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  #1  
Old 06-22-2009, 07:02 PM
Ken McKay Ken McKay is offline
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Default "Pasquali" by Ken McKay

My cornerless bass is strung in the white. You can see it here http://www.upnorthstrings.com/cornerlessbasspage19.html
Please take a look (especially Ken Smith) and let me know what you think. Also there is a youtube video of Josh Allison trying it out, also let me know how you think it sounds (headphones will give a better sound).

I will be varnishing it soon but I just couldn't wait.

Ken
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2009, 11:02 AM
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Matthew Tucker Matthew Tucker is offline
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My apologies for not being Ken Smith, but for what its worth, i think your bass looks very sexy. And BIG.

I wish someone would volunteer to demo my bass on video ...
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  #3  
Old 06-23-2009, 12:40 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Cool lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matthew Tucker View Post
My apologies for not being Ken Smith, but for what its worth, i think your bass looks very sexy. And BIG.

I wish someone would volunteer to demo my bass on video ...
That's a litte funny Matt..

Ken, I did look at it and listen as well. With Varnish the sound will soften up quite a bit as it does sound a bit raw now. EP strings are not the best for smoothness either. BelCantos are about the best for that for Orchestra. Jaegars if you can find a set is dark and smooth as well.

Now, the lip of the Top and Back overhanging the Ribs looks quite proud. Is this finished that way or still to be trimmed? How much does that Lip actually measure? I can't tell from the pictures but it does look big. Also, the linings inside look about double width as well. This I think will stiffen the Ribs and possible rob some tone as well. I am sure you are not totally done with this bass inside as well as out but since you asked, I am giving you my personal opinion as if the bass was being delivered to me personally. After all, would you want any less from me since asking? I see he tuned down to 'D' as well on the 'E' string and it sounds good. That's always a good sign in my book when you can de-tune and still have a strong open string sound. The Back Bracing looks a bit overdone but only time will tell. I have never seen anything like that myself. Maybe the heights of those 'Bars could come down as well

At the ISB I met Stefano Sciascia and wouldn't you know it, we didn't even talk about Cornerless basses, his or mine, just that we had met by Email once talking about it as an introduction. Robbie MacIntosh has my other Cornered/Cornerless Bass in restoration that we call 'Scalopini'.. lol.. Arnold has the Storioni as well so right now, I am personally Cornerless-less.. lol

Your Bass looks and sounds beautiful. I make the construction comments above only from my experience with older basses. I have seen quite a bit but one Bass I have goes against all the rules and sounds about the best of any Bass I have played or heard. That is the attributed Storioni of mine. When Arnold took off the Top he called me on my Cell Phone and could not believe what he found. The Ribs are burled maple veneer about 1mm thick or so but doubled completely all around by spruce about double that thickness with the grain running from top to back making bending easier. The small or modest lining strips are outside of that so it looks original. The bassbar was set in straight the last time it was repaired and that seems wrong as well. There is also a huge breast patch at the bottom of the Bar, under it, that is put in at 90 degrees on the grain direction. This and more are the kinds of things in this bass as well as other things I have seen inside these oldies. My big Gamba is another oddity with very little inner linings, a tiny little short thin shallow bass bar set way in from the F-eye and a brace system of 3-pieces with two repairs along side the inner joints of the X itself. The corner blocks are tiny thin obtuse shaped pieces that are longer at the upper and lower ribs than the c-bout where they touch. This is a full sized bass or as some say in london, a 5/4 as one a similar size is listed as over there. All this humongus size of bass and such tiny little itty bitty inner support and trim pieces.

After seeing and hearing basses like those, I wonder if the Bass itself needs to 'leave' the violin books and search for something more radical or more.. compatible. After all, the Bass is the only member of the Violin family that doesn't have a true form even today. It's what ever we make it as long as it plays the Bass parts. Then, no one cares outside of the player. Strange huh?

Imagine a violin or cello section (sorry violas, not important enough to mention here.. lol) with different sizes and shapes. One violin model, one gamba, some roundback, some flat, some round with center bracing like a flat back, some flatbacks braced with a single center brace like the french, some with 3 for or 5 braces or even twin 1/2" rails across the bottom like my big Gamba had originally. Some cornerless, some soft lower cornered Gamba like 'Big Ben', some Gamba upper and Guitar lower with c-bout, some violin upper and busetto bottom, some busetto bottom with gamba upper, some gamba on one corner (upper or lower) and violin on the other (I have seen 2 or 3 of these but may be cut-jobs on some).. etc, etc, etc..

Ladies and Yentlemen.. the Double bass is the freak of the Orchestra and we are the loners as well construction wise. We play violin parts as well as whole notes, solo as well as support and still we get no respect.. what is this world coming to?..
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  #4  
Old 06-23-2009, 06:26 PM
Ken McKay Ken McKay is offline
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Thanks Matthew! your the man.

Thanks Ken Smith, I did expect the honest opinion and thanks for your comments on the overhang and lining.

The lining is 1 inch and is made from cedar. I will not use it again because it is too splintery when the top comes off it will not be good, live and learn. The overhang on the photo you linked to the top was not quite finished. There is a healthy overhang though, but it is not perfect all around, it varies a little here and there. It blends in with the other imperfect things on this bass

Then you slipped in the "it sounds and looks beautiful". Thanks!, 'cause I know you are a straight shooter. When Josh was playing the Bach preludes, he just kept playing and playing, I sat there mesmerized. All he said was "Bach is a lot easier on this bass!" And "let me know when the varnish is on".

