reduced. Yet it was worth the time spent on it, mainly because working on that project I gained the essential skills and confidence in woodworking. I also became more practical so back then I started to deliberate whether going against the player's habits makes any sense at all. The idea of a re-design of an instrument is a pretty daring one and requires a solid motive - a problem to resolve – or else it might turn into a pretty shallow toying with the image.
I aimed for a small sized travel instrument and made myself a trustworthy travel companion that is a bit less of a player but still does the job. Having said that, it's not that easily recognizable as a guitar – it appears more as some artefact than a reliable plug-and-play tool. it proved that I needed to learn few more things about the visual language.
Having gained a good grasp of the craft yet feeling a rather intimidated as a designer, I decided next to go for something different and build a slightly modified copy of an electric guitar model produced by one of the big brands, namely an ESP Potbelly. Custom made rather than custom designed it was meant to be an exercise in working out the conventional details, a play with the traditional "language" to get to know it better. Sure, it was a valuable experience, but if I were to say what I like the best about this guitar it would be that it's bold and black – it's the real thing – needless to say that's what I wanted my original design to be. Although aware of innovators in the field, principally Strandberg Guitarworks that I greatly appreciate, I like electric guitars as they are. It's not that I don't see space or reason for improvement, I would rather say I just don't see there any open problems in need of a solution.
That was more or less the point where I got before 2009 when I started discussing with Simon, my friend and a double bass player, the idea of creating an electric upright bass. Instruments like that are a relatively fresh thing and keep being developed spontaneously, mainly by individual instrument makers and small brands. NS Design is a notable manufacturer that went further and designed from scratch a standardised version of a EUB with many genuinely inspiring features. Their basses were the very first to have really caught my attention. They made me realise that such a "stick" can be an interesting thing but also that there's still more that could be done.
Together with Simon we spent a good half a year discussing the project. At that time I knew very little about double basses and needed to catch up. Once we had the essential features traced out, I started working on a mock-up design that resulted in the original concept design that evolved further into the final DSDV·III·BASS design.
From the very beginning the flagship feature was the Möbius strip-like wing that delimits a virtual sound box. It isn't required by an electric instrument to produce sound but allows the player to rest the instrument on their body in an accustomed playing position. It's there to give the bass the right feel and a sense of volume. The concept of a hollow wing shaped like a contour of the double bass' sound box is nothing new, but my design features its full functional integration - it's an essential part of the instrument. Furthermore, that's what gives the DSDV 3 bass its visually expressive and recognizable character and this is how I imagine an electric upright bass I would want to see live on stage.
This instrument might appear hi-thech but it's not quite - it's pure DIY carefully designed and patiently handcrafted in a garage workshop. It involved lots of prototyping and required me to learn a lot as the project progressed, so the entire process of creating this bass had spanned over a period of almost four years - an adventure I wasn't even expecting.
An electric upright bass or a EUB is basically an electric, solid body version of an acoustic double bass, so unlike the electric bass guitar it is suitable for bowing and as its name indicates it stays upright when played. Furthermore the DSDV·III·BASS is shaped to suit a double bass player by maintaining the feel and playability of an acoustic instrument in a form that's more than just the interface.
Although the bold silhouette of an acoustic double bass bears an expressiveness that can't be achieved by a more compact electric instrument, With the DSDV·III·BASS I wanted to experiment if an electric upright bass could become a distinctive, contemporary visual sign that speaks for itself.