Pedulla Guitars and Basses Celebrates 40 Years
Article by Eric Larson, © Copyright 2015 FretlessBass.com
I’ve been working with the fine folks at Pedulla Guitars to learn more about their basses, and to learn more about their story. This year, 2015, happens to mark their 40th anniversary in business. The story is a very interesting one, starting with Michael Pedulla in the early 1970’s making banjos and guitars as a new luthier in the Boston area, and switching to building basses after being in the instrument repair business for quite some time. One of my favorite stories is about bass veteran, and long-time friend of FretlessBass.com, Mark Egan, bringing Michael a fretless bass that the great Jaco Pastorius gave to him as a gift. It needed an epoxy fingerboard repair, which started the wheels turning in Michael’s head about a better way to coat a fretless fingerboard. From that inspiration came two prototype fretless basses, sold to Mark Egan and Tim Landers, and the rest is history. Over the years, Pedulla started as a one-man builder, peaked with a larger team and higher output in the late 1990’s, and has come full circle to be a one-man builder once again, supported by absolute conviction of quality over quantity, and unwavering commitment to building the best basses possible, always made in the USA.
In celebration of their 40th year, Pedulla released this announcement:
To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Pedulla guitars (1975-2015), Michael Pedulla has made one of each Pedulla bass model with a painstakingly hand-crafted American Flag headstock with Pedulla Anniversary emblem and his signature on the back. The American Flag was chosen to reflect the company’s pride that all Pedulla guitars have been Made in USA. These limited edition bass guitars are made with rare AAAAA+ grade Flame Maple finished in Pedulla’s signature gloss polyester finishes. Pictures were taken during the production process. For more on these Limited Edition Pedulla 40th Anniversary basses, visit www.Pedulla.com.
Some interesting facts Pedulla shared with us:
The main reasons why Michael Pedulla uses a polyester finish on his fretless fingerboards instead of coating them with epoxy are:
- Epoxy is not as durable as polyester (it does not wear as well with use as polyester does)
- Epoxy is not as hard as polyester (polyester has a higher SWAD number)
- Epoxy is not as flexible as polyester (this is important because wood will expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity)
- Polyester provides a more lustrous finish
- And the most important reason he uses polyester instead of epoxy is because epoxy is much thicker, thereby negating the acoustic attributes of the fingerboard under the finish. Epoxy is less expensive and much easier to apply but Michael incurs the extra expense and additional hours of work because the polyester finish provides far superior results for a bass guitar.
A long-time Pedulla employee of over 20 years, who works closely with Michael Pedulla, commented, “Michael has been making guitars since 1975 and has developed his bass designs and construction methods by using a great deal of trial and error (no internet available for the vast majority of those years!), and even when he found things that worked well (and were well received by players like Mark Egan and Gene Simmons), he has always strived to make every improvement possible. A perfect example of this was the fact that bass players seemed happy with an epoxy finish on fretless fingerboards (which Michael had done in the 1970s), but Michael was determined to find a better coating, and did. Michael has always been a hands-on luthier (not just a designer or company owner) and his basses have all been hand-made here in Massachusetts. No CNC machinery, no overseas factory models, no parent company or investors to answer to, just a man (a really kind and gentle man) and his tools with an incredible passion for making the best bass guitars possible.”
Congratulations to Pedulla Guitars for 40 years of dedication to quality instruments and music! Please be sure to visit www.Pedulla.com. We are continuing to work with Pedulla on more of their story, covering the last 40 years. Stay tuned!
To find pre-owned Pedulla basses check on eBay!