Charles Shifflett Luthier - home page

Charles Shifflett Acoustic Guitars

- Acoustic Bass Guitars -

Although not a very accomplished player, I have played bass for many years. I started with an electric bass guitar, but quickly grew tired of hauling amps, speakers, etc. Next came the double bass viol, but it was a nuisance to haul around too. Since I have most of my fun playing in someone's kitchen or backyard, an upright bass was more than I needed, and certainly more than I wanted to haul. I guess I acutally wanted an Acoustic Bass Guitar before I had ever heard of anyone building them. Perhaps the yearning for an instrument I hadn't seen was the seed that grew into lutherie...
Shifflett Acoustic Bass Guitar
Although I've made numerous changes, the heart of this design was a plan by Tim Olsen, (Pres. of the Guild of American Luthiers)

Because an acoustic bass guitar is an octave lower than a standard guitar, it only makes sense that it needs to be a different shape if it is going to perform well. The basses (4 & 5 string, fretless or fretted) that I build are about 18 inches wide in the lower bout and 5 inches deep at the end block; yes a large guitar, but not a large instrument considering its range.

To a considerable degree my instrument develops its volume by being constructed very lightly. I believe I am applying the knowledge obtained constructing fine flamenco guitars.... to another instrument. My basses have an adequate volume for the living room (even in the company of banjos), and on board electronics are optional for the stage. Also I've got a new version that came out early this year, and it is even louder than my previous basses. Sorry I don't have time to put up some pix of it right now. It is the same basic body shape but it is braced entirely differently and has a floating bridge and tailpiece like an arch top guitar....and it is MUCH louder!

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last update Sept. 15, 2005