Phillip Stark is a musician based in Spain, I met him playing in several groups like Las Infantas, Phil is also co-owner of Stark Plugs, these plugs are a great idea. If you are a musician, surely you also like go to concerts, but you need to take care of your hearing and with these little plugs you can hear the music absolutely fine without damaging your ears.
Well, Phil ordered a handmade Mustang bass from me in black and yellow, the colors of his company. He had become used to the shorter scale (30,292 inches) during the recording of their recent LP, so it was a feature he wanted in his custom bass as well. I was quite lucky to get hold of a 1969 Mustang (thank you very much Tommi Tampere) to be able to measure it from top to toe, and from there make the tweaked templates.
Apart from templates, you also have to make several jigs to make it easier to do some tasks, for example cutting the slot for the saddle. Many jigs will serve you for several different designs, but some are just for one purpose only.
My plan was to make a vintage feeling bass that was as close to the original as possible, so I chose alder for the body, maple for the neck and rose wood for the finger board. The neck radius is 7,25″ and for frets I picked Dunlop 6105, which are medium width and fairly tall.
The neck of the original felt chunky, but comfy, for a small bass so I made it similar. It surely feels like an oldschool C shaped neck without it diving towards the floor all the time.
The hardware had to be as original as the rest, so no high mass bridges or light weight tuners etc. So for the bridge I chose a Squier Mustang Bass bridge and the tuners Gotoh, both in chrome to go nicely with the black body.
The color, as mentioned, is black with bright yellow speed stripes. The stripes, that were featured on the original as well, were so called Competition Finishes and were issued in 1969. I didn’t use paint to achieve the color, but several layers of stain mixed with polyurethane.
The Harakka logo was then cut out by hand, all the way to the wood, and the filled drop by drop with polyurethane to form a sort of a window. It was then leveled with the rest and polished to a hi sheen.
Doing the final setup is interesting in many ways, it is then when you finally find out if all the proceeding steps have been a success or a failure. With this Mustang I can gladly say it sounds even better than I thought it would. Being a bass player myself, and having always prefered 34″ scale instruments, the Mustang surprised me with a very punchy, in your face type of sound. And not lacking in sustain at all. Even if I say it myself, just the sound my friend Phil was after…
Sunbathing in December in Finland is only for very special basses.