One more thing, you have no idea how many things were changed or influenced by your comments. The size, the depth, the neck overstand to name just a few! Either by a direct question of from other posts.


Here is the start of varnishing and antiquing. You can see the overhangs better here.
http://www.upnorthstrings.com/cornerlessbasspage20
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  #5  
Old 06-23-2009, 09:18 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Thumbs up nice..

Wow, is that Red maple on the Back and Ribs or Sugar? Looks Red to me but a primo clean piece.. I don't recall if you mentioned the species earlier.

What will be the final color of the bass?
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  #6  
Old 06-23-2009, 11:00 PM
Ken McKay Ken McKay is offline
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Default Maple

Red maple, from Battenkill. Yea, that is a nice piece and I have one more set just like it. The ribs and neck are also red maple. The top is engelmann.

The varnish will have a red tone, sort of Venitian red ala Gofriller, but we will see.
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  #7  
Old 06-23-2009, 11:16 PM
Ken McKay Ken McKay is offline
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Default varnish

Varnish has a way of taking on a life of its own. I have varnished samples and said "that looks good" to myself and then varnished a whole bass, only to hate it. I have learned a few things along the way though. Some varnish looks good with some wood while others looks bad. Some varnish uses dyes to color but don't look old italian. Mixing pigments can also lead to surprises when the whole thing is done. For example I once varnished a bass and looked at the instrument at an angle and a funny salmon color shined through. It is an ongoing struggle. I don't know any maker who is fully satisfied with their varnish.
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  #8  
Old 06-24-2009, 12:09 PM
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Brian Gencarelli Brian Gencarelli is offline
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Looks and sounds good Ken!

Very nice, indeed!

BG
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  #9  
Old 06-25-2009, 03:24 AM
Ken McKay Ken McKay is offline
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Thanks Brian! I would love to have you try it in person if I were there.
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  #10  
Old 07-08-2009, 02:06 AM
Ken McKay Ken McKay is offline
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Default Pasquali is finished

Here it is http://www.upnorthstrings.com/cornerlessbasspage26 read about it here and let me know what you think. It was a very interesting project which I might like to try again, not sure yet. I like the sound and the way it plays and what more could I ask.
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Last edited by Ken McKay; 07-08-2009 at 09:48 AM.
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  #11  
Old 07-19-2009, 12:39 AM
Ken McKay Ken McKay is offline
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Default New sound file

Hey Ken could you tear yourself away from your Martini long enough to take a look and hear the sound with varnish? I think it makes a difference. It may be a bit fuller and mellower, not as harsh.

I added some new photos and a couple youtubes. It is all on this page
www.upnorthstrings.com/cornerlessbasspage26
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  #12  
Old 07-19-2009, 04:57 AM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Thumbs up nice..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken McKay View Post
Hey Ken could you tear yourself away from your Martini long enough to take a look and hear the sound with varnish? I think it makes a difference. It may be a bit fuller and mellower, not as harsh.

I added some new photos and a couple youtubes. It is all on this page
www.upnorthstrings.com/cornerlessbasspage26
Ok, I am confused. Who is playing the bass there in all of these Vids you've posted?

What strings are on the bass? I can't tell from that page.

I remember Arnold showing me a bass he made a couple of years back. He mentioned that he wasn't happy with the sound a 100% when it was done so he added two more coats of varnish and 'that' warmed it up tonally. The bass sounded beautiful and in no way sounded new at all.

Your bass sounds great raw or varnished. With varnish I feel it has slightly less string edge but that is with listening on a tiny computer speaker. I am sure that you can hear the difference better in the room, live. So, how does it sound? She/he looks great, the bass itself that is..
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  #13  
Old 07-19-2009, 10:29 AM
Ken McKay Ken McKay is offline
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Talking

Thanks for listening.

The bass is strung with Evah weich's and sounds slightly less edgy with the varnish. I have not strung it with anything else because it seems to like the EPW's just fine.

The player is Josh Allison, a young former student at Interlochen and now at Trinity college. I always enjoy listening to him play. He will be in the market for a nice orchestra bass when he graduates.

The nice thing about my new cornerless is that I have not had to do much of anything since the initial set up after varnish. The bass played well right out of the shoot. In the white when first strung there was a loud wolf on the A but went away with the brass afterlength weight.
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  #14  
Old 07-19-2009, 11:13 AM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Thumbs up ok..

I asked about the strings because they were slightly scratchy both before and after varnishing. Belcantos are about the smoothest I have found and Flexocor 92s about the sweetest. Regular Evah's, would be a bit fuller sounding than the Weichs I think.
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:05 PM
Martin Sheridan Martin Sheridan is offline
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Default Your bass

I saw your bass last Sunday at the Chicago Bass Festival and played it. It is a wonderful bass in every way.
all success,
martin
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  #16  
Old 02-13-2010, 08:59 PM
Ken McKay Ken McKay is offline
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Thanks Martin, I am glad you were there to see it. I appreciate the great review.

I heard the Chicago Bass Festival was a great success.
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  #17  
Old 06-07-2010, 05:51 PM
Daniela Gazibara Daniela Gazibara is offline
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Thumbs up

I got the chance to play on this bass at Chicago Bass Festival too. I loved it! I'm pretty much crazy about that particular instrument. It is absolutely wonderful!!
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