Interview Christian Noguera
How the woods, you use, help you in your quest of
The choice of the woods is important because they are the ones that spread and sustain the chords sound.
Each one has its own fundamental vibration. The fretboards wood widens or reduces the sound spectrum,
the wood of the body and the top strengthens or fades some medium and low medium frequency. For
example a maple fretboard has a wider spectrum than an ebony one. A body in a low density wood as the
alder, the basswood or the swamp ash will favor deeper low-medium frequency while the woods of high
density such as maple, bubinga or french ash benefit medium frequency. But we have to think
further because the sound of an instrument is based on multiple parameters that provide an alchemy.
What do you think about the neck-through, the bolt-on neck and the glued one?
Why those three choices exist?
They react differently. The neck-through has a slower response time than the bolt-on one, as a result the
sound has less attack but more envelope, that is to say an harmonic richness.
For the moment, I manufacture bolt-on neck, they are a little more suitable for the modern techniques but the
two concept are interesting.
How the pickups position influences the sound of the bass guitar?
Whats the difference between a simple coil and a dual coil?
The closer to the bridge the pickup is, the higher the sound is. When the pickup is close to the neck the sound
is deep. A simple coil pickup has a crystal clear sound and a wide (treble) audio spectrum.
A dual coil pickup has a thick sound with more bass presence and less treble due to the phase shift of the two
coils. The wiring of the dual coils can be in series connection: strong output level with attack, or in parallel: a
warm round sound with less output level.
You build your bass guitar with a zero fret, what for?
A zero fret has the same utility as a nut, it has the advantage of tuning the fretted or open-string chords the
same. It also gives the perfect height to the strings because it is on the same level as the other frets which is
not always the case with the instruments equipped with a nut.
Nevertheless it doesnt maintain the strings laterally so its essential for the string guide to be close to the
zero fret and that the strings lean correctly on the zero fret ( use a flap-strings). In my opinion each type of
tuning forks stop [(zero fret + string guide, nut in the fingerboard (Jazz bass) or at the end of the
fingerboard)] has its pros and cons and has to fit the conception and style of the instrument ( vintage,
modern, regular headstock or reversed one).
Why would you put two tension bars in a neck?
As I see it to put one or two bars in the neck is not the point, you have to be able to provide a stable
ergonomic and adjustable neck. You have to fit the instrument structure and the number of strings.
Personally, most of the time I only insert one (home made) bar on the 4, 5 or even 6 strings bass; two for
more strings with a neck in a unique maple piece. Sometimes I insert some carbon as additional help to
stabilize the neck in delicate combination of woods but the most important stays in the wood choice (the
quality of the drying and the choice of the fiber direction for the mechanic robustness)
I realize on my last visits that you were constantly searching to push further the limits of traditional
bass guitar. According to this would you tell us about the innovation you made in few words?
I dont claim any innovation. I only try to find some homemade solution to the different problems I
encounter building an instrument. To be able to change the instruments I believe that you have to be in
constant questioning. Lately I worked a lot on the electronic aspect to fight the ever-present electromagnetic
pollution. It made me develop a hum cancelling system for the single coils and conceive a new pre-amp.
Traduction : Nadine Deichtmann