On our web page we suggest that PREMIER GUITARS Is the place to go “if you are looking to buy something acoustic, electric, unique, interesting, exceptional, collectible, rare, retro, cool, vintage, classic, or just weird & wonderful”.
Well, this one certainly fulfils a number of those descriptions – particularly “acoustic, unique, interesting, exceptional, collectible, cool, & wonderful”.
This is a one-off acoustic / electric bass hand made by renowned Australian luthier Jim Williams.
From Jim – “I began making guitars in 1977 after attending the School of the Guitar Research & Design Center in Vermont, USA. On my return I opened a workshop specialising in the repair, restoration and construction of guitars. In 1981 I established a guitar making school that operated until 1983.
My book on guitar construction, “A Guitar Maker’s Manual“, has been published by Hal Leonard in the USA and I’ve contributed many articles to magazines such as American Luthierie, Frets, Sonics and Jamm.
The Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences in Sydney has purchased a Jim Williams guitar for its permanent collection as have a good number of local and overseas touring artists.
I believe my style to be distinctive producing guitars in which both tradition and innovation are evident. Coupled with an attention to detail and sound reproduction, a Jim Williams guitar or mandolin is therefore an instrument to be enjoyed and appreciated for a long time by its owner.”
From the label inside –
Soundboard: Solid Sitka Spruce
Back & Sides: Tasmanian Blackwood
Neck: Queensland maple
Other Features –
Neck Scale 34”
Total Length 50”
Body length 24”
Body Depth 5”
Lower bout width 19”
Upper bout width 12.5”
Offset soundhole on upper bout
24 medium jumbo frets in excellent condition
Rosewood armrest to top of body
Quality pickup installed – brand unknown
Sadly Jim passed away in April 2018. He left a legacy of the highest quality workmanship and a dedication to the craft of building custom instruments of the highest quality.
This from a former student of Jim’s – “Jim used spruce bracing and western red cedar sound boards on all the guitars I have seen. Usually Mahogany back, sides and neck with Gaboon ebony fret boards. Though he did use other materials such as Adirondak spruce tops etc for custom orders. His guitars are absolutely the highest quality. Best steel string acoustic and mandolins you will find.
I made a guitar under his guidance back in 81. He only did one class, six of us were fortunate enough to make a guitar each. I have seen his work from the ground up, no short cuts, everything done by hand. Jim is a true craftsman and brilliant a teacher.
For what it’s worth and IMHO if you can get your hands on a JW don’t hesitate.”
Jim’s book “A Guitar Maker’s Manual” was published in 1987 and is still a valuable reference for luthiers worldwide.
There is even a documentary film about Jim and his work by Mike O’Neill from 2006, still available from Screen Australia.
OK, now back to this instrument. It is a mighty piece of work. It is a large but manageable acoustic bass that delivers a big bold sound that will lock down the bottom end of any unamplified ensemble. It is loud, punchy and articulate. The intonation is perfect and it is eminently playable all the way up the neck.
And when you plug it in, you are rewarded with a fabulous sound – very rich, smooth and sweet, with wonderful clarity through the tonal spectrum. We do not know the brand of the under saddle pickup, but it is clearly a quality unit.
This bass is in great condition. It has obviously been used, but well looked after. There are a few marks and some player wear here and there, but nothing unexpected in an instrument we think is over 20 years old. And structurally this one is solid as a rock. No signs of movement, splits, cracks, separations etc – just a great piece of craftsmanship that will stand the test of time.
Comes in a quality Gewa brand gig bag in good condition.