Nostalgia For The Future!
“The main difference is that we personally buy the wood, hand-select it, let it settle for at least a year in the climate-controlled workshop before it is processed any further. We don’t work with pre-fabricated wood parts, every single neck and body are handmade right here in our workshop. A player requesting a special nut width, special neck shape, or unusual pickup combination can easily be helped. We carefully discuss all viable points either by personal contact, phone, or mail, ensuring the player will get exactly what he wants."
Are you like many other discerning bass players the world over, and just can’t find the vintage bass you’re looking for?
Well, look no further…we will build it for you.
That’s right, vintage instruments are only as good as the integrity of their existing condition. Can you imagine how a vintage bass built just for you will age? Problem solved.
When it comes down to translating the customer´s needs into a goodlooking, smooth playing, and superb sounding instrument… we are the experts!
Be it an outright copy of a sixties jazz, with an added low B, or a modern funk machine with active bells and whistles, tap into our creative minds, and let us lay it down for you.
Top players the world over rave about our neck feel, the sound of our low B, our gorgeous finishes, among many other things.
As a wise man once said, “It ain´t braggin´ if you can back it up!" We maintain a respectful connection to the past, while always aware of our customer’s current-day needs.
We call it, “Nostalgia For The Future!”
Bert Gerecht, bass player, record producer and vintage Fender bass connoisseur, kept dreaming of a Vintage Jazz from the sixties, but with an additional low B string... He teamed up with master luthier Magnus in 1999. After extensive experimenting with wood and electronics, building prototypes, playing, recording and generally messing around, the Hot Wire Bass was born!
Unlike a factory instrument, every Hot Wire Bass is completely built by hand. Before the instruments are ready to go, they are taken to the Hot Wire Showroom in Desloch where each bass is set up, played and tweaked by Bert himself until it is "just right".
"I personally guarantee that every single bass plays, feels and sounds its best, and I record each instrument to have an "acoustic fingerprint" of it.
Hot Wire offers standard models that most players like, but they can build to the customers specs: Lefthand? Fretless? Active? Special colors? Original Vintage appearance? Exotic hardwood laminated on body top and bottom? Elaborated electronic wizardry? Meanwhile Hot Wire has created a interesting model range inspired by the input of players, many of them well-known international pros.
"It is important for us that each player´s personality is reflected in the instrument he plays. People come from near and far to check out basses and get my opinion. Everybody has his own vision of bass, so no bass we make is like the other. International orders are discussed by email and phone. Most important is the fact that in the end the player will be happy with the bass that he was dreaming about."
The Hot Wire Bass is a truly handmade instrument, not just hand assembled from pre-fabricated parts like those coming from some well-known American companies.
"Handmade in Germany makes a difference,“ muses Gerecht who started customizing his own basses way back in 1969, later starting the world´s first bass-only shop "Mr. Bassman“ in Frankfurt in 1980.
"Frankfurt was home to a lot of studio musicians in the early eighties, and I worked on many player´s axes back then. Everybody was constantly changing pickups and electronics in search of the ultimate sound. After swapping many necks, and taking basses apart and putting them back together, I started to find out the finer aspects of what ingredients make a great bass.“
Mr.Bassman was a top Fender dealer back then, and there were a lot of trade-ins. Bert sold the new ones but kept the old ones. At night, he played jazz and blues on his prized vintage axes. He built about a hundred "Mr. Bassman" basses from kit parts in these days. "I was looking for that vintage vibe back then already while most people wanted something that looked like a Fender, but could do more, sonically. Together with an electronic buff, I created parametric bass electronics back in 1981. The first one I put into Kai Eckhardt´s Jazz bass. That was while he studied in Berkley."
Kai Eckhardt was one of the first pros to get a Hot Wire in 2001. The extraordinaire bassist of Mezzoforte, Johann Asmundsson, also fell for the sound and looks of the new Hot Wire Bass and took his one directly from the Musik Messe stand right into the studio.
"Meanwhile I can´t do it all by myself anymore...! But I am glad to have a reliable team. The bulk woodwork is done by Ruedi Ziesemann in his workshop. Almost all Hotwire pickups are produced by Christoph Dolf, active electronics are supplied by John East, Noll, and Glockenklang. We use hardware by Hipshot and Schaller, special bridge designs are made by ETS," Bert Gerecht says, who is in charge of the final adjustment of each bass. "I love tweaking," he laughs, "I always ask the future owner how he wants the set-up done, or do it with him while he is here."
"Some models like Inlaw, Double Pee or Medium Scale were inspired by customer suggestions. We keep a close eye and ear to the scene. International orders are discussed and worked out by e-mail. We have orders from all over the world, sending basses to USA, Australia, Hawaii and the Far East. It is important to us that every customer feels that he is in good hands and is happy with his bass."
In the 13th year of Hot Wire some new models were introduced: Inlaw, Force, Double Pee, Fifty/Fifty... The owner keeps getting new ideas.
"I talk to musicians all the time, I play every day, and I keep experimenting... But something like the Ramp Bass did not enter my mind... or this Three string for Magnum Coltrane Price... One night I dreamed about the 50/50 bass, and got into action the next day... thanks to my super team who can put such stuff into reality on very short notice."
As long as Bert Gerecht and his customers keep having dreams, Hot Wire will keep producing basses.