BL Design began when Beau Leopard began playing bass in 1990 at the age of 14 and quickly became obsessed. Soon after he decided my 4-string P Bass copy wasn't cutting' it and He wanted to get a 5-string. He didn't have any money so he asked his father to help out. Instead of buying a bass he suggested Beau build one...
He acquired the quintessential book "Make Your Own Electric Guitar" and set out to “build” his first bass. Luckily, he had many good resources in the area to help me along the way. Furniture and banjo maker Richard Newman made a body blank and cut the neck pocket. The good people at Northfield Music helped him with electronics & setup as well as bass lessons... Ralph Ortiz taught him how to play bass. With some additional parts and tools Beau was on his way. It worked out and he was hooked, let's just say he did pretty well in high school shop class.
It's been 26 years being involved in woodworking and building basses. BL Design was started in 2005. We are located in Ontario, NY, just outside of Rochester, NY
How did you get started building? I grew up building things with my father. Skateboards and skateboard ramps evolved into instruments about a year after I started playing bass. From that point on I was consumed with all things bass and went on to study bass performance in college and attended the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery.
Why do you build instruments? For me, building instruments is the perfect balance between multiple disciplines that I enjoy. There is a very creative artistic side as well as an intensely technical side. Initially this satisfied my own desire for a better instrument. It has evolved into a business that allows me to create something that can satisfy others as well.
When did you start using Nordstrand Pickups? I initially heard about Carey's work in a bass forum in 2006. I then checked out his website and I was amazed by his basses and pickups.
Do you have a favorite Nordstrand Pickup, Why? Fat Stacks are my favorite pickup. I love the tone, clarity and punch. The ability to switch from a humbucker to a single coil is great too.
How many instruments do you build per year? I average 3 instruments per year.
What do you believe are the most important factors in tone? There are so many factors involved in tone but the most important is the player. After that I think materials, quality of construction and pickups/electronics equally contribute.
What are your favorite materials to work with? I enjoy working with most species of wood used in guitar making. They each have unique properties and challenges which need to be considered when building an instrument.
Find out more about Beau Leopard and BL Design at www.bldesign.us