Oud bass was really a strange request. Elie Afif is a long time customer that went further thinking about a bass version of the most popular stringed Arabic instrument. So developing the concept of the Manne Acoustibass and Woodybass, piezo-centric instruments with strong semiacoustic components, Elie requested a fretless fingerboard with quarter-tones, five strings with a high-C doubled, and a 30-inch scale.
At Manne we are not intimidated at all by challenges, but we are rather used to and happy to build something new that gives musicians new sounds and expressions. But the time we were ready to sign the frets we discovered, to be precise we needed a correct way to determine the quartertones positions. Not easy. Luckily, among our customers, there is also a mathematician bass player that gave us help.
Stefano Antonietti: “Easy, look at how it should be calculated:”
“Ok, can I have a free string-change now?”
Ok, so we solved the quartertones, and we worked on the body designing to get the most nasal mid-range tone for this project. A marvelous figured Italian walnut top was used to offer beauty and robust, dark and woody lows.
Here is Elie’s report:
I put some papers between the strings to get a sound between the Oud and the Gambri, the Moroccan instrument, with just a little buzz that you typically get it out of the Oud. I’m hitting on the string with my fingernail, just to get almost same effect of Oud. Man, it’s crazy and so easy to use the quarter tones.
And man again really you made my dreams come true, so many ideas going out, I think I’m getting to a very special and signature sound, just because you made it happen.
I was so right about doubling the C string, I LOVE you man. Thank you so much and I’ll send you a few recordings soon.
Man it’s sounds just like I wanted man, I got exactly the sound that I wanted. You are a genius man.” Elie Afif.