Chris Whiteley’s Custom Flying V 12-String Bass

Chris Whiteley from the UK built this custom Flying V 12-string bass in his home on his wife's workbench. He documented the entire process, took photos of every step and wrote down exactly what he was doing as he was doing it.

The 12 incorporates a spalted beech top laminated to an ash body, dual truss rods, 24 frets, 34” long scale.

Editor’s Note: We will include the details about the building of this 12 in the Tech section at a future date.

Chris on stage with his custom 12-String bass

2007 Custom Flying V 12-String Bass

Chris writes, “I initially strung up the V with an 8-string bass set I had lying around, and used guitar strings (knotted together) for the extra four octave strings. The result was exhausting to play so, bearing in mind that I prefer the lighter octaves on my 10-string bass, I kept the tuning at E-A-D-G but dropped the octave tuning to A-D-G-C. This was very much easier to play and it gave a nice bright jangly sound.”

The back of the headstock showing the four string ferrules.

The back of the headstock showing the four string ferrules.

Schaller 471 8-string bass bridge, two Mighty Mite 5-string bass pick-ups

Mounting position of the four tuners on the body and the laminated maple veneer cover for the control cavity.

Once the build was completed Chris wrote, “Having played the V-12 for a bit, I have to say it's not something that works low slung. The scale of the V is the usual 34" but all that timber sticking out behind the bridge adds on a lot in terms of length and weight. The action is as low as I can get it - no more than 1.5 mm at the 12th fret, possibly 1.25 mm. It plays pretty fast despite the width of the neck.”