"I was always told if you love what you do, it will never feel like work. Building a double bass is long, detailed work, but it`s what I love. Half the fun of making a bass is finding wood to build these behemoths. From repurposed spruce from salmon traps in Alaska, to a huge sycamore tree in the Midwest, the hunt for good tonewood is a constant." - John Koehler

Welcome to John Koehler Basses

With one foot in tradition and another in innovative techniques, luthier John Koehler has learned time-tested methods of instrument making while also constantly engaging in new ways to improve and hone bass instruments. A bass player himself, Koehler is inspired by the many musicians who have improved the bass substantially over the past few decades. Through the basses he creates, Koehler combines ease of playing with craftsmanship and a resonant voice.

Koehler follows a similar old-meets-new approach in the materials he selects for his basses, using traditional spruce and maple while also incorporating non-traditional woods such as black walnut and sycamore. In addition, he has used repurposed wood in his basses, taking advantage of existing resources without harming those in short supply. He is currently exploring alternatives for ebony.

John graduated from the luthier program at Red Wing, Minnesota, and started working for Blakerby Violin Shop in Austin, Texas. John practiced everything from re-hairs to complete restorations. After finishing a two-year restoration of a mid-1920s Juzek bass, John started building his own instruments. John now builds basses in a variety of styles and materials to suit the needs of any player.

"My Pelonius. I could not possibly say enough good things about the workmanship, beauty, excellent choice of tuners, delicate curve to the c bouts, subtle yet artistic purfling, well placed f holes, solid scroll work, and magnificent sound. The tonal qualities get better each day, you can feel the energy of the bass each time one begins a practice session or performance, like a two-year-old race horse lining into the starting gate for the first time. The Pelonius has a rich, resonating tonal quality, requiring truly little effort to play at any position on the fret board, inspiring experiment and virtually demanding relearning long forgotten bow work.

The back of the Pelonius I play is a work of art, matched black maple with firm and well-defined curves. The transition from the back to the neck is very pleasing to the eye, and presents a solid feel throughout. The varnish is smooth and no doubt contributes to the depth of sound, although the non-traditional black walnut that makes up the bass provides a sonorous tone that reaches out from the interior to grab the attention of listeners and bassist.

Truly a wonderful instrument. I am not given to naming things in my world, my bass is, and will forever be called the Pelonius."
- Bob Aldrich


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John Koehler, Luthier Stringed Instruments

Telephone: 715-869-2797

Email: jbassman67@gmail.com