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  #41  
Old 09-20-2010, 12:41 PM
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Good luck to you, to Arnold, and to your new bass in the competition. I look forward to seeing the photos and to hearing your impressions when you can play your new bass.
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  #42  
Old 09-21-2010, 06:52 AM
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Sounds like the bass is coming along; I'm looking forward to seeing it completed.

I missed the initial discussion, but on the subject of the D vs. Eb neck - personally I can go either way; I think that because of the "standardness" and construction aspects the "D" neck is understandable. But - in terms of which one I'd rather play, aside from the fact that I find it annoying switching between the two, I'd rather play the Eb neck and were I to have a bass made (that was to be my primary instrument) I'd want it made that way.

That said, I also have no objection to a longer string length; granted, I'm a fairly large guy with bigger hands and a flexible technique, but I really feel that the shorter string lengths we shoot for today are often a crutch (among several) keeping players from developing technique that would allow them to play a longer length without trouble. Sure, a shorter string length is functional and feels "easier" to play, but I don't think that in terms of tonal precision they stand up and that given the same bass and same player, assuming good technique, there is more potential for a tonally "clear" performance with a longer string length.

There's a reason there is only one row of guys playing bass in the orchestra - not everybody is able or willing to do it - we don't need to compromise the instrument so everyone can play it...

(yes, I know there are other reasons too. )
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  #43  
Old 09-21-2010, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Erickson View Post
Sounds like the bass is coming along; I'm looking forward to seeing it completed.

I missed the initial discussion, but on the subject of the D vs. Eb neck - personally I can go either way; I think that because of the "standardness" and construction aspects the "D" neck is understandable. But - in terms of which one I'd rather play, aside from the fact that I find it annoying switching between the two, I'd rather play the Eb neck and were I to have a bass made (that was to be my primary instrument) I'd want it made that way.

That said, I also have no objection to a longer string length; granted, I'm a fairly large guy with bigger hands and a flexible technique, but I really feel that the shorter string lengths we shoot for today are often a crutch (among several) keeping players from developing technique that would allow them to play a longer length without trouble. Sure, a shorter string length is functional and feels "easier" to play, but I don't think that in terms of tonal precision they stand up and that given the same bass and same player, assuming good technique, there is more potential for a tonally "clear" performance with a longer string length.

There's a reason there is only one row of guys playing bass in the orchestra - not everybody is able or willing to do it - we don't need to compromise the instrument so everyone can play it...

(yes, I know there are other reasons too. )
Thomas, I would like to inform you that 150 -200 years ago, many basses in England or most of them were under 42" string length originally. My Hart with a replaced neck at an Eb-neck is under 42". A Fendt I recently played is under 42". My Dodd was under 42". Also many Italian basses built on the smaller side are under 41". Just because we see some 44s floating around doesn't mean they were all made that big.

As far as pro orchestra bass sections go, you might find a few 43s in the group but most players I know want 42" or less. On sound, I see no problem as my former Dodd was one of the loudest and deepest sounding basses I've ever played.

That being said, the copy bass will start out with a D-neck heel but with enough room to carve down to almost a full Eb. I will try it first at a D'. The access to the upper register of this bass is so easy (as it is on the original) that the Eb may not be necessary but it's still an option for after the competition. The string length I think will be just under 42".
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  #44  
Old 09-21-2010, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Erickson View Post
.... I also have no objection to a longer string length; granted, I'm a fairly large guy with bigger hands and a flexible technique, but I really feel that the shorter string lengths we shoot for today are often a crutch (among several) keeping players from developing technique that would allow them to play a longer length without trouble. Sure, a shorter string length is functional and feels "easier" to play, but I don't think that in terms of tonal precision they stand up and that given the same bass and same player, assuming good technique, there is more potential for a tonally "clear" performance with a longer string length.

There's a reason there is only one row of guys playing bass in the orchestra - not everybody is able or willing to do it - we don't need to compromise the instrument so everyone can play it...

(yes, I know there are other reasons too. )
When I first read your post I thought you were just referring to the copy bass but reading it once again I think you are referring to the original which is in the process over being shortened, correct?

I don't know what kind of experience you have playing bass professionally but large basses are tiring to play on and difficult to play in tune as well. This is not about building chops. It's about playing music that was written after these big basses were made.

