5 Mike Lull has done something a lot of build- ers have been unable to accomplish. He builds a super-premium custom bass at a price that’s still in line with a factory manufac- tured bass. I spoke with Mike at length about his new product line. Tell me about the vintage product line. What sets it apart? The new product line consists of the UV4, UP4 and the V4. UV4 and UP4 are Ultra
Vintage Jazz and Precision respectively. The
4 represents the number of strings. We have
a 5-string version. The V model has a 21-fret
fingerboard, 12" radius and ‘70s-style frets.
The UV Series has a pre-CBS-style neck and
frets with a 20-fret fingerboard, 7-1/4" radius.
These are maple necks with Brazilian rosewood boards. These basses are passive but
could be converted to active.
I wanted to eliminate the headstock dive, so
I make my headstock smaller. My basses tend
to be light, so I had to be careful. Graphite
reinforcement was placed in the neck
for stiffness and lessening of dead spots.
Electrostatic shielding is fully encompassed in
my cavities. Only super-premium hardware is
used. I prefer Hipshot items.
First off, every Mike Lull bass is built by Mike
Lull. That’s not to say I don’t have help with
some of the work. My bodies are CNC cut
from board stock in Washington, as are the
neck blanks. I used to use a pin router but it
is a dangerous, nasty machine. I install all the
truss rods and fretboards myself. My necks
are not prefabricated. My final neck and fret
adjustments are done on a plek machine,
which provides tolerances closer than any
human can achieve by hand and eye.
Mike Lull Custom Guitars
Tell me about your manufacturing. Are the
basses “stick built” or component assembled?
Who is the target audience for your basses?
My gear is designed and built to be used by
working players. Eighty-five percent of my
gear is used semi-nightly between studio
and live sessions.
What is the sweet spot of your price point?
The bulk of my gear ends up in the hands
of the end user between $2000 and $2500.
They’re receiving a custom-built bass at an
off-the-rack price. At this price, it makes it
easy to justify to expenditure to the spouse.
What is the inspiration for your
Bottom line, I’m a Fender guy. I have owned
hundreds of basses. In the mid-seventies I
collected everything. The prices back then
made these things affordable. As a pro player,
for me there is nothing better than a great
pre-CBS Precision or Jazz Bass. There is no
better bass to record or play live with. If you
could compile a list of all the recordings made
with these basses, it would be staggering. I
wanted to take all the goodness, along with
all the idiosyncrasies, and build a better bass.
Leo was a genius, but the basses were built
to a price point. I want my basses to sound as
good but play better and be more consistent.
What are some of the changes incorporated into your products?
MOD 101 Guitar Amp Kit- 60 Watts of tube
power using either 6L6’s or EL34’s. Choose
from 32 different variations of the circuit to suit
your tonal preferences. You provide the tools and
solder - everything else is here including electronic
components, vacuum tubes, pre-drilled steel
chassis box., and wire