Redstone Bass Guitars started out with a handful of inspirations. First and foremost, to build bass guitars and only bass guitars, drawing from the original wellsprings of innovation in the 1950’s and early 1960’s. Instruments built then were not just innovations, they were literally inventions. The original basses that are today worth tens of thousands of dollars represent something almost magical. Before 1951, the electric bass was not a production instrument—there were stabs at it that I can trace back to the 1930’s, but the basses that Leo Fender designed and built starting around 1951 on through the Jazz basses he made before selling Fender off to CBS—there’s a touch of brilliance and magic in them.
Redstone basses are designed to be played. They are designed to be transparent. They are designed to evoke the love and magic that a great bass imbues in its player. Comfortable, light-weight, beautiful, and transparent—meaning the sound you want comes from your fingers.
Our journey goes back to the late fifties.
Born in 1957, I became a bassist in 1969, playing first in my father’s Big Band, then in garage bands, nightclubs, touring and recording acts, and although I did not pursue my living through music, I never stopped playing. I would still be gigging today if not for the pandemic that has temporarily closed down the bars. But when we open back up—I’ll be back out there.
Redstone, the name, is an indirect honor for my father. He worked his entire professional career at NASA, and was based at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
Redstone basses are intended for professional and semi-professional players, advanced students, and anyone who loves the bass guitar. They are built to be lightweight, resonant, responsive, and to have the feeling that they’ve been around for a long time. Much of the care and attention that we give to the creation of a Redstone bass is to make it feel ‘aged’. While we don’t ‘relic’ basses, we do build instruments that have a ‘broken-in’ feeling to them. Ultra-thin nitrocellulose finishes, waxed or lacquered neck finishes that are hand rubbed to feel ‘played’. And a comfortable, if familiar shape, feel and playing geometry. We’re not building copies—but there is no doubt where the inspirations come from! And no, they’re not ALL from Leo.
Many of them are from the basses that I’ve played over the past 50+ years: many of the inspirations (just check out the Gemini MWAG—if you dig it I’ll tell you what it means) are kind of parallel dimension things.
We start with the wood. Every body starts with a core of Swamp Ash, with Alder wings (some with Ash wings). We start with the core slab, carefully chamber it, and cover it with anything from Alder (for painted finishes) to exotic woods of almost any stripe! The Bolted-on Maple neck to the Swamp Ash core piece provides the familiar response that your fingers already know.
We use ultra-lightweight hardware from two of my favorite suppliers—Hipshot and KSM. We use Hipshot USA tuners exclusively, and KSM makes positively the finest high-contact, high resonance, ultra-lightweight bridge in the world.
We build standard 34” offset basses (the Apollo series), but we have also designed a 32” bass that has exceeded our expectations in every way (the Gemini). Intended for advanced students and players with smaller hands and reach, the Gemini performs every bit as good as the Apollo, sonically, and outperforms every short-scale bass on the market!
Coming in 2021 will be a 35” scale 5 string which is currently in design. I just got a request to deliver that bass in a 4 string with 24 frets, and it sounds like a really good idea.
Check out our basses. Let me know what you think. I’m a bassist who loves the bass guitar, and I have been building, repairing, and modifying basses for over 30 years, and playing for over 50. Redstone is an outgrowth of those experiences, and everything that I’ve learned.
I really love the bass community, which differs from our musical counterparts. It really is…
I’ll be keeping a blog on redstonebass.com . Let me know your thoughts—let me hear from you.
Redstone Bass Guitars : Vintage. Evolved
Tom Winstead – August 2020