I can tell you this, give me a dozen or a hundred basses like this and I will shorten every one of them to 42" string length or less. The bass will be easier to play, the sound more focused and the bass itself more desirable to everyone.

I don't know of a single bass in modern times that was lengthened to over 42" but many that were shortened down to it.

Go buy a 44" length bass and try playing in an Orchestra. Let me know how you do.
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  #45  
Old 09-21-2010, 11:55 PM
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My post was not really in reference to any particular bass, I just wanted to comment on the discussion of D vs. Eb necks.

Quote:
The bass will be easier to play, the sound more focused and the bass itself more desirable to everyone.
Perhaps you can elaborate on the first two points -

How does shortening the string length "focus" the sound of the instrument?

And, how does the shorter string length really make the bass easier to play? The way I see it, the issue is with players using a rigid technique of left hand positions that forces stretching over the lower intervals - the shorter string length reduces the intervals making the stretches easier - but it still is more of a technique issue, no?
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  #46  
Old 09-22-2010, 08:53 AM
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Cool ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Erickson View Post
My post was not really in reference to any particular bass, I just wanted to comment on the discussion of D vs. Eb necks.



Perhaps you can elaborate on the first two points -

How does shortening the string length "focus" the sound of the instrument?

And, how does the shorter string length really make the bass easier to play? The way I see it, the issue is with players using a rigid technique of left hand positions that forces stretching over the lower intervals - the shorter string length reduces the intervals making the stretches easier - but it still is more of a technique issue, no?
You almost have me confused here. Please, go out and play in an Orchestra for a few years. A community orchestra, for free most likely. Get some real experience with the music. Play all the Rep. and then we can talk. Your comments on playing make no sense to me.

On the bass itself, the shorter the length on a note, the more direct focus it has. Longer = looser in my book.

On the technique comment, I have no idea where you got that concept from. Position playing is very important. Shifting is very important. Intonation is very important. Free hand playing is not very reliable. Playing alone in your house is not the same as playing in a bass section. You need to play in tune, in unison together, in tempo and sound even if possible.

Discuss this with your teacher. If he is a professional orchestra player, he will explain it to you in your next lesson perhaps.

This thread is about the restoration of a nearly 300 year old cornerless bass with a fantastic sound. It was probably made by an Italian Luthier that made Guitar and Lute type instruments as well as Violin family instruments as we see influences of both styles of construction here. The placement of the F-holes shows it was a 3-string gut instrument as suggested as well by the period and the gear box. The shape is graceful and long. The string length is quite long for the bass as it fits a 3/4 bag and has a 5/4 length of vibrating string. This is not something you see on modern instruments. There was no Beethoven or even Mozart being played when this was made. Vivaldi yes, as well as Italian opera and other Chamber and Church music. As a matter of fact, the owner before the last told his son he found it in a Church in Italy. That was before all of us reading this were born. Guitar shaped basses like this were used in the Monasteries back then. The kind of music they played was only a fraction in demand of what is required today. The length back then was not important for the few notes it put out. Perhaps you are in the wrong century and need to go back!.. .. Then you can enjoy a 44.5" string length and tell all the others playing 40" how wimpy they are. .. Regardless, this one's getting shortened, like it or not.
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  #47  
Old 09-23-2010, 06:57 AM
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Thomas,

Longer string length also generally creates more tension, at the same pitch, as a shorter string length.

For example, on my (former) 44" bass, Spiro Weichs felt sort of like Mittels would have on a 41 1/2" or 42" bass.

So, the longer scale, in addition to making open-handed playing harder, makes general left hand tension/effort greater, in general.
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  #48  
Old 09-23-2010, 08:38 AM
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Cool ok..

Getting back on topic here I would like to mention that Arnold sent me a few pics yesterday of the bass after he applied the golden yellow ground. Wow, the flames of the maple are just popping out all over. I would say the figure looks 2-3x stronger now than when the wood was just in the white. The flames of the original back are much broader in width and oxidized about 300 years. Not much we can do about that but this will be a close second if not right up there.

