Ed Collier – A modern day Da Vinci

Over the past few years I’ve received literally a few thousand submissions of companies that build basses.  There are a few that stand out and this one stands out big time.

When I first saw the Collier website, I thought, “Oh brother, why did I get this one?”.   It took some digging around but I eventually realized what a gem this website was.  At first you see a lot of stuff that has nothing to do with bass, but Ed Collier has built hundreds of them.  The thing is that Ed builds great basses, but he designs and builds a bazillion other things too.  I think there’s a kind of modern Leonardo Da Vinci going on here.  The funny thing is that Ed calls this his hobby site.  What does he do during the day?  It can only be rocket science.

While trying to update the Bass-Aholic pages I send out a bulk email.  Ed sent me a rather detailed email and it was so interesting that I thought I’d including it here.


Dear Terri,

Thank you for contacting me. Notice my different email address, I would appreciate if you change that (@scarlet will become obsolete soon). Tremendously great job you do there. Wish we had your webpage 20 years ago.

Thought I should give you some more info on my instruments. Contrary to what you might think, this was not only a hobby, although it started that way.

I have been building (and playing) basses in Belgium / Europe, as a second profession from 1988 to 1999, a few hundred instruments in total.  Most of them were called the Graphite series, these are the one you have on your webpage.  They are glued-in Graphite necks in 4, 5 and 6 strings. The necks were handmade 17 layer high pressurized Graphite.  Bodies all exclusive and unique wood combinations (there is not 2 identical).  Pickups were Bartolini, EMG or Basstec.  Electronics mostly my own.  Hardware ETS, made to my specs.

In addition to this Graphite series, I also made a Custom series (neck-through) and a vintage series (bold-on).

Most of the basses have been sold to the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany. As far as I know, none went out of Europe.

I enjoyed meeting with other lutiers all over the world and did some special projects with them, f.i. I made a few Bogart (see your listing) special versions and did some minor collaborations with Rikkers, Warwick, DeGier, Schack, Marleaux, Duesenberg, Martina, Dorian, Kritz, Belgrado.  By the way, I notice you don’t have these latest 4 names in your database.

Kritz Guitars: http://www.kritz.com/pages/previous%20site/index.html

Martina: http://www.elliomartina.com/

Dorian: http://be.linkedin.com/pub/sophie-dockx/29/334/88

Belgrado: http://belgradosi.blogspot.com/

I stopped professional building because of 2 reasons:

  • my basses were difficult to build, I worked on high precision and objective high quality. This became too expensive and I didn’t want to make the instrument unaffordable. I had 2 choices, working for free, raising the price significantly or stop the business. I have choosen for the last option.
  • the guitar building was not my main profession. Therefore I was very limited in time. With 50 to 100 working hours (even using CNC routers) on each instrument it becomes a full time job if you get over 20 orders / year.

Maybe one day I pick-up this hobby as a profession again. Still got plenty of necks, bodies, wood and hardware and sufficiant interest. Meanwhile I am starting to put some pictures online, https://picasaweb.google.com/110391320683267874393/CollierBasses?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Best regards,

Ed.


Please check out Ed’s website and see the wonderful that he has done.

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One Response to Ed Collier – A modern day Da Vinci

  1. Karl Georges C says:

    I have one of the first – if not the first – bass Ed ever built (yep, it’s the one in this profile picture)with the name Jana (after his daughter’s name if I remember well). I still use this bass a lot for recording because it has a great sound and fantastic sustain. If you ever see a Collier bass for sale 2nd hand (it won’t be mine because for some time I wanted to sell it but I’m happy I didn’t) be sure to give it a try.

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