Xylem Custom Basses and Guitars

Why Buy a Xylem Custom Bass or Guitar?

Fully Custom & Individually Crafted

Xylem custom basses and guitars are fully tailored to your musical tastes and preferences.

Xylem luthier Anthony Olinger will help you design and develop the perfect instrument for you by combining his expertise and experience with your idea of the perfect bass or guitar. The result will be a one of a kind instrument that fits your needs better than any other.

Most other guitar companies barely offer the option to change neck dimensions, let alone work with you directly, one-on-one to create your dream instrument!

Anthony understands that a custom bass or guitar is a big investment and it can be hard to spend the money when you've never played a Xylem instrument before. Rest assured, during the pre-build consulting phase you and Anthony will have in-depth discussions about what you consider most important in a bass or guitar, the shortcomings and advantages of other instruments you've owned and played, your playing style and tastes, how you want to develop as a musician, and many other factors that will inform him on how to make the perfect custom instrument for you.

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Attention to Detail

Anthony's main goal is to create instruments that people just can't put down, causing their other guitars and basses to gather dust! Therefore, each Xylem instrument is individually crafted by Anthony, receiving his personal attention throughout construction.

Xylem guitars and basses are made with only the finest, well-seasoned wood and all glue joints are flat to 0.001" (0.0254mm), maximizing tone and vibrational transfer throughout each instrument.

Upon completion, each instrument is thoroughly tested by Anthony and a few other professional guitar and bass players known for their high standards in instrument selection. An instrument will be shipped only when Anthony and the testers are completely satisfied with its performance.

All Xylem guitars and basses come with a lifetime guarantee to the original owner.

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Weight and Balance

Anthony strives to make all Xylem instruments as light as possible for each given design. Weights of most Xylem instruments are listed in their "Specs" pages. The first thing many people say when picking up a Xylem instrument for the first time is "wow, this is light!" Your back will thank you for playing a Xylem bass or guitar!

In addition to being lightweight, all Xylem guitars and basses balance in the playing position. Sling a Xylem instrument over your shoulder or set it on your lap, let go of it, and you'll see that it stays in position completely on its own. With a balanced instrument you won't need to hold the neck in place, freeing your fretting hand to fly across the finger board. You'll never have to deal with a neck-diving bass or guitar again!

See for yourself, watch a couple short videos demonstrating the balance of Xylem basses and guitars!


Xylem Basses and Guitars - Instruments That Balance with No Neck Dive


Well-Balanced Xylem 6 String Bass


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The Neck

The neck of any electric bass or guitar is arguably the most important aspect in creating a lifetime-lasting, highly playable instrument with comfortable action and good sound from every fret. Xylem uses only the highest quality quarter sawn wood for necks and fret boards. Quarter sawn wood is cut in such a way that the annual rings are perpendicular to the surface, as seen in the image below.

Xylem bass neck heel with quarter sawn mahogany core and cocobolo fret board

Quarter sawing creates neck wood that is more straight-grained, more resistant to warping and changes in moisture, and has higher stability compared with the flat sawn necks commonly found on most Fender, Gibson and manufactured basses and guitars.

Quarter sawn custom guitar neck with a cocobolo shim

Quarter sawn fret boards are also more resistant to chipping during fret removal, allowing for easier and less expensive refrets later in the life of the instrument.

Quarter sawn cocobolo fretboard with fret slots

Every Xylem finger board and all the frets are flat to 0.001" (0.0254mm). These exacting standards enable Xylem guitars and basses to attain very low action with no fret buzz over the entire finger board.

Standard action on Xylem guitars is 0.050" - 0.040" (~1mm) and basses have action at 0.065" - 0.055" (~1.5mm; measurements taken at the 12th fret with the instrument in playing position). This is lower than most manufactured instruments' action can get without at least a little fret buzz! Depending on playing style, some clients have had their instruments set up with even lower action! Of course, higher action is no problem if that's what you'd prefer.

To further improve ergonomics, Xylem necks have a slight backward angle that reduces the muscle tension in your back and fretting arm, allowing you to relax and focus on creating music.

Xylem custom guitar with a tilt-back angle to the neck

All fret ends on Xylem instruments are well-dressed: the bevels are rounded, the tangs are slightly under-cut to sit just inside the fret slot, and the ends terminate just before the side edges of the fret board.

Well-dressed fret ends on a Xylem custom bass

Xylem instruments will not "fret sprout" (when fret ends protrude slightly beyond the fret board edges due to small amounts of wood contraction). You'll never snag your finger on a stray fret end!

Special attention is paid to the nut of each Xylem instrument. The nut height is finely tuned to keep the action low at the first frets and ensure proper intonation. The string slots are not too wide or narrow, preventing the nut from "pinching" the strings which can cause poor tuning. The nut's seat on the neck is square and flat, ensuring good vibrational transfer from the strings to the neck when open strings are played.

All Xylem instruments include stainless steel truss rods instead of more common softer steel rods. The stainless steel holds threads very well, helping to assure that the rod will never break. The adjustment nuts on Xylem truss rods are also very easy to access, you won't have to loosen any strings to adjust the rod, simply remove the cover and place the wrench on the nut!

A custom bass and custom guitar with easy truss rod access

Finally, headstocks of Xylem instruments have additional strength imparted by multiple laminates: the scarf joint (which creates the angle of the headstock), "ears" and veneers on front and back, supporting the neck against headstock breakage.

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The Body

You can order virtually any body shape from Xylem Basses & Guitars and Anthony will make sure that it balances, is comfortable, and fits your preferences and aesthetic tastes. Body bevels and arm bevels are carved into all Xylem basses and guitars (unless you don't want them, of course).

Arm bevel and body bevels on two Xylem custom basses

Xylem bass and guitar bodies are also thinner than those of many other instruments, significantly reducing their weight without sacrificing sound or feel.

Xylem basses and guitars also have an ergonimically designed cutaway, allowing you to reach the higher frets effortlessly. You won't have to stretch beyond the cutaway or strain to play those high notes anymore!

Deep cutaway on a 7 string custom guitar, allowing higher frets to be played with ease

Removable parts, such as the control cavity cover, incorporate threaded inserts rather than screwing them directly into the wood. This allows for smooth removal and eliminates the potential for stripping the threads out of the wood over time.

Threaded inserts in a guitar's control cavity

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Hardware & Electronics

Anthony uses only the highest quality components in all his guitars and basses. Hipshot hardware is a favorite of Xylem, but other high quality hardware is also used. All flat-bottomed bridges are ground flat to 0.001" (0.0254mm) where they meet the body (which is also flat to 0.001") to guarantee a good transfer of vibrations from the strings to the body.

The electronics of Xylem instruments are well shielded to prevent unwanted noise or interference. Only high-quality potentiometers, capacitors and other electronic components are used in construction.

Xylem Basses & Guitars

Have more questions? Feel free to contact Xylem Basses & Guitars, Anthony would love to hear from you!

You can also order a Xylem custom bass or guitar or browse the available Xylem basses and guitars.

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