Nfld. & Labrador

Sealskin mitts are cool, but what about a bass guitar? This St. John's musician did just that

Musician Evan Mercer says he might have a one of a kind item on his hands: a 2005 Fender Mexican jazz bass wrapped entirely in sealskin.

'I decided to get her a fur coat,' joked Evan Mercer

Musician Evan Mercer made a one of a kind change to his bass guitar, wrapping it in sealskin. (Evan Mercer/Instagram)

When musician Evan Mercer brought his Mexican jazz bass guitar into O'Brien's Music in St. John's, he didn't know if the idea he had in mind would be possible. All he knew was that it would probably stand out on stage.

Now Mercer says he might have a one of a kind item on his hands: a 2005 Fender bass wrapped entirely in sealskin.

"I got this sealskin strap my mother got for me a couple Christmases ago. And in the '80s … you saw the leopard skin look and the furry guitars," Mercer told CBC Radio's Weekend AM when asked  where the idea to use sealskin as a wrap came from.

"I named [the bass] 'Theresa' when I got it. So I've been playing Theresa so long, that for our anniversary I decided to get her a fur coat."

Once he knew the idea was possible, he said all the elements to put the guitar together came together quickly. He bought a pelt at a Colemans grocery store and left it with "guitar wizard" Chris Kearsey.

The build process, on the other hand, wasn't as smooth.

"He sort of had to learn how to work with the material," Mercer said.

"It's probably closer to upholstering a couch than any typical guitar work he's done.… He had this great idea to use a little bit extra to put on the head stock, and that's my favourite part of the whole thing.

"Depending on the way light hits it, it kind of shimmers in different ways. So I really hope I'll get to take it out for a gig sometime soon."

Mercer says the sealskin hasn't changed the sound of his bass. (Evan Mercer/Instagram)

But does sealskin affect the sound? Not that much, according to Mercer.

"As far as I can tell, it's the exact same as when I bought it," he said. "I did have a lot of sentimental attachment to the bass, so I'm happy I could give it a little love."

Mercer said he realizes he might have a special piece on his hands, as he hasn't seen another instrument like it online or in his travels.

However, he said he'd be happy to be proven wrong.

"Perhaps somewhere along the line someone's had the idea, and I'd love to see it. I've shown some people and they might be a little jealous. Who knows? It may not be the last."

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Alex Kennedy


Alex Kennedy works for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John's.

With files from Weekend AM