Xavier Padilla’s Torzal Custom Electric Bass

The Xavier Padilla Custom electric bass guitar, built by Jerome Little of Little Guitar Works, is an amazing example of ergonomic guitar design from its unusual body design to its Torzal Twisted Neck.

Padilla Electric Bass Guitar

Six to eight months of discussions with Xavier Padilla resulted in very detailed design requirements. In fact, Jerome Little indicated that he “printed out just some of the correspondence to have as a reference in the shop…resulting in a 1.5″ stack of paper!” The product of their efforts is a showcase of ergonomic instrument design. The following are just some of its elements…

Padilla Electric Bass Guitar Strap Detail

Playing the instrument in a classical position was an important consideration and so the lower bout’s leg cutaway was designed with this in mind. The upper horn shape was also important to positioning the body properly so it too is shaped accordingly. Jerome Little also pointed out an interesting element of the upper horn design (seen to the left) which “houses the strap button (and strap) inside a sliding cover so that the strap can come straight out and over the shoulder and yet the strap button doesn’t dig into the chest.”

Padilla Electric Bass Guitar Closeup

The body incorporates a number of design elements as well. As with other ergonomic designs, the picking arm has excellent support. In addition, the “plane of the strings is angled up at the bridge to reduce the necessity of bending the wrist.” The body also incorporates a thumb rest all along the bass side of the body (seen in the image above) in what would be the position of a fifth bass string.

Jerome Little’s Torzal Twist Neck is yet another example of ergonomic design. Its downward twist at the nut (approximately 15-20 degrees) reduces wrist stress since the player can fret with a straighter wrist.

For more on Jerome Little’s fine work, I suggest visiting Little Guitar Works. Finally, many thanks to Jerome Little for sharing further details about his design.

UPDATE: For more on this instrument, see Padilla Solos On His Little Guitar Works Torzal Bass Guitar. Also check out recent coverage on a Padilla Style Torzal Twist Bass.

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13 Responses to “Xavier Padilla’s Torzal Custom Electric Bass”

  1. That is one beautiful bass. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you for stopping by! I agree wholeheartedly that this Little Guitar Works design is beautiful. It goes to show that ergonomics and aesthetics are not mutually exclusive.

  2. Very nice! I like it.

  3. James and Ziomal – Thank you both for stopping by. There’s a good deal more to come including further progress on my guitar build. I just received a few parts I needed in order to proceed so stay tuned.

  4. you are a person after my own heart! Amaaaazing site!! I love these freakin’ freaky guitars. I feel inspired to pick up where I left off too long ago and finish my own loopy design. Thanks, mate.

    1. whinestone – Glad you’re enjoying the site! This post was particularly special for me because of the direct connection to what I’m exploring on the site. It was exciting to communicate with someone like Jerome Little of Little Guitar Works – a luthier who is serious about ergonomic design and willing to move away from the conventions of half century old electric guitar designs.

  5. […] 5) I used to play a lot of guitar and bass, so I was happy to find this site, the Ergonomic Guitar, with some special tags on cool Bass Guitars. […]

  6. Nice looking instrument! When you say “play in classical position,” were you referring to classical upright style or something like a one-finger-per-fret bass guitar style? Thanks for the heads up, too!

    1. Hi Ryan! Welcome!

      My understanding from discussions with Jerome Little was that this was for playing in classical guitar position while sitting although its pretty obvious that the instrument would require a strap to be played one way or another. It really is geared toward performing while standing. Take a look at the Padilla performance I reference at the end of the article above and you’ll see its played conventionally. It also gives a better sense of the dimensions of the instrument.

  7. that bass is awsome i particually liked the way the neck curved and the the thumb rest. verry good work

    1. Jerome Little of Little Guitar Works is without a doubt a top notch luthier with exciting ideas.

  8. That is beautiful!! Would it be possible to purchase one in a five string version??

    1. Hi Josh – Welcome to the site! You’ll want to touch base with Jerome Little of Little Guitar Works about that. Given that he works in custom guitars, I’ll guess he can accommodate a five string.

      Let me know how you make out!