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Ken Smith
01-20-2007, 12:13 AM
There is a new breed of Bass makers out there today. Although I have only played Basses by a few of the new Makers in USA, I have heard great things from many others even from competitor builders that happen to respect their colleagues.

The two Bass makers I am familiar with most is Arnold Schnitzer and Jeff Bollbach. Arnold and Jeff will chime in I'm sure and mention the other makers of note. In making handmade Double Basses, there are only so many one man can build.

Check out their websites and see what beautiful Basses they have made. Also, check out #4 from Jeff Bollbach with a handcarved Lions Head which is now in my possession. I call him 'Simba'. ;)

http://www.aesbass.com/handmadebasses.htm
http://www.jeffbollbach.com/JB%20II/Image%20Gallery/new1.htm
http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Bollbach/Bollbach.htm

Arnold Schnitzer
01-23-2007, 09:47 AM
Thanks for the mention, Ken. I'd like to nominate Daniel Hachez (#1 in the world now, IMHO), Nick Lloyd, and Robert McIntosh to be part of the "club".

Sam Sherry
01-23-2007, 10:00 AM
What traits do you think characterizes the work of the "new breed"?

How is their work different from that of their predecessors?

Or is it just a great thing that there are great luthiers working today -- and that's no small potatoes either!

Ken Smith
01-23-2007, 12:22 PM
Thanks for the mention, Ken. I'd like to nominate Daniel Hachez (#1 in the world now, IMHO), Nick Lloyd, and Robert McIntosh to be part of the "club".

Well, Nick already signed up. I would love to see Robbie and Hachez here as well. Robbie I met last year at the VSA with you but Dan Hachez I only heard about and have been told he is top notch..

Please send them my way and I might just build a special room for your group!:cool:

Ken Smith
01-23-2007, 12:59 PM
What traits do you think characterizes the work of the "new breed"?

How is their work different from that of their predecessors?

Or is it just a great thing that there are great luthiers working today -- and that's no small potatoes either!

By new Breed, I am referring to todays makers known and un-known that are hand-making Basses non-commercially and turning out some great sounding and great looking Basses not to mention extremely well made.

I have played new Basses by Jeff Bollbach (the "Lion" which is mine now, Arnold Schnitzer (5 or more of them), Nick Lloyd, Robbie McIntosh and several others that are just amazing Basses. I have also seen a few from Europe besides Pollmann that are no-named Italian Copies/Fakes that also sound fantastic but sometimes need some internal work. I will show one of each I now own. One is the "Lion" by Jeff and the other is labeled Bisiach which Jeff worked on and I hope he chimes in with his opinion about these European makers hiding in some closet over there.

http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Bollbach/Bollbach.htm
http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Bisiach/Bisiach.htm

Jake Newcomb
01-23-2007, 04:10 PM
Hi Ken,
The new forum is really nice. Thanks for the valuable online resource!
I just thought I'd ask, is your Bollbach bass for sale? If so, what are you asking?

Ken Smith
01-23-2007, 05:45 PM
Hi Ken,
The new forum is really nice. Thanks for the valuable online resource!
I just thought I'd ask, is your Bollbach bass for sale? If so, what are you asking?

You have a PM.

Ken Smith
01-25-2007, 02:40 AM
Today I had the pleasure of playing several new and modern Basses over at Arnold Schnitzer's shop in NY. These include a 1978 Pollmann, 2002 Thomas Martin, 2003 Nick Lloyd, one of Arnold's earliest Basses (breaking in nicely), and a 20th century Bass by Oreste Candi. All of these Basses sounded great but the older 'Candi (the only Bass he ever made) was the 'pick' but at least 2x the price of the other Basses mentioned.

Of the New American Basses both Nick and Arnold's Basses sounded great.

Afterwards, Arnold, a bassist friend from Philly and myself went into NYC to hear Bill Blossom play Jeff Bollbach's #2 in an 'invitation only' recital.

Jeff, Arnold and Nick being friends also seem to make great Basses individually.

Bob Branstetter
01-28-2007, 03:14 PM
Thanks for the mention, Ken. I'd like to nominate Daniel Hachez (#1 in the world now, IMHOI couldn't agree more about Dan Hachez. I have not had the opportunity to play basses by Arnold Schnitzer or Jeff Bollbach, but of the ones I have seen and played, Dan's basses impressed me more than any other. His basses did not sound or play like a new bass. Wonderful workmanship. He sets the standard for everyone else.

