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Old 07-23-2009, 08:05 AM
Joel Larsson Joel Larsson is offline
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I think that the Shoppe knows how to charge their customers... £50k is a lot for a bass from a virtually unknown luthier. On the other hand, it's half the price of the Grancino, which my teacher liked far less. (Actually, the only thing he didn't like about it was the relatively high shoulders. Maybe I could persuade him into buying it, too? He's going to buy a King and order a Martin just because he can... )
When you are dealing in a small currency like the Swedish Krona, you also have to be careful about timing your purchase. The bass can be 40% more expensive if you go through with the deal in the wrong day... the quid was very weak in March, for instance, when it basically equalled a dollar.

Anyway, it's not the Pöllmann's solo performance I'm concerned with - it's loud and clear and lets me play anything, and the fact that it's not that mature yet lets it cut through and in some pieces, that is just what you want - but the fact that there is always a corner in the way when I want to hit the E string real hard in the orchestra. And I really hope to play one of those old instruments that fills the room with bass foundation rather than projecting its sound like an arrow. It's still great, though - I mean, I could definitely have bigger concerns - and the only other one I've played that seriously rivalled mine is a biggish 2001 Busetto by Michael. I couldn't possibly have asked for a better deal when I went bass hunting two years ago.
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  #42  
Old 01-17-2010, 12:50 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Cool within my personal quest..

As I mentioned a few months ago about choosing between the current 4 basses, it has been narrowed down to 2 by means of sale. The Big Gamba and the Gilkes have beed sold to professional Orchestra players. Remaining from that bunch are the Hart and the Martini.

I must mention that between any or all of these Basses I don't think at any time they were string with the exact same String sets. Picking a Bass by its sound alone has a lot to do with which strings are on the Bass. I can say that with the two basses I have now the Belcantos are the smoothest for bowing but the Flexocor 92s have a sweeter and slightly more musical tone. In an Orchestra setting, the 'sweet' thing means very little.

Another factor beyond the 'comfort' issue (yes Arnold, "No small challenge there"..lol) one must take into consideration the playing response issue. Basses coming out of any kind of Restoration that includes the Top or Back off as well as a Neck Graft or any combination or all of the above NEED a good amount of time to 're-adjust'. A friend of mine had open Heart Surgery last year. The Doctor told him that he needed 6 months to see how it all went. Then recovery after that is down hill but no where complete yet.

I find that with Basses they act a bit like people in that they need time to re-adjust as well. Before the restoration they were in that 'settled' condition for years, decades or even a century or more. In my experience the 'down hill' period is 2-5 years 'after' restoration when the bass starts feeling and acting its 'norm' with the new work and repairs settling in.

The Hart has just past the 2 year period but having several basses, it hasn't been played as much as it could have been played.

Less that 2 years ago the Martini had a new Neck Graft (its first) and the Top off for some clean-up work as well as a new and first center Back quasi/mini brace to help join 2 of the 3 Back pieces. That Bass is just now coming around as well.

The Gilkes sold just after its 3 year mark from the restoration, its first in well over 100 years. The Gilkes sounded best its 3rd year as compared to the first 2 years after restoration and much better than it ever sounded before.

The big Gamba sold within its first year of its new life after a massive re-construction of just about every component you could imagine. The sound was so fantastic on day one I can only imagine what it will develop into two years or so from now.

Besides these 4 examples or other basses I have known before, I had learned about this or perhaps started to believe in this 'settling period' when my first old Bass was restored into a playable condition from one not playable back in 1973. The first year or two it was a 'nice' old Italian bass. Then I had some work cleaned up inside and it improved as well. About 2-3 years later the bass started sounding its best and stayed that way for the next 15 years.

Typing this from home I am sitting next to my Martini, re-strung with the Belcantos that I took off the Hart that I took off the Martini to begin with. I have a Concert today and my choice in bass (for now) has been made. In sound testing it with the Hart it is easy to tell which is older and more mature and which is a sweeter and more refined tone. The Hart is also a classic modified Maggini pattern made back in the day when Orchestras were still using 3 Gut strings. The Martini however with its deep arched Top in comparison to the Hart and a deep round back to match has this robust 'punch' like a young college athlete as compared to his Grandfather. Of course the Grandfather can easily out-wit the younger boy but in a strength match, the elder would have to rely on technique.

The Hart has about the nicest neck and Eb stop I have ever played. The Taper from Nut to Bridge however is different between the two. The Martini being slighter thinner at the Nut and a tad wider at the Bridge. The fingerboard on the Martini is also slightly more rounded as well. This I noticed when playing across in the lower positions on my left hand. Then I measured it and found the Hart a bit flatter and wider. Most people I think prefer this. I however do not. When Orchestra Pros in the past have come to try Basses out, the Martini was usually the first they told me 'ok to put this one away now'!

A few others though have picked it as the best in the group. Just not the oldest or most valuable as far as pedigree goes.
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