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CAREY
MAURILO
SHOP TOUR
 
 
 
 

Carey

1/1/09

Wow! Six years have gone by and a lot has changed. I started this thing with the intent of just building high end custom basses by myself in my garage and that would be it. What a crazy ride it's been since then.

We(!) now make production J style basses and are adding some production versions of the custom basses that I've made as we become more efficient and increase capacity. Unfortunately, one-off custom basses have become financially non viable and we no longer offer custom made to order versions of these instruments. There may still be some exotic stuff in the works, but it will be built to our ideals and then offered for sale. But this is a ways off.

About 5 years ago we started making pickups for other builders and thanks to very strong demand we quickly grew to form a whole new company with a full line of bass and guitar pickups. There are now 4 employees in the pickup company and we struggle to keep up with production and growth. We also added 2 and 3 band on board preamps within the last year. That was quite a project in and of itself, but I think we've got it moving along quite well by now.

At this point it seems like the sky is the limit with the pickup company. Of course the current economy is a bit scary, but it seems like we'll have enough business to get us through this rough spot. In addition to what we're doing now, I have plans for more products including preamp/DI pedals, new ideas I want to try for some new pickup models, and improvements I want to make on a few existing models. So many ideas, so little time.

On the Guitar side of the company I now have 2 employees that do a phenomenal job building what I feel are some of the finest instruments currently available. We do everything here in the shop except finishing the bodies, and we have a very close relationship with our painter and feel he does some of the finest work available anywhere.

In the coming weeks we will be redoing the shop tour so it no longer shows my garage from 7 years ago. We'll have a lot of great photos and information about how we make the basses that we make. And, we'll hopefully convey the level of care and attention that we pour into each and every one.

Of course, we wouldn't be here if it weren't for all the fantastic players, customers, and colleagues we've met over the last several years. So, I want to take this opportunity to say THANKS to all of you. Your support has been truly inspiring and has allowed us to do what we love to do. Sometimes I take a moment and step back and look at what has happened and I just can't believe it. I wonder how I've gotten away with this for 6 years...

Unfortunately, there have been some sad spots over the last few years. We lost a great friend, player, and human being to cancer when Adrian Garcia passed away last June. We have a special charity project with a bass that we built for him that will be revealed as soon as time and the economy make it possible. Please check the What's New page often, where we'll make a formal announcement about this in the near future.

Anyway, I'll end this six year installment by saying thanks again to all our friends and customers. Our reason for existing is to provide inspiring tools that will make your personal musical journey as rewarding and fulfilling as possible. Here's to another six years!

Cheers,

Carey

The below statement was writted when I started this company 6 years ago.

This page is intended to give you a little information about me, so that if you are inclined to have me build an instrument for you, or let me perhaps repair or modify your favorite guitar or bass, you have some idea who you're dealing with.

My name is Carey Nordstrand. As of 1/1/03 I have begun working for myself full time. I intend to build only the highest quality basses at a low quantity working entirely by myself.

My last job was with Suhr Guitars in Lake Elsinore, California. I was there for a little over four years. Among my responsibilities; surfacing and fretting necks, sanding and buffing paint, wiring, building guitars, training new guys(many of them, it's hard to find good help) and coordinating the building schedule. I feel that I was a valuable part of the company while I was there. Given the reputation of Suhr Guitars you can get an idea of the quality of my work.

Before Suhr Guitars I worked for Azola Basses. I was there for a little over two years, and I did all of their production woodworking. I made bodies, necks, and fingerboards. I sanded bodies and carved necks. I also did most of the final fingerboard surfacing and nut cutting. I give Steve credit for showing me a lot of great techniques for guitar making and giving me the room to allow me to learn as much as possible while I was there.

Going back further in time we come to my beginnings in the guitar making world. After attending The Grove School For Contemporary Music and working at entry level in a big time recording studio for a year and a half, I got a job as an engineer working for Mr. Tim Benge at Camerata Recording. This was a smaller studio in the Riverside area. My gigs were not quite full time so I had a lot of time to waste. I became good friends with my best pal Ryan and began to hang out at his work; Caleb's Guitar in Redlands, CA. It was just the coolest place I knew of. One day, Caleb the owner, who by then had noticed me hanging about perhaps too much, came to me and asked if I was busy. The answer should be apparent. He brought me to the workbench in the back of his shop and showed me the guitars that he was making. The Traveler guitar. What a story there is around that little instrument. It was the brainchild of Caleb and a retired Air Force engineer named Leon Cox. Leon did most of the actual design and prototype work, and Caleb played, made suggestions, and eventually sold them. Anyway, I took to it quickly and was soon assembling 5 or 6 a week for him. My career in guitar building had begun. After a year of having parts made in Mexico and assembled in his shop it became apparent that Caleb had spread himself a little thin and he ran out of money. He sold the store to his longtime manager Ray. He also sold the rights to the Traveler. The current owner and myself went into production in January of 1995. After 5 months I left to persue another direction in my career. After all this time the Traveler is still going strong, much to the credit of the current owner.

Let me tell you a little about my building philosiphy. I believe there is no "magic" in building a good instrument. It just comes down to skill, experience, and ingenuity. I use CNC cut jigs wherever it's practical, such as neck profile, pickup cavities, fret slotting, and neck pocket. Visit my Shop Tour page to see some of my methods. Also, I believe in hard finishes in most cases. This comes from working with both Steve Azola and Suhr Guitars. I just feel that a "real" finish adds legitimacy to a product. Of course a hard finish has other obvious benefits as well. Don't tell me, however, that a nitrocellulose lacquer paint job sounds better than a new high tech finish. I would ask you to scientifically prove it to me. There are so many variable that go into a guitars or basses sound (ie. wood, pickups, strings), that you can't conclusively prove that the finish makes a difference. For example: At Suhr Guitars we made three identical guitars for Scott Henderson. He brought his rig down to the shop, set it up, and played all three. He picked the best sounding one. ONE!. They all sounded just a little different. They were all made from the same woods. They all had the same pickups. They all had the same finish. The same frets. You get the picture. He heard distinct differences in all three guitars. So did I. It was amazing. Anyway, he loves his new guitar.

Another thing that is important to me is attention to detail. This is something I learned from John Suhr. He is downright anal. And so am I. I believe that there are details in the construction of an instrument that really show just how much the maker cares about his craft. Immaculate finishes. Perfect fretwork. Perfect fitting neck pockets. Perfect set ups. Etc. This is what you'll get if you order one of my basses. Check out my Players page to read some comments from some happy owners.

By the way. In case you were wondering. "What's up with his eyebrows?" It's called Alopecia Aerata. Loosely translated, that means roving bald spots. They say it's stress related. Now you know.

 

Maurilio

Mo has been working with us for two years.  He assembles all the basses we produce.  His duties include fret dressing, wiring preamps, assembly and complete set up.  He's fully versed in bass electronics and can answer almost any related question.  His work is top notch and attention to detail is paramount for him.  He's the other half of the reason our basses are so consistenly excellent.   On top of all that, Mo's a great bass player working in the LA live Music scene.

 

 © Carey Nordstrand