I am a sucker for a pretty BASS. I have as much a love for art as I do music and when I started seeing pictures of these basses pop up a few years ago on Facebook, I fell in love. The care and beauty taken with each instrument is evident and what the person ends up with is a beautiful, great sounding one of a kind piece. Each instrument is carefully handcrafted by the very talented Mr. Javier Lopez. Javier is not only a talented artist but also a conscientiousness craftsman dedicated to protecting the environment.
JS – Where does your inspiration come from?
Javier – My inspiration comes from above, it’s a gift. I think every one is born with some special talent. I have lived my entire life in the forest, so I’m inspired by nature, from the lines, curves of my basses to my leaf logo on the headstock or pickups and preamp cover.
JS – How long have you been making these basses?
Javier – I’ve been a bass maker for 15 years now,but my serious business started in 2006.
JS – How do you know when you have found the right wood? What makes you choose these certain woods?
Javier – I have a special “sixth sense” for it, I only need to watch and listen to the woods by knocking on it, to know if a wood is good or not. I have always lived on the forest, I have a special feeling with the woods. In other hand I try with all woods I can find but probably experience is the key.
JS – What is the process you go through to make a bass? Do you use/make custom pick-ups?
Javier – To make a bass is a very long and effortful process: first of all I study the personality of the player. That’s the most important part, because I build unique basses for unique players. And each one is unique! Then, the customer and I choose the model: Darens, Darens Evolution, Princess, Princess Contrabas or Auri The Bird. Then I start to think of different woods and send some pics to the customer. Finally the customer selects his favourite top. I use my templates for each one of my models, but make some modifications trying to find the unique sound of my customer, different thickness on body or fingerboard, cutting or adding wood in some parts, I try to make the perfect JanAid. Frets, nut, preamp, pickups…all is decided in the process. Sometimes I decide to change some woods or hardware, thinking of the final sound. And in the heart of my basses I install my SoundAid Series Pickups, made at my workshop using special and different magnets and cooper coil depending on the players style.
JS – Is every bass made to order?
Javier – It depends on the moment, every bass is a unique piece and if I have many custom orders then I build them. Sometimes I make basses , I hold masterclasses and workshops and customers will then choose the best ones for themselves, but normally they are made to order.
JS – How long does it take on average to build a bass from beginning to end?
Javier – To build a totally handmade bass employs much time, it oscillates between three and six months, it depends also on the amount of the current orders. My woods have between 5 to 22 years dry, so I can use it immediately. But in a real hand made process wood needs to rest in some part of the process. I use my chisels, special color stain techniques. I need a lot of hours to make my basses and that’s great. I need all this time to build my basses, but players will play it their entire life.
JS – Price range of your basses?
Javier – My philosophy is to make basses for musicians, I love to collaborate with them. I try to have reasonable prices, they start from 3000 US dollars to 8000 US and all are hand made!
JS – If you had unlimited resources to create the perfect bass, what would it be?
Javier – Well, all the time I’m looking for new ways, new woods, techniques, colors, etc. So I prefer to continue developing my way step by step. But in my opinion right now I have all the resources I need. Well, wood never is enough! Yes, all the time I’m trying to discover new things.
JS – Do you have a favorite or a few favorite basses created so far?
Javier – Yes, i have a special 7 string fretted bass , the ”Auri the bird” model , created for the Italian bass player Viz Maurogiovanni. But also, for me each of my basses is a king in the world. Just now I’m in Italy, checking on some of my old basses sold years ago here. Each one is my favourite.
JS – I love your ideas on sustainability, it’s a great business practice, can you tell me more about that?
Javier – So, i believe we all have to protect nature, and for this reason we have to preserve the environment and avoid pollution. I select only certified woods , often taken from dead trees and all serial numbered, from all over the world. Normally I buy directly from the communities in the forest, then I can be sure my business does not destroy that forest. And of course, I find a lot of my special woods here in South Spain (Andalucia), like Olive Wood. And for ecological reasons I do not buy some woods like purple heart, mahogany and some others, because I know, even being certified wood, we are destroying rain forest and some other unique places. I have here a little stock of these woods, but at the moment do not wont to buy more, trying to protect people (native communities) and forests.
JS – How many different builders do you have working on the basses, is it just you?
Javier – I’m the only one to make my basses, every luthier has its own personality and hands, and that can distort my philosophy. About my business, I have a customer care section that takes my orders , reads my emails and talks with customers, then I have time to build my basses.
JS – Who are your favorite bass players and what kind of music do you like to listen to?
Javier – As a bass player my first influence would be the old people singing flamenco in the little taverns in Southern Spain. Flamenco is a rich music, with influences from Africa, Asia and South America. I love the bass, so I was studied all of it, from Flamenco to new age. A lot of amazing players out there but I was always
trying to develope my own personality. Like a luthier I study the personality of all my customers.
JS – Where did you get the name Janaid? What is its’ meaning?
Javier – Jan is the inspiration. In Spain we say “duende”. Is like you are playing a bass solo and a new and good phrase or chord comes into your mind. So, all the time I have my mind open to recieve the Jan Aid. Inspiration, God, universal energy, duende, Jan….different words but all is the same thing.
Thank you very much Mr. Javier Lopez for your time and inspiration.
Enjoy your BASS!!!