to a set of jigs or molds, so I can improve
the design of every single instrument I
make,” says Olinger. “I’m always look-
ing for new and better building methods,
and ways to make my instruments easier
to play, lighter, better sounding, easier to
adjust, and more affordable.”
Olinger is particularly proud of the
comfort and playability of his instru-
ments, noting the standard action at the
12th fret is 0.04" on his guitars and 0.06"
for the basses. He also maintains that his
instruments are more lightweight than
many manufactured instruments, and that
his basses often weigh less than a num-
ber of production guitars on the market.
“More than anything, I want each and
every owner of a Xylem instrument to feel
like it is the best instrument they have ever
played,” he says.
Pricing and Availability
Olinger builds a baker’s dozen of instru-
ments per year—with approximately two
basses for every guitar—and soon plans to
double production by improving on his
construction process. Xylem instruments
start at $1,500 and are available both direct
and from select dealers that can be found
on the company’s website. At press time, the
approximate waiting period for a custom
instrument from order to delivery is one
year. While Xylem instruments are currently
custom order only, Olinger is in the process
of developing a pair of standard models.
Cephisso >>> The uniquely shaped body of the 7-string Cephisso is constructed of black limba and is paired with a neck fashioned from quar- tersawn, 150-year-old black walnut. The bony fretboard is adorned with mother-of- pearl fret markers, black limba binding, and Jescar gold-alloy frets. For electronics, the Cephisso features Seymour Duncan AHB- 1 Blackouts, a kill switch, and a locking Neu- trik output jack.
The Sanjuro is a 36"-scale, 6-string bass with
an elaborate dual-scroll body that’s topped
with book-matched bloodwood. Weighing in
at 9 pounds, the Sanjuro is wired up with a
pair of passive V2JLH linear humbuckers from
Villex. Hardware appointments for this distinctive bass include Hipshot Ultralite tuners and
Hipshot’s A Style aluminum bridge.
With a body constructed of jatoba (aka
Brazilian cherry) and cocobolo, the Vera
is paired with a rock-maple neck, which
also utilizes cocobolo for its shim. A bone
nut rests atop the ebony fretboard, which
is decorated with maple side-markers and
ebony binding. The Vera’s Seymour Duncan
SH- 2 in the neck and TB- 59 in the bridge
are wired to a master volume, master tone,
and a 3-way switch.