DeTemple Guitars
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P55 Bass
  Many years ago I owned a ‘55 Precision Bass and really loved it. Unfortunately, it was one of those instruments that unfortunately “got away”. I never forgot about it though. Ever since I started DeTemple Guitars it was my intention to build this mid 50s style of bass. - Michael DeTemple  
Spirit Series P55 Body
This is the most recent instrument that I have developed in the Spirit Series™ line of DeTemple Guitars. The same goals; unequalled tone, playability, quality of materials and overall feel of my DTG ’52 and ’56 Spirit Series instruments are equally important to conform to in the build of each P55 or P55T bass.

I first started playing bass when my grammar school music teacher, Mr. Graham, asked me to play the string bass because I was the biggest kid in the class. I was already playing the guitar but was thrilled to be asked to play this amazing instrument. I got to play it for one semester then all of a sudden the bass wasn’t at my school any longer. I stayed with guitar, banjo and mandolin all through the years, but when I was about 26, I played bass with Albert Hammond (It Never Rains in Southern California) on a wonderful music tour in South Africa. I am fortunate to have a beautiful and rare, Robles, string bass in the corner of my music room, next to the piano, for me and all my bass playing pals to enjoy.

I have made some changes to the overall Mid 50s design in a few ways. Here is a basic overview of some of the changes in either design or building procedures that are incorporated in my new P55 and P55T.

As with all my Spirit Series instruments, the body is a Lightweight One Piece Swamp Ash body. Officially, within the wood industry, lightweight swamp ash must weigh 2.8 lbs per board foot or less. I don’t buy any wood that is heavier than 2.2 lbs. per board foot! This makes the P55 Bass very light indeed. Most are around 8 lbs. The neck and body are joined with a Spirit Series Titanium Neck Plate that has been Laser Engraved with the DeTemple Guitars Logo.

The body has the same basic footprint as an original bass from the mid 1950s, but the arm contour is more distinct, giving a more comfortable playing position for your right arm.

The contour on the back of the body is very deep and pronounced, allowing the bass to snug right up next to your body. Very Sexy!

We offer two slightly different body styles. The P55 has a larger radius around the outside edges of the instrument on the front and back. That radius is the same as the radius of the Sprit Series ‘56 (Strat Style) guitar body.

The P55T has more of a plank look from the front view. The radius is a small radius like the Spirit Series ’52 (Tele Style) guitar. The back radius is the same as the P55.

The Neck
All of the P55 necks are built by Pre-tensioning the neck and truss rod. This is a proprietary technique that really imparts a resonance and life into the instrument unlike any others. I have also incorporated Graphite Technology into the neck build which gives even more stiffness and control over the shape of the fingerboard plane. I have been able to eliminate the dead frets so common on many of the production bass guitars in the market today. You can say goodbye to that dead 4th fret B note on the G String. P55 necks have a very consistent, long and even neck relief down the entire length of the playing surface. P55 bass necks are a very comfortable Large Soft V Shape with my proprietary Reverse Taper for an extremely ergonomic feel. You just won’t know you are playing as large a neck as it really is. All of the necks are beautiful Quarter Sawn Flamed Maple with Bocote Skunk Stripe. A Rosewood Fingerboard can be added as well. The dots are Black Mother of Pearl on the Flamed Maple Necks and Fossilized Walrus Tusk on the Rosewood Fingerboards. A Fretless Rosewood Fingerboard version, with maple inserts where the frets would be, can be made for you if that is your preference. The Rosewood option is a price upgrade. Please call for the availability of various Rosewood species. The P55 bass necks have a 9.5” radius and fretwire that measures .045” tall by .095” wide.

I have designed a new P55 Titanium Bridge Assembly™ that I am very proud of. This bridge is the heart and soul of the instrument. It imparts such amazing tonality and feel that it is difficult to describe. All the bridge parts are machined out of Billet Titanium or Titanium Bar stock.

The strings mount through the body and are anchored in a Titanium String Retainer Block. The Block mounts into the back of the body in its own tightly fitted cavity. The Titanium Top Plate of the Bridge Assembly is mounted to the body by machine screws that go through the Top Plate then through the body to thread into the Retainer Block in the back of the body. There is .625” (5/8”) of body wood that is sandwiched in between the Titanium Top Plate and the Titanium Retainer Block. This brings so much resonance into the body that you can feel the body vibrating through your clothes!

Finally, the Titanium Saddles are lathe turned from Titanium Bar Stock and the radiused grooves are cut to match the string diameter.

The original bass, made in the Mid 1950s, had one passive, single coil, four pole Alnico V pickup. The controls were volume and tone. I have added a second pickup to the instrument as well as a pickup blender pot. The control configuration is one Volume Pot and One Stacked Pot. The stacked pot really has two potentiometers that are controlled by two separate knobs, one concentrically stacked on top of the other. The smaller top knob controls Tone and the larger bottom knob controls the ability to blend the two pickups together. The DeTemple SweetSpot™ Alnico II P55 Pickups are made reverse wind and reverse polarity to each other. When blended together they become a series wired Humbucker. This gives the P55 a tremendous amount of tone control and variation from Single Coil to a harder driving punchy Humbucker.

Many of my professional bass playing friends have come into the shop and played the P55 and there have been two common threads that came out of most of their mouths.
The first is “This is my favorite bass I have ever played”. And second is “It is so much fun to play”

Hearing statements like these makes me feel that I have succeeded in building the bass I have always wanted to build, the DeTemple Spirit Series P55 Bass.

Please feel free to give me a call and ask questions about my exciting new bass! Call for pricing (818) 782-9933

Michael DeTemple
Master Luthier
DeTemple Guitars
I have to admit that I was skeptical about this bass at first. But when I had it in my hands, I was completely overwhelmed! This was not a retro bass. Nor was it some kind of copy. This was simply the best bass guitar I have ever seen or played. An absolute beauty. I am a proud Daddy indeed!

Mark Mancina
Music Composer/Producer

voice - (818) 782-9933 | fax (818) 782-9993