Ken McKay
02-05-2007, 12:07 AM
I got to spend a an hour or so in the makers competition room at ISB in Kalamazoo 2005. There were noteworthy basses there. My favorite for workmanship was either the Hatchez or Kramer. Soundwise I am not a good judge but Arnolds and Nick's won a certificate for tone, as did Kramer and one or two others.

Nick won a certificate for tone at this years VSA in Baltimore, so congratulations to him. And that should up his price :cool: :cool:

I believe David Wiebe should be added to the list of great makers.

Of those already mentioned, Jeff Bollbach's workmanship is scary good! Edgework, corners etc.. all of the best quality.

Anybody see a bass by Mike Magee? He used to live around here but moved to Pittsburg.

Ken Smith
02-05-2007, 06:17 AM
Speaking of Nick, I don't see his website listed in his profile so for those of you that have not seen his Basses, have a look; http://www.nicklloydbasses.com/

davidseidel
02-05-2007, 06:18 AM
Well just for interest here is a 2002 bass hand made by Melbourne (Australia) luthier Ben Puglisi. It plays easy and sounds very good - full, even and and mellow.

Greg Vartian-Foss
03-03-2007, 02:45 PM
that's a nice looking bass. It would be great if people have pictures of these great new basses and pictures of their makers as well!

davidseidel
03-03-2007, 10:23 PM
Guess what? I don't have his photo .... but you can look at some of his basses:
http://www.benedictgpuglisi.com/gallery/horizons.html

carlopetro
04-04-2008, 01:17 PM
Any thoughts on current European or Canadian bass makers?

Ken Smith
04-04-2008, 03:55 PM
Any thoughts on current European or Canadian bass makers?

Which ones? Assuming we are talking about individual makers and not brands or shops.

Pick a Bass or two or three by a maker, post it here and discuss it rather than taking blind shots at random Basses.

Kai Arvi is a nice maker in Canada as well as Jim Hamm and Lamario. For Europe, pick a country!

carlopetro
04-07-2008, 11:40 AM
Yes, I have made my inquiry a little too broad I realize now.

Concerning current Canadian makers then; it seems that Canadians are creating very elaborate basses. With the adjustable necks of Jim Ham and Brock Radelet or the magifisicant scrolls of Mario Lamarre. I have never heard or played any of these basses but wondering how then would compare to instruments currently made in the USA or other parts of the world. Just how do Canadian basses rank among others? Of course Iím curious as I am a Canadian!


And although Jacques Gagnon no longer lives in Canada, it seems that his basses are among our most known. And yes Kai Avri is among our most known/popular as well.

How much experience do you have with Canadian basses?

Thx

Ken Smith
04-07-2008, 05:39 PM
Yes, I have made my inquiry a little too broad I realize now.

Concerning current Canadian makers then; it seems that Canadians are creating very elaborate basses. With the adjustable necks of Jim Ham and Brock Radelet or the magifisicant scrolls of Mario Lamarre. I have never heard or played any of these basses but wondering how then would compare to instruments currently made in the USA or other parts of the world. Just how do Canadian basses rank among others? Of course I’m curious as I am a Canadian!


And although Jacques Gagnon no longer lives in Canada, it seems that his basses are among our most known. And yes Kai Avri is among our most known/popular as well.

How much experience do you have with Canadian basses?

Thx

Well, I have heard/seen (maybe played one of them briefly) 2 Arvi basses and they were nice for a new sounding Bass, better than average. I also saw one of Hamm's basses at the VSA here in PA 2 years ago. A guy performed a solo on it in a small room. The Bass did not have a very big sound but was beautifully made. Maybe the sound was the room or the Bass or a bit of both.

My experience is limited to that unless others have slipped my mind, sorry.

Eric Hochberg
04-07-2008, 07:34 PM
Peter Elias made a number of basses for the CSO (Chicago) I believe. I think he lives in Switzerland now. A friend of mine bought a Gagnon recently, beautiful sounding but developed a large rib crack that required a major repair. The ribs are pretty thin evidently. A bassist in the Lyric Opera of Chicago plays one also.

Joel Larsson
02-11-2009, 12:01 PM
Elias' website: http://www.eliasnotes.com/
His stuff looks real nice. From what I've heard, they're real loud, and makes for very good orchestral instruments.

One of the European makers that's generated the most buzz is Krattenmacher. Check http://www.krattenmacher.com.

For some reason, neither of the two builders provide large enough porn pics, but you get an idea.

