is made in the US to our spec and is sent to us
ready for prep. We prep the bodies for finish and
fit. We install all frets, inlays, binding and overlays
in-house. Our finish work is also done outside to
our specifications. All the big things and the series
of important little things are done here, other
than the wood cutting and finishing. Finishing
permits are difficult to obtain in NYC too.
We can build anything you could imagine.
We also know what works and what does
not. For bolt-on basses, ash or alder bodies
with maple necks with rosewood, ebony or
maple boards are a sure thing. It’s a tried
and true formula. Going exotic, for example,
with a mahogany neck and koa body could
yield a great result, or it could yield a less
than good result. We offer advice, but some-times… you know how that goes.
In the show room you have everything
from a traditional sunburst finish to heavy
metallic to chrome-illusion finishes, and
they all look great. What type of finish
products do you use?
Pretty much it’s all thin poly finishes. The new
stuff sounds great and holds up well. We do
offer nitro as an option.
What are some of the drawbacks of
making custom basses?
What do you think is the x-factor in the
In a word, synergy. It’s all the little things, the
quality components, the fret jobs, the assembly and setup, the preamp that is still the
original design. Each bass has a definite footprint, but no two are exactly alike. We don’t
have a catalog; we try to make our product
stand out, make it interesting.
How is price point determined?
We are very “anti-scientist.” It’s pure cost vs.
markup. There are no price studies, nothing like that. We just build a no-compromise
product and try to make a little on each bass.
Who is your target audience?
Our target is the working musician: Richard
Bona, Christian McBride, Al Carty, Victor Bailey,
Reggie Parker all use Pensa basses. The guy
in the bar uses Pensa basses. Even the couch
noodlers use Pensa basses because they appreciate the quality. Keith Urban just got a Pensa!
Pretty much anyone with an affection for a
high-end custom bass buys a Pensa.