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Tuesday, 03 March 2015 08:57

Interview with Xylem Guitars and Bass - a luthier in Colorado

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Check out our interview with Xylem custom guitars and basses, a luthier based in Colorado. They also repair guitars. All Xylem custom bass guitars and guitars are fully tailored to your musical tastes and preferences. Xylem luthier Anthony Olinger will help you design and develop the perfect instrument for you by combining his expertise and experience with your idea of the perfect bass or guitar. The result will be a one of a kind instrument that fits you better than any other.

Most other guitar companies barely offer the option to change neck dimensions, let alone work with you directly, one-on-one to create your dream instrument! - More

"Xylem instruments are custom-built to your specifications. At Xylem, "custom" does not just mean a standard-model instrument with a fancy paint job and boutique pickups; Anthony creates truly custom basses and guitars. From Fender and Gibson style instruments to more exotic designs, Xylem can create the instrument you have always been searching for!" - Xylem Guitars

Name: Anthony Olinger
Company Name: Xylem Basses & Guitars


A quick introduction please, name, company, location:
Xylem Handmade Basses & Guitars is owned and operated by Anthony Olinger and has officially been in business since 2008. Xylem is located in beautiful Durango, Colorado.


What got you started making gear?
I built my first bass while attending Colorado State University. I was learning lots of Primus songs at the time and was having trouble getting John the Fisherman just right on my 5 string Peavey. So I looked into changing to a short scale 4 string. I couldn't find anything for less than $2000, which just wasn't going to happen while I was paying my way through college. I had already daydreamed about building basses, so I decided to build a short scale myself.

At the start of the next semester I found a music professor that was willing to give me an elective credit for building a bass. I built the bass in the kitchen of my apartment and in a shop above the Sunset Event Center (thanks again Dawn and Keith), usually late at night after my homework and workday were finished. I completed the bass, graduated with a degree in zoology two weeks later, and decided that I wanted to build instruments for a living! I then moved to Chicago and worked as an assistant manager at Brookdale Music for two years while I made instruments part-time, then I launched Xylem Handmade Basses & Guitars in 2007.


What gear do you make?
I build fully custom electric basses and guitars. Everything from standard four-string basses to extended range instruments (7, 8, 9-string basses and guitars) to sub-contra basses.


Where do you operate from?
I build all my instruments in my small shop in Durango, Colorado.


What about making gear do you like the most?
My favorite thing about making guitars and basses is hearing from the owners of my instruments. I love to know that I've built someone an instrument that stands out beyond all their other instruments and helps them excel as a musician and reach their highest goals.


Is this a hobby or full time operation?
Xylem Basses & Guitars is my full time occupation.


Who inspires you/who do you look up to musically, IE what gear do you admire?
I have always been inspired by Les Claypool, Tosin Abasi and Carl Thompson. I respect and admire virtually anyone who can build a guitar or bass that is ergonomically designed, sounds great and is very easy to play, which includes the vast majority of full-time builders. I am also a huge fan of Boomerang Musical Products, Ltd and Electro-Harmonix.


What pisses you off/what do you like; about the boutique audio gear building industry?
My favorite thing about the boutique audio gear building industry is the innovation. I get to innovate on a daily basis, whether it's in the form of changing a design element on a bass guitar or altering the building process. I also love to learn about the innovations of other luthiers and gear makers. I learn something new almost every day and get to be part of the evolution of the music industry.


Are you still in a band or play music and do you use your own gear?
I used to be the bass player for a unique hip-hop band called Diabolical Sound Platoon, but I had to go on hiatus in 2012 because I got so busy with orders at Xylem. I still play and try to write new material almost every day. I play my own Xylem bass exclusively.


Quick Fire:
Favourite Guitar Maker? Other than myself, it's between Shawn May and Marleaux Basses.
Favourite Guitar Effect? Boomerang Looper.
Favourite Amp Maker? Ashdown.
Favourite Music Genre? Kendrick Lamar-style hip-hop and anything that sounds new.
Favourite Band / Artist? Primus or Diabolical Sound Platoon.
Favourite Guitarist? Tosin Abasi or Bob Log III.
Favourite Instrument? Bass guitar.
Favourite Drink? Coffee.
Favourite Place? Colorado.
Favourite Food? Thai Food.

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