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Chris2112

Michael Pedulla retirement

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To those who may be interested to know, Michael Pedulla has announced his retirement after 45 years in the business of building bass guitars. An announcement was made today via the www.pedulla.com website.

I speak for the bass community as a whole in saying that to have been regarded as Mike has, being one of the best luthiers in the world for such a period of time and with so many changes to the industry, is commendable. Personally, I hope he enjoys his well-earned retirement. I would like to extend my thanks personally to Mike and Christine Pedulla for all the hard work they've put in over the years and for bringing us such tremendous instruments. 

I first played a Pedulla bass at the age of 17 or 18, whilst working at the Marriott hotel in Gosforth. I've told this story many times but the upshot was that I decided there and then that I had to own a Pentabuzz at some point and I finally got there in 2017, a decade later. I have never played another fretless as good as this. Truly, bass nirvana for me.

 

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Edited by Chris2112
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Fantastic fretless basses. I have a Buzz4 that is wonderful to play.

Does that mean everything "Pedulla" comes to a professional end?

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I had an '88 (?) MVP for a while. It was one of the best basses I've ever had, and I wish i hadn't got rid of it. FWIW, I liked it a lot more than the Wal Custom I px'd it against. I often wonder what happened to it. It was PX'd in Music Ground, IIRC. Would have been about '96-ish. 

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Whoever bought the Hexabuzz that was for sale here recently has superb timing, as there may well be an element of 'pre-retirement' collectability in the offing.

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46 minutes ago, BlueMoon said:

 

Does that mean everything "Pedulla" comes to a professional end?

I think so. I know a few other builders around the same age have established continuity plans to keep the legacy going (Ken Smith handing over to Brubaker, Spector handing over to Korg etc). I don't think there is anything like that in place with Pedulla and I assume it's a case of Mike finishing out his booked in work and sailing off into the sunset. We will need to turn to our trusted local techs for work in future. 

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My first decent bass was an 88 MVP. My username is a shortened version of my original name on bassworld, pedullaman. 

Cheers to Mike and Christine and thanks for all the gear 👍🏼

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4 hours ago, bearhart74 said:

 

Looks like ill have to play the lottery this week

I was thinking the very same.

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Blimey. Did he make them all on his own then?

 

I always fancied a 4 string MVP PJ but they were never remotely in my budget.

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Wow, such a highly regarded bass manufacturing and it doesn't look like he's passing it on to anyone. I'm really surprised nobody snaps his business up to keep the brand alive.

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7 hours ago, Linus27 said:

Wow, such a highly regarded bass manufacturing and it doesn't look like he's passing it on to anyone. I'm really surprised nobody snaps his business up to keep the brand alive.

Very strange to let a quality brand go under like that.

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Alternatively, there will always be purity to the name. Every Pedulla will have had Pedulla's involvement. That's a great thing and very rare.

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29 minutes ago, chris_b said:

Very strange to let a quality brand go under like that.

Is it "going under", or is he just retiring?

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28 minutes ago, chris_b said:

Very strange to let a quality brand go under like that.

This is only the beginning of the end of the name luthiers that first appeared in the 1980s. As I understand it Rob Green will not allow the Status name to continue when he retires. The Spector name is at least continuing under new ownership with Mr. Spector as a consultant. All the big name luthiers will be heading towards retirement now.

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It might mean that the second hand prices of Pedulla basses will start to reflect their actual value. 

When I bought my Buzz bass the new price was around £3k but sellers were struggling to get more than £1k for nice looking examples in good condition.

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12 hours ago, fretmeister said:

Blimey. Did he make them all on his own then?

 

I always fancied a 4 string MVP PJ but they were never remotely in my budget.

There was a period between the late 80's and early 2000's when he was running a team. Notably, he took a contract with guitar centre during this time which is how his basses made it to all corners of America. I believe the team was between 10-15 strong with individual luthiers working on separate processes. Michael continued to work in the shop but apparently felt that the management side of things had taken him away from the start-to-finish build process, so he cut production back to working on his own again. As far as I know, in the later years he worked entirely alone and his wife did all the admin work. 

