angled-neck design, as well as unique looks
and straightforward tone.
BY DAVID ABDO
First things first: Grab your bass, strap it on, stand up, play a few of your favorite licks, and observe the angle it’s positioned at. Next, sit down and play those
same licks, again noting the playing angle.
You’ll most likely notice a difference. If this
difference bothers your fretting-hand technique or causes you discomfort, there may
be an answer—or Ansir—to your problems.
Ansir basses are named after the acronym “ANSIR”—which stands for “angled
neck string instrument resource”—and
they’re built by Jody Michael and a team
whose design philosophy concentrates on
ergonomics. Because electric basses have
traditionally been designed around a linear
playing dynamic, Ansir believes players must
to hear audio clips of the bass at
manipulate their bodies to accommodate
them, thus increasing the potential for repetitive stress injuries. To avoid this, Ansir’s basses
are designed to maintain a consistent playing
angle whether you’re seated or standing.
Building custom basses according to an
individual’s playing angle and providing
them with a truly customized instrument
has brought some success to Ansir. From
this success, they have very recently diversified with a new production model known
as the Imperial Series Stream Line (or SL).
It provides some of the benefits of a custom
If Salvador Dali created a bass, it may have
looked like the unique-looking Imperial SL.
Shaped from multiple tonewoods, it features
ingrown-bark-maple wings that conceal a
basswood core adorned with walnut appointments. The wings connect to a wenge tone
block with the assistance of a pair of zebrawood splines. The company says these splines
improve stability and help transfer vibrations
through the body. Finally, the bolt-on, two-piece neck is constructed of wenge and is
topped with a pau ferro fretboard.
Opening the back plate (which is carved
from an attractive piece of zebrawood) reveals
a clean and well-shielded interior. The people
at Ansir say they spent a significant amount
of time experimenting with different capacitors and potentiometers, all with the intention of creating a passive-toned system that
would bring out bassists’ playing nuances.
Other quality features of the Imperial SL
include a solid KSM Foundation bridge,
Gotoh tuners, an aluminum nut, and a heavy
duty input jack. Overall, the instrument is
aesthetically striking and solidly built.
The Imperial SL is also offered in fretless versions, or with 21-, 22-, or 24-fret
necks. Other neck angles are available,
as are 34"- or 35"-scale 4- or 5-string