A Birdsong Story

(I figured I’d let one of my clients have the podium this week after getting this in the inbox… thanks to Dave H. in Florida!)

“My first bass was one of those inexpensive 34 inchers that come in a box on the music store shelf; the ones with a little practice amp thrown in. It was 2011 and I was 56 (yes, 56!), my back and shoulders no longer able to handle the turn and repetitions required of a solid golf swing. I had been around music all my life and toyed with the idea of learning to play bass for years. The end of golf provided both the motivation and the opportunity to begin a new chapter.

“Fast forward to 2014… I’m in a local band playing music I enjoy with some really special folks. I’ve also been through three more 34” basses and a production 30” short scale, FIVE instruments in under 42 months, all of them requiring some type of compromise regarding weight, balance, playability, and/or tone.

“In our house we like to say, “When you find what you really want, get it”.  And I knew that what I really wanted was a bass I’d first read about in a short scale bass blog years before… a Birdsong. 

“Last December, after studying every word and photo on the website and listening to every demo, I sent an email to Scott. Within minutes (maybe minute, singular) my cell phone rang, a call from Texas. “Geez, that was fast!” I answered. There was a chuckle on the other end, “Hey this is Scott Beckwith with Birdsong, I just got your email.”  Scott was about to leave on vacation, and we agreed to continue the conversation in a few weeks.  

“When the process began for real, Scott focused primarily on two things: (1) the kind of music I play; and (2) my thoughts on what the bass would look like. Our band covers the widest variety of pop, rock, and blues, so I need versatility.  Scott steered me to the Corto2, it could handle it all. For the look, I wanted a gnarly piece of mesquite, lots of character with turquoise in the knots and cracks, like the lumber mill cut through a vein of turquoise while sawing the wood.  

“Scott was excited.  If you haven’t noticed, he finds significance in many of life’s nuances and that carries over to the instruments he makes. The “Southwest Special” look has meaning to him, and it has meaning to me, a comforting reminder of our time years ago in Houston where our children were born (and home of some of the nicest people on the planet!). We had an instant connection.

“On the Birdsong website is an invitation to visit the workshop. It is a most genuine invite and I had the chance to wind my way through the Texas Hill Country in early 2015 to see Uncle Johnny’s Workshop and Joe the Truck up close and personal. When I arrived, Scott showed me a couple of pieces of mesquite with the outline of a Cortobass penciled on it. The wood was just what I had envisioned… worm holes, crevices, twisted grain… and hard as steel. The hands holding the wood in the first posted picture of C327 are mine.

“I also had the unexpected pleasure of meeting Scott’s co-conspirators, Jamie (Scott married up, way up) and Maggie. You can tell a lot about a dog by the people it chooses to be around… that and the wiggles, wags, and licks.  Maggie is one fine dog!

“C327 arrived a few days ago.  It is the prettiest, coolest bass I’ve ever seen; mesquite over walnut with cocobolo and rosewood trim… and the turquoise! More importantly, it sounds amazing. It has a rich, full voice with an encyclopedia of tones, and tremendous sustain… like you might otherwise have to get through a preamp… a really good one… yeah, I timed it. The neck is fast and the balance is perfect.

“The build went EXACTLY as advertised. It takes a while to get a Birdsong and I’d play “Where’s Waldo” every Friday, looking for glimpses of C327 or its component parts in all of the newly posted build pictures. But many worthwhile things in life take time and there is only one way to get a bass that combines this kind of performance and character.  Microwaved gumbo anyone? No thanks.

“A Birdsong is truly a stage-worthy bass, ANY stage. There is NO compromise…not in the look, the build quality, the sound, or the playability.

“Many thanks to you, Scott, and your Birdsong family for a great bass and an even greater experience.”

Dave H.
St. Augustine, FL

(And thank you again Dave, it’s our bliss to know we have helped something special into the world and served you by getting it into your hands. Play it in good health & happiness for a long time!)

There will be no update next week, Friday the 25th. Check in again the following Friday for the continuing adventures of your favorite woodgnomes and the little workshop that could!

Listening to: Mississippi Fred McDowell, soon to be listening to Kamasi Washington’s “The Epic” and I can’t wait!