I’ve just been spending the last couple of weeks building up the tooling to cut these three Sirena Pistolera bass bodies. They’ve been chambered extensively to save weight and also affect the sound to some degree. I’m really excited about how nice they’ve been turning out to be.
Here’s a small run of walnut neck blanks for my Sirena Pistolera basses. I just started subletting a shop space from my friend Bruce Johnson. I’m sharing the space with a few other transient luthiers. Bruce wants to move his heavy woodworking operations to this shop, and I’ll be doing all my big wood here as well. Prior to this, I’d always done my work at my home shop, and I was limited by space and amount of mess I could make. I’m really excited about this development because it brings me a little closer to building my basses efficiently enough to bring my ideas to more people.
Wow! I am really excited to have one of instruments included in NoTreble Top 10 Reader’s Favorite Bass of the Week! There we are at #7. It’s really great to be included with all of these fabulous instruments. Looking forward to building more pickups and basses in 2020!
We’ve been running our Bass of the Week feature every week since 2011 with the goal of “showcasing low-end instruments ranging from beautiful to bizarre.” Of the 50-plus basses we featured in 2019, here are the top 10 reader favorites.
Cool! Looks like the Modelo Uno has been featured in NoTreble.com! There’s nothing quite like seeing your work featured in a publication. Now that’s what I call excitement!
This week we’re checking out a funky and cool bass built by Jeremy Kirsch called the Sirena Modelo Uno. The four-stringer takes its design cues from similarly funky vintage basses.
I installed the electronics last night and gave it a whirl. It sounds pretty good, but I’m still waiting for the ceramic magnets to come in before I call it a wrap.
The li’l Lady sent me this pic this morning. She likes to put my guitars on this shelf for some reason.
I still have some more work to do on it. I have a rogue fret up by the 12th fret, and I need to get some new strings and do a proper set up. I might bring it to rehearsal tonight just for kicks.
Overall, I’d say it was a success. Most of the fellas didn’t know at first that I had actually made the whole thing myself and had assumed it was a new bass. I got compliments on the colors, while our drummer said he loved the Jetsons look.
It plays and handles really nicely and for a semi-hollow it feels really stable and solid. It’s about the right weight and is well balanced. I still have to address the fret noise, but it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t play around it. I’ll take a look at that over the weekend. It may be as simple as adding some more relief to the neck.
Now, granted are these two things: the bass amp at rehearsal is this old 100w Yamaha 115 combo that basically sounds like crumpled paper and the neodymium pickup is a placeholder. That being said, I got a lot of compliments on the tone. The neodymium version of this pickup sounds kind of plain and nondescript to me, but where it excels is in playing dynamics. It really responds really to touch, and I really liked that I didn’t have to really pull on the strings to get a lot of tone out of it. However, the amp wasn’t really able to render those dynamics as well as my Markbass.
The one-knob preamp is a cool feature. When it’s turned all the way to “treble” the bass is cut way down and the highs are boosted. Turned to bass, the treble is cut and the bass is boosted. I had it somewhere in the middle, give or take a few clicks. While it’s not a very sophisticated preamp, it gives you a really quick way to dial in your tone. The pickup and electronics are dead silent when you are not playing.
We had a great rehearsal, and without getting into specifics, there a few pretty good jokes passed around about me being the white guy from Oakland. Our drummer went as far as saying he wants to commission one of my basses for his studio, but he was probably just being nice.
I went home that night and A/B’d it with the ceramic pickup in the test bass. The step boy was there and he plays guitar in a local band as well. We both agreed that while the neodymium version sounds good, the ceramic version is better. The ceramics bring a faster low end response and the ceramic version is generally fatter, warmer and punchier sounding. The neo is much brighter without sounding harsh, but that’s not to say the ceramic is not bright. Using a set of well-broken flatwounds, the ceramic pickup is definitely bright sounding. Brightness and bassiness aside, what really sets it apart is its well-defined upper-midrange. I think that while the neodymium version puts out wider more even tone, that is ultimately its undoing – it has no emphasis on anything in particular.
The good news is, I think my ceramic magnets will be here soon. I just got a shipping invoice from Magnetic Hold this morning.