La Fée Verte

Sometimes one idea leads to another, plans change along the way, pieces of the puzzle seem to be missing – yet in the end it all comes together like magic. That’s exactly what happened with this Steam bass.

When Tuomas Timonen decided to order a bass from me in green color, his original idea was to build the bass theme around a gorilla figure (artwork by Pasi Mäkelä) that is featured on ‘Läski‘ – a psychedelic/performance/alternative project Tuomas plays in – posters and album covers. Sounded very cool!

After a month or so Tuomas however realized that the gorilla theme didn’t really kick in the way he was originally hoping for. He mentioned to me that maybe the theme could be something related to the name of the color. Absinthe – the spirit favored by the bohemian culture of the 19th century France and often portrayed as a dangerous psychoactive drug – is commonly referred  ‘La Fée Verte’, the ‘Green Fairy’.

Tuomas suggested that we do an inlay on 12th fret depicting the Green Fairy, dancing on the fretboard. Well, if writers and artists such as Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Amadeo Modigliani, Charles Baudelaire and Vincent Van Gogh digged a sip of Green Fairy every once in a while for inspiration, then why not a modern Finnish poet / musician… and a guitar maker as well!

I asked Anniina Vainionpää – a wonderful artist – if she would be interested in drawing us something “fairyish”. When I saw Anniina’s drafts, my first thought was that we have to use all of them and ask her to do more – but first I had to convince Tuomas that we have to change the plan (again) a little bit…

Luckily Tuomas did agree and the project proceeded. In the meanwhile, we had built a Unicorn Classic for another customer, Kingsley Durant, and after certain events involving David Torn and Tom Kesel (read all about it here) our color Absinthe Greenburst was renamed ‘Bad Absinthe’. This (seemingly) irrelevant event had now lead to a situation where all of a sudden Tuomas and I realized we were working on a design involving pole dancing green fairies in tight little clothes, to be inlaid on the fretboard of a bass that was colored Bad Absinthe – the stars were clearly starting to align right.

I hope you enjoy the photo gallery of the build process. Custom inlay work is always fun – and even more so when there’s a good story to go with it.