Mallia Basses Logo
Mallia Basses
Mallia Basses Logo

My earliest recollection of a desire to craft a musical instrument from wood was as an eight year old child. Having started learning to play the violin when I turned seven, I distinctly remember realising three things:

At age 13, my interest and enthusiasm led me to craft my very first instrument - a scaled down violin made in every way like a full-size one.

Basses being sprayed
This was made from plans I copied from my bible at the time; Violin Making: As it Was and Is by Ed Heron-Allen. On my father's wise advice, I purchased a 6-inch Kmart grinder with pocket money I had saved. Armed with this - my main asset - I could sharpen all manner of bits, metal, old knives, etc., into useful tools; several of which are still on my bench today.

I hand-crafted everything including the fingerboard and tailpiece. My enthusiasm at the time was encouraged by Ron Cragg - a luthier who has been apprenticed to the great Australian violin maker A. E. Smith. Ron gave me pegs and a bridge to fit my violin as well as some tools. He encouraged and arranged for me to visit and meet other violin makers, whom my father gladly drove me all around sydney to meet. I realise now how important this encouragment was and without doubt it gave me a lot of self confidence in my craft: Possibly one of the most important tools to ever have - the confidence to try my own ideas and techniques without having to stick to instructions I found in a book.

"So all of a sudden I found myself as a working bass player, and making a bass became an obsession."

At age 14 I was given a Jazz Bass copy and a scale book for Christmas and told by my brothers to hurry up as we had a gig in two weeks time... My brothers had formed a band some years earlier and were playing at parties, restaurants and weddings. They needed a bass player; and it became my job. So all of a sudden I found myself as a working bass

Working on a fretboard
player, and making a bass became an obsession. In 1985, at age 18, I began planning my first bass. It became a reality the following year, and on its' success I took my first commission for a custom bass - my second build - which was completed in November 1987.

Not long prior to these events, following in well-worn family footsteps, at age 15 I became an electrician, studying both the electrical trade and electrical engineering. This led to a career in medical electronics, with 10 years spent in the R&D of implantable heart defibrillators. This was followed by valuable experience in the developement and production of sleep apnoea products. It was during these years that I honed my wiring, soldering and electrical skills and knowledge. In 1998 I had been repairing and building instruments as a side line - a career which was now taking up all of my spare time. On the encouragement and support of my wife Lisa, I decided to make lutherie my full-time occupation.

Carving out a living from lutherie and supporting a family is a very challenging endeavour. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be lucky enough to have the ability, environment and support of my family to make my passion my livelihood.