Sorry, I cannot share these pics due to circumstances beyond my control but, I can tell you about it. Arnold was telling me on the phone and I begged him practically to stop teasing me and send me some pictures.. Ok, I have a few pics now. That should hold me for a day of two..

Oh, and string length for the 'inspired copy bass' (the un-official description for accuracy) is planned for about 41 3/4" length.
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  #49  
Old 09-24-2010, 12:02 PM
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What color finish are you and Arnold planning, once all the finish layers are applied?
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  #50  
Old 09-24-2010, 12:09 PM
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Question ??

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Originally Posted by Eric Swanson View Post
What color finish are you and Arnold planning, once all the finish layers are applied?
I can't say for sure but not as dark as the original because age and oxidation has contributed to that. Also, since this is a publicly read Forum and the bass is being entered into a competition I would not reveal the color IF I knew it. No one should know who the maker of this bass is until after the judging. I will post pictures before xmas.

She will be pretty..
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  #51  
Old 10-02-2010, 05:10 AM
Craig Regan Craig Regan is offline
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Will this Bass be entered in the VSA?
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  #52  
Old 10-02-2010, 09:39 AM
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Will this Bass be entered in the VSA?
Can't say. You gotta ask Arnold..
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  #53  
Old 10-02-2010, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
You almost have me confused here. Please, go out and play in an Orchestra for a few years. A community orchestra, for free most likely. Get some real experience with the music. Play all the Rep. and then we can talk. Your comments on playing make no sense to me.
Been there, done that, years ago - played the "rep" and a lot of basses too. Sorry if I don't make sense, I admit to having developed an unorthodox approach to technique and instruments both.

Quote:
Longer string length also generally creates more tension, at the same pitch, as a shorter string length.
Well... sort of. I think it is here that we get into the issue of "string length (mensure)" vs. overall string length of the instrument.

Sorry to further derail the thread.

Ken - want to copy some of these posts over to the current thread on string length modifications? I certainly don't mean to be negative or argumentative on the subject, or to hijack the thread about your new bass!
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  #54  
Old 10-02-2010, 10:11 AM
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Cool copy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Erickson View Post
Been there, done that, years ago - played the "rep" and a lot of basses too. Sorry if I don't make sense, I admit to having developed an unorthodox approach to technique and instruments both.



Well... sort of. I think it is here that we get into the issue of "string length (mensure)" vs. overall string length of the instrument.

Sorry to further derail the thread.

Ken - want to copy some of these posts over to the current thread on string length modifications? I certainly don't mean to be negative or argumentative on the subject, or to hijack the thread about your new bass!
No, I don't need to copy it. Feel free to copy and post your ideas where applicable. If the subject turns to the side a bit it's ok by me to air out the thoughts on it and then get back to the mainstream topic.

On your 'been there done that' comment about playing in an Orchester I gotta ask you this. You were born in 1982. You have a Shen made in 1997. You were 15 when the bass was made and and you are 28 now. Is the Shen the bass you played in the 'been there done that' statement?

I once asked a retired player who played without a C-extension for 15 years in a Pro Orchestra but had a converted 5er a question about the Storm 6th part. I wanted to know if he played all the low individual 16ths on the 5er or on the 4 an octave up? He replied, 'we never played the 6th!'

So Thomas, how do you approach that part on the 6th?

I know this is off topic but you made the comment about length and if I read you correctly it was a bit condescending to todays players in the 41-42" string length range. If you were referring to beginners and jazz players trying to go shorter than 41" for whatever reason then please say so.

For the record, I subscribe to the 41-42" length for everything I play, buy or modify. Sometimes the bass is just too small or too big or too long or the FFs too low or close together to modify but, I do have these numbers in mind as a goal and for a very good reason.

Back on topic, the Varnish is in the final coatings. The last round of pics Arnold sent me look stunning. In order to keen the strong maple flames showing, the varnish cannot get too dark. The oxidation of the wood on the original is something we cannot buy in a jar and put on a bass so we will just have to wait a few centuries for that..
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  #55  
Old 10-02-2010, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
No, I don't need to copy it. Feel free to copy and post your ideas where applicable. If the subject turns to the side a bit it's ok by me to air out the thoughts on it and then get back to the mainstream topic.