Joel Larsson
01-23-2010, 04:27 PM
A few more links to some of the major makers of today:
http://www.poellmann-contrabass.de/
http://www.meyer-contrabass.de/eng/index.php?PHPSESSID=ohas8lno2eopmo930taluh45h2
http://www.gruenert.com/
http://www.contrabbassi.it/eng/index-eng.html
Some of which are maybe not exactly new on the scene, but...

Pete George
06-06-2010, 07:45 PM
Elias' website: http://www.eliasnotes.com/
His stuff looks real nice. From what I've heard, they're real loud, and makes for very good orchestral instruments.

One of the European makers that's generated the most buzz is Krattenmacher. Check http://www.krattenmacher.com.

For some reason, neither of the two builders provide large enough porn pics, but you get an idea.

I've owned and played a Peter Elias 5-string for several years now, and I love it. I searched high and low for a good 5-string, and I've played many by top makers, both vintage and modern.

The Elias (with some nice, minor refinements by Mike Shank) is far and away the best 5-string I've ever played. My teacher wonders whether I don't have the best 5-string bass in the U.S. His words, not mine...

Ken Smith
01-13-2011, 06:08 PM
Anybody see a bass by Mike Magee? He used to live around here but moved to Pittsburg.

Yes, I have and had it here for a short while to play and check out. It was a sweet sounding bass copied from an Old German bass that he now owns and that I have played beside in the studio as well as sub for the former owner. Catching my breath.. The bass was made in 2009 and shown at the ISB at Penn State so when you asked in 2007, the answer would have been, well.. No or not answered as it was..

He used American Sycamore (Lacewood) for the Back, Ribs and Neck/Scroll. It's a gamba shaped round back with modestly sloped shoulders, fairly deep ribs and a nice bold scroll. The bass played very easily, sounded great and had a very comfortable set-up. It was deep and dark sounding with Pirastro Permanents on it. I almost bought the bass but I had one on commission from Arnold already so I just showed it a few times before it went back. He made it as his personal bass and it's the first one he's made. I look forward to seeing that bass again as well as any others he makes going forward. Mike does good work!

Ken McKay
01-14-2011, 11:26 AM
http://www.smithbassforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1954&d=1295018734
White Pine Log being cut in half to fit into the bandsaw.

http://www.smithbassforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1955&d=1295018762
The log just barely fit, in fact we had to trim some off.


http://www.smithbassforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=1956&d=1295018787
Stickered to air dry




I check in here every now and then to make sure I haven't missed anything important and saw Ken Smith's post on Mike Magee.

I have been making guitars lately but am collecting wood and devising plans for my next couple double basses. I have some pine seasoning that I milled and a some photos that show the top wood being milled by my sawyer. White pine was good enough for some yankee makers and might be good enough for me. It is about ready to run some tests on weight, density, speed of sound, radiation ratio and a few other tests that might prevent me from making a BSO from it if it doesn't compare well to Bosnian or the other available spruce wood.

I am copying a William Tarr that is in possession at the Guarneri House in Grand Rapids MI. It is a very pedestrian bass, designed by Tarr who was a player and prolific maker. I have always leaned "Italian" but this is a work-horse and that is what I am after.

Ken McKay
01-14-2011, 11:41 AM
Speaking of The Guarneri house:
Aaron Reiley is a second generation Double Bass maker who is fluent in double bass design. He makes basses that are very playable and well made.

Ken Smith
01-14-2011, 01:33 PM
I have seen 3 models from Tarr. One was a flat back Gamba northern English style. One was similar but looked German to me, not English but possibly made on contract and finished by Tarr and two Basses with Violin Corners and flatback, 100% Tarr's work and one of them from the Halle Orchestra where he played if not both of them. He made 9 basses for that Orchestra of record.

Can we see this proposed Tarr bass? I almost bought one last year but an old Italian came available and put the money in that one instead. In time and if available, I might still get that Tarr is it's available when I have the funds to do so.

Ken McKay
01-15-2011, 10:11 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2akQUx8HMPI

My plan is to copy the flat back like Christine Hoock plays. It has a large lower bout, gamba corners wide-ish ribs.

I am not sure if Aaron still has the Tarr at Guarneri but I will check. I have the outline and some measurements. I doubt I will copy the scroll, cause I got my own style.

Eric Hochberg
01-15-2011, 11:30 AM
Thanks for posting that. I was at that concert at the 2005 ISB convention. Wonderful playing!

Ken McKay
01-18-2011, 04:54 AM
Yes, beautiful sound from her hands.

I hope to get the honor of you trying my bass when I get it done Eric.

Eric Hochberg
01-18-2011, 01:44 PM
Look forward to it!