Northwest Timber Figured Hardwoods
Seth Kimmel Basses
Claro walnut bass

What or whom was your influence in getting into building basses, what inspires your work?  
I've worked with wood my whole life,really. After almost twenty years of working as general contractor I had a pretty good shop and some really decent experience. I had been playing a groovy old Kay plywood bass casually for a few years and figured I could probably make something at least as good out of real wood. A friend or two who were making instruments encouraged me to go for it, or at least they didn't do a very good job discouraging me.  I bought as many books as I could on bass and violin and cello and asked a bunch or questions.  The bass turned out pretty good.  I had some wood left over. I made another.  Since then I have had many great opportunities to meet with and learn from many of the top level bass makers in the world. 
Inspiration comes from many directions. I love the sound of the double bass, and bass players tend to be pretty cool people.  Each bass has such a unique sound, and each player has such unique desires. It is exciting and gratifying when a player decides that one of my basses is the perfect fit. Of course, I love working with wood as well. I started whittling sticks while growing up out in the country and camping by the rivers of Oregon, then on to construction with lumber, now I have graduated to using gorgeous woods, like NW timber supplies. The wood itself is inspirational.  I enjoy handling it, admiring it, and watching its transformation from one step to the next. 
How do you market your work? Do you promote yourself, as well as your lutherie?
 Though I have always found running my own business to be interesting, I am far more interested in carving basses than I am in advertising. I do try to attend at least one conference/competition each year-more with the goal of meeting players and other makers in mind than sales, though. The International Society of Bassists and The Violin Society of America have alternating yearly conferences. I have won several awards at these competitions, which helps make a nice buzz. I try to reach out to bass players at the University of Oregon music school, by offering student discounts in order to encourage them in their studies.  My lovely wife (the most wonderful woman in the world whom I couldn't manage without) does a good job keeping my website -   - updated and making it always "new and improved."  Mostly though, I depend on word of mouth. Bass players love to talk about basses, so if my name is brought up from a happy player, that's the best advertising anyone can desire. 
What have you done to make your instrument stand apart from all the others?
 A really cool thing about the double bass violin is that if they are truly hand made, they all stand out. Every maker I know has little things they do specifically this way or that way because of this reason or that reason, But Then you add in the factor of these giant pieces of wood we need to use and you get a very unique instrument every time.  I think one thing that might be a little different about my approach than some others (definitely not to say better or worse!) is that I really embrace this broad spectrum of opportunity.  I love working on designing new models and then refining them. I enjoy the challenge and excitement of trying new wood combinations.  With wood this nice, even if it is an unusual combination, it's always going to be way better than my old Kay! 
What is your favorite part of the process?
I enjoy it all. Designing a bass is really fun. Putting it together is what I'm good at.  Varnishing is stinky and sticky and you can really screw up it, but I love love the challenge and seeing the the color build and enhance the gorgeous wood. But of course, getting to play and getting to hear others play the bass can't be beat.
Is there anything you haven't done yet that you want to?
 I am currently building a 1/20th size bass (a.k.a. a fiddle) just for fun. Laura and I laugh that it looks like a child's toy compared to what we are used to seeing. I recently built a guitar based on an old Martin, and stained it purple-again just for fun.  I guess I just enjoy learning as much as I can about how all instruments are made, and how various finishes and materials work, so I can take that knowledge back to my bass carving and construction.  I really just hope to be able to continue to find good wood and stay healthy so I can just keep keep on keeping on. 
Contact Seth Kimmel,
Tel: 541-543-6626

306 High Street - Eugene, OR    97401


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Seth Kimmel Basses

Northwest Timber 
3229 Jefferson Scio Dr SE
PO Box 1010
Jefferson Oregon 97352 1-800-238-8036
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