Bill Scott Mookhoek
The first instrument Bill Scott Mookhoek ever touched was the electric bass. At the age of thirteen he started to study his favourite music. After high school Bill studied jazz at Codarts, with great Dutch bass players like Jeroen Vierdag, Pieter Douma, Michel van Schie and Stefan Lievestro. In this period he picked up the double bass as well. The intensity of the instrument struck him like thunder. Since he started playing the bass, Bill worked with some great jazz, pop and theatre artists like: Ashtraynutz (now known as the Howlin’), Kim Hoorweg, John Buijsman, Loes Luca, Martin Fondse, Yannick Hiwat, the Rhythm Chiefs and lots of talented jazz and pop musicians in The Netherlands.
The classic stacked volume pots are a nod to the early J-Basses and offer a lot of different tones while remaining completely passive. The ergonomic body is carved from a very resonant piece of Dutch Chestnut, finished in an illustrious deep red. While designing the bass, Bill told me about his love for Surinam. The connection with this country in the Atlantic was made by using Massaranduba for the fretboard, a native tropical hardwood that has a long history of being imported to The Netherlands. The final touch to the fretboard was created by Bordeaux block-inlays.
Bill has written down his thoughts on his Roks bass, you can read the article below.
Imagine, one day you’re playing a country gig and the next day you’re playing modern jazz. Bill Scott Mookhoek’s schedule looks something like this. Therefore, when he commissioned a bass we wanted to create an instrument that would fit all kinds of situations. These are Bill’s thoughts on his Roks Bass:
There are a lot of basses out there… How to choose wisely? Custom or vintage? Most probably when you run into your dream bass, it will be a 10.000-, jazz bass in a museum handcrafted by Leo himself. You’ll be poor, but safe! Here is my view on this everlasting bass-problem.
A musical instrument is a tool for your creative expression. Your talent deserves a good quality instrument that fits your needs. My mentor in life, Daisaku Ikeda, says: “Art is not just decoration […] Art is the cry from the core of the soul of a human being”. Quite something isn’t it? We shouldn’t take this lightly, so neither should our choice of instrument.
For me, collaborating with Axel Roks to build an instrument is an important part of my development as a musician and artist. I didn’t want an instrument with a story of somebody else, like an old vintage that ran through the hands of a dozen others. I wanted a bass that is telling my story. Axel actually built my bass out of Dutch and Surinamese wood. Being born in Holland, and having my first touring experiences in Surinam, the material by itself is already telling my story. I didn’t even start playing it yet! The hardware and pick-ups were carefully selected for the edgy and rough sound I wanted for my Rock ‘n Roll, and the brightness and clarity I need for my jazz and contemporary projects.
I have my own preferences and opinions on how a bass should sound and look. It takes a good luthier to ‘build sound’ to your wishes, but it takes a genius to still be creative with the design. This is what a custom bass should be in my opinion.
Next to the fact that Axel takes time to get to understand his costumers wishes, the basic quality of his instruments is ridiculously good. The balance is amazing, the weight is perfect and the sustain is super stable all over the fretboard.
So, if you still have doubts, don’t try to compliment your talent with expensive antique. Elevate it with a piece of art by the hands of Axel Roks. He’s already 24 years old, so be quick.
Bill Scott Mookhoek