He did very, very well to maintain such a close relationship with his instruments over the years and to have personally overseen each build. His works over the last few years have really seen him demonstrating the most absolute attention to detail and reaching for the most stunning pieces of wood in his store. No-one in the business can do a finish like Pedulla. His dedication to solid wings of figured maple is also commendable, there are so many Buzz and MVP's out there with stunning figured wings. 

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If Paul Herman can step up to make Wal basses of the quality he does then these makes can also continue without losing any of their quality when the main man goes.

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They can indeed, but I get the impression that Pedulla Guitars was a very personal thing to Michael. I don't think he has ever commented on the possibility of handing it over. I don't blame him for saying 'that's it's. Effectively, he has closed his shop having had the final say on every instrument to bear his name. 

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If he did build them all himself then it makes perfect sense for him to shut up shop - his legacy will be all those great basses, all with the same high-quality construction and unique tone. I did play a buzz once, many years ago, and it was the best fretless I’ve played. 

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The only boutique basses I'd ever own (in the highly fictional case I could afford any) are a Wal MK3 5er and a couple Pedulla 5ers (17.5mm spaced Pentabuzz and MVP5). All else, from Ritters thru' Jerzys to Foderas say nothing to me. So it's a sad day for me, if I can't afford a Pedulla now it'll get further and further  in the future.

Even tho' I can see why Mike's so personal about basses carrying his name on them I still think Wal in fact is a perfect example of a craft that's been passed on from founders while retaining the highest quality standards, and demand (and wait times) definitely confirm this. I'm sure Mike Pedulla has mentored many great artisans (even the people in his payroll) who could license some sort of brand extension ("Pedulla Legacy"?) and continue with their work. Also a good way for Pedulla to keep cashing on his (wait for it)... LEGACY 👍

Edited by andruca

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On ‎06‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 19:25, ped said:

My first decent bass was an 88 MVP. My username is a shortened version of my original name on bassworld, pedullaman. 

Cheers to Mike and Christine and thanks for all the gear 👍🏼

Mine was an '88. I bought it new old stock from A1 Music in Manchester for £599 in (IIRC) 1993. They also had a faded trans green one in for the same price. At one point you couldn't give Pedullas away, then they inexplicably went through the roof.

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9 minutes ago, 4000 said:

Mine was an '88. I bought it new old stock from A1 Music in Manchester for £599 in (IIRC) 1993. They also had a faded trans green one in for the same price. At one point you couldn't give Pedullas away, then they inexplicably went through the roof.

I can't remember what happened to mine but I bought it from a session player in London. I remember getting the Oxford Tube coach to London and how I opened up the case on the way back to try it out, I just couldn't wait! It was a great bass - one knob was missing which had been replaced by an EHX type one from what looked like a Q-tron pedal but I did;t mind for some reason and left it. It was a PJ setup, barts. 

I still think that all my base shave been bought and sold as a result of that one - I haven't had to significantly dip into my bank account because that bass was the initial capital and I've traded well over the years. 

I must say I am not so fond of the MVP shape now - but back then I loved it. Funny how tastes change. The other bass I got from this guy was  shell pink '57 RI Precision, again a good price and it was alright but somehow it just never worked for me and I sold that on quickly. I think I bought a Marleaux with the funds.

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The only issue I had/have with the shape was that mine was somewhat headstock heavy, even before my later neck & back problems made it a real issue. I loved the look and still do. Martin Petersen once described it as "elegant", which I think summed it up perfectly. I'd love to have got mine back, but it would probably cost twice what I originally paid now. It was a 4 string MVP, P/J, 2 vols and a tone, in what I believe is referred to as "gold" (actually a kind of trans ambered natural). Think the s/n may have been 2236, but I'd have to check. It probably had the best fingerstyle tone of any bass I've ever owned, with the possible exception of my last Sei.

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The top horn is a bit of an acquired taste - but I've never (ever) read a poor review of one, the Fretless versions do seem to be pretty much the top of everyone's pile, and the finishing on all of them is out of this world - even on sellers' phone cameras they look the business.

Hope he and his wife enjoy a well-earned retirement!

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