On your 'been there done that' comment about playing in an Orchester I gotta ask you this. You were born in 1982. You have a Shen made in 1997. You were 15 when the bass was made and and you are 28 now. Is the Shen the bass you played in the 'been there done that' statement?

I once asked a retired player who played without a C-extension for 15 years in a Pro Orchestra but had a converted 5er a question about the Storm 6th part. I wanted to know if he played all the low individual 16ths on the 5er or on the 4 an octave up? He replied, 'we never played the 6th!'

So Thomas, how do you approach that part on the 6th?

I know this is off topic but you made the comment about length and if I read you correctly it was a bit condescending to todays players in the 41-42" string length range. If you were referring to beginners and jazz players trying to go shorter than 41" for whatever reason then please say so.

For the record, I subscribe to the 41-42" length for everything I play, buy or modify. Sometimes the bass is just too small or too big or too long or the FFs too low or close together to modify but, I do have these numbers in mind as a goal and for a very good reason.

Back on topic, the Varnish is in the final coatings. The last round of pics Arnold sent me look stunning. In order to keen the strong maple flames showing, the varnish cannot get too dark. The oxidation of the wood on the original is something we cannot buy in a jar and put on a bass so we will just have to wait a few centuries for that..
I don't mean to condescend at all - I think that discussion of topics like this can't help but benefit all of us! I admit that I tend to push buttons though - but only in a good way.

Sure, I'm not the oldest guy around, and while I do have a fair bit of experience playing in orchestras, I'm not currently a pro orchestra player. The Shen is my current instrument due to circumstance but believe me, I'm not proud of it. It is an appliance at best; a questionable appliance at that (I'm sure that will offend someone)...

Really, my only point is just that people seem to see *string length* (often not knowing what it actually is) as some magic factor to making a bass playable, when the reality is that there are so many small factors that all add up to make a musical instrument.
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  #56  
Old 10-13-2010, 04:43 AM
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Thumbs up ok..

Back on topic, I visited Arnold yesterday afternoon and got a good look at the bass all varnished and awaiting its final rubout. Arnold marked the fingerboard (unstrung) where the octave G is and the D near the neck heel. Boy is that G easy to reach. With the palm of my hand on the shoulder, the G is right there under my fingers without any reach at all. The D is perfect, just a smudge above the center of my thumb.

All I can say is the bass looks and feels sweet. I have owned more basses than I can count and some of them were fairly new (not counting basses I buy for stock). This however is the first Bass I have ever commissioned to be made from scratch. I was able to select the wood with Arnold in his shop and was involved in the design as well.

The bass was in a stand along side of the back/rib assembly of the original it was copied from.

I will probably have the bass a few weeks before Christmas as it has to go first to the VSA to be judged and then when it returns I will find a day to drive up and get it. That will be my first time playing it as well.
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  #57  
Old 10-30-2010, 09:22 PM
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Thumbs up update..

I just got back from Arnold's and got to play the new Bass. I actually went up to show the Malvolti labeled bass and get a game plan to clean it up soon as well as pick up my Lombardi roundback that just got a tweak and clean-up as well. Arnold mentioned on the phone that the bass is ready to play so, I did.

I was surprised how deep and smooth it was. It did not sound new. The bass is so accessible with the Storioni shoulders that with my arm/wrist resting on the shoulder, I can play the 2nd octave C on the G in thumb position without actually going to TP.. lol

It was a treat to play. The workmanship is beautiful and all the materials top-notch. It will go soon out to the VSA show for the competition. When it comes back, the C-Extension will be made and fit. Then some final set-up tweaking when we meet on that final day when the bass comes home. This is my first double bass commission. A Grand Slam. Bravo Maestro Arnoldo.
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  #58  
Old 11-01-2010, 07:40 AM
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Congratulations to both you and Arnold! It sounds as if another great bass has come into the world...
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  #59  
Old 12-06-2010, 06:57 AM
Craig Regan Craig Regan is offline
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........ Pictures?
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  #60  
Old 12-06-2010, 08:40 AM
Arnold Schnitzer Arnold Schnitzer is offline
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I have some preliminary pics up on my Facebook page. The bass is being delivered to Ken on 12/17, and I'm sure there will be a beautiful layout on the KSB site within hours. I've just finished the C extension and the instrument really likes it.
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