Mike Lipe is a guitar builder/luthier from Sun Valley, California – he’s known as the original LA “Guitar Doctor” to the stars. As well as caring for famous name players’ instruments, Lipe also hand crafts some of the finest guitars and basses on the planet. Famous names who use Mike Lipe instruments include Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, blues great Coco Montoya, Sting, Jimmy Vivino, Bob Weir, (Grateful Dead), and many more.
Prototype # 1!
Over the years Mike Lipe has worked for Yamaha, Hofner, Fender and other big names. He currently does all US repairs and custom modification work on the high-end Zemaitis guitar range. Lipe had just finished a stint operating the Ibanez US Custom Shop when he and another famous California designer, Bruce Johnson, were approached by big bass amp manufacturer SWR, to come up with a line of basses to go with their amps. However, such was the quality of their work, that Lipe and Johnson were unable to build their basses down to a price low enough to satisfy SWR, and the project was shelved – hand-numbered and signed by Lipe, this is prototype # 1, (numbered B001 on the butt of the neck), with September 6, 2000, (US date 9/6/2000), and Mike Lipe’s signature in the area between the screw-holes at the bass of the neck.
Contoured neck heel
Entirely hand built, the bass features a body that is both familiar and comfortable, with a heavily contoured neck heel, that allows superior access to the entire 20-fret board. Another major selling point is the Bruce Johnson carbon-fibre anchored truss-rod – this Johnson-patented system makes every Lipe instrument stronger and more durable than virtually any other guitar or bass on the planet!
The active* Seymour Duncan P/J Basslines pickup combination lets you cover about any tone range you want, with a sound that’s rich, full and miles ahead of any off-the-shelf bass you might ever have played - click on the LISTEN button for audio proof! The satin finished neck has a 46mm, (1-7/8”), width at the nut and 61mm, (2-3/8”), at the 12th fret. The neck is beautifully thin, (modern C-profile), with a 12” radius. It has a stunning piece of East Indian Rosewood that looks like oiled Teak! The board has inlaid pearl dots and perfect frets, with next to no wear – it all makes for one super-smooth playing, killer-sounding instrument!
*The active pre-amp is 18v
Gleams like new
Controls are 2 volume and 1 tone, with the dome-top knurled knobs standing out beautifully against the cool 3-D geometric scratchplate. The hardware all gleams like new, the only real marks anywhere are some screw indentations at the bridge, where the previous owner seems to have been undecided as to where the string saddles sit for correct intonation. Gotoh bridge and tuners, a recessed neckplate that sits completely flat with the body, a sensibly angled jack – every aspect of the design and execution is absolutely perfect.
Hand-painted hard case
To cap the whole package off, this utterly awesome bass will arrive at your door in a hand-painted hard-shell case, ($400 alone!), courtesy of another southern California talent, artist Kristoff Meyer