Meet the Team

Surf in his Music Room. And yes, there is a Storm Trooper watching from the shadows.

Hello everybody, and welcome!

We’re starting this new site just as we started the original one - a small number of pages at first, then growing constantly. There were 35 pages when this site was started in 2003; some pages included only a single image, but that grew to nearly 400 pages and thousands of photos. This site will be much bigger. The original site did a good job at presenting the “meat and potatoes” about the 12-string bass. With this site we’re going to add some spices and gravy - behind-the-scenes stories, gossip, opinions, maybe even some scandalous libel and slander. All in good fun, of course. That’s why we are calling this the “Encyclopedia” of the 12-string bass - our goal is to include everything you could ever possibly want to know about this amazing and challenging instrument, including all the weird little tangents, nooks and crannies we have discovered along the way.

Rather than rehashing a bunch of things many of you have already seen, the focus for today is on new stuff. The majority of the content on the site now was not included on the original site, and some has never been published before. We’ll add in all the basses and other content as we go. I’ve added a ‘Site Updates’ page in the Appendix section so you can see what we have recently added.

As always, we encourage you to join in the fun! Send us your 12-string bass photos and information. Have you done any recording with your 12? We’ll include you in the Discography. Have any great 12ver stories? Send ‘em in! Sharing information benefits everyone.

Rock on!


Editor of the 12-String Bass Encyclopedia

January 1, 2019

Artist Relations - Philip Snyder


Philip has been a co-conspirator since day one here at His love for the instrument and eagerness to be seriously involved made him the perfect man to be Mark's "partner in crime". Philip has generated and solidified many of the site's artist and builder connections and has worked endlessly behind the scenes.

Philip lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. He began playing guitar at age 13 and acquired his passion for the 12-string bass sometime during the mid 1980's. He finally received his first 12 in 2000 and his next two 12-string basses in 2005. While he's remained a guitar player first and foremost (having been a performing and recording artist as well as a guitar teacher for most of his life), his extensive research and applied knowledge has made him an expert in the field of the 12-string bass.

Philip’s 12-string bass recording experience includes the song “Title Fight” on the “Overkill Is Just Enough” compilation album, two songs with the band Rapid Fire on the “Now” album, plus a couple of songs with the band Studio Rats as well.

Editor - Mark Rowe


Surf had this fretless Rickenbacker 8-string bass custom built in 1987; he played it at 600 gigs over a dozen years. This is the instrument that started him down the path towards total 12-string bass madness!

Mark is the editor of this site and was the sole fretless 12-string (4x3) bassist in the world for seven years. He started playing bass in 1976 and is entirely self-taught. Mark learned to play on a fretless, and starting in 1987 he added the fretless 8-string bass to his arsenal, continuing to play fretless basses exclusively until the acoustic 12-string bass made by Emerald Guitars was built for him. That bass has completely changed his musical direction and he is now working on a one-man musically based comedy show featuring the Emerald 12.

Mark was dubbed "Surf Rat" by a guitarist who thought he looked like a California beach bum when he showed up for a gig wearing a floral Hawaiian shirt and shorts. The name stuck and today many of his friends just call him "Surf".

Surf has played at the national music industry trade shows (NAMM) as a bass demonstrator / artist many times. Matt Eichen, president of Musicvox Guitars, introduces Mark at the NAMM shows as, “The World’s Leading Expert on the 12-String Bass”, while Robert Singer, president of Waterstone Guitars, calls Mark, "The Ambassador of the 12-String Bass".

Our Heroes

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