Resources on building upright bass?

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KD Williams-Shimomura
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Resources on building upright bass?

Post by KD Williams-Shimomura »

I've been very interested in constructing a 3/4 scale upright bass. Most of my building experience has been in solid bodied and semi-hollow bodied electric guitars and basses; but I would like to expand my horizons some.

Does anyone know of some good books or resources that I can study on the construction of and upright bass?

Thanks so much for your help!
"Speak useful words or be silent." -The Hávamál

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Bob Gramann
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Re: Resources on building upright bass?

Post by Bob Gramann »

The summer and fall 2011 issues of American Lutherie (luth.org) had a two part article on building an upright by Géza Burghardt. The articles themselves are not sufficient instructions for a full build but there's enough information there (including plans) to make purchasing those magazines worthwhile. (And while your at it, go ahead and join the Guild of American Lutherie--the magazines make it worth it). H.S. Wake wrote a book "To Make a Double Bass" which includes plans to be scaled up. GollihurMusic.com has a copy to sell. I haven't built from it (but only dreamed), so I can't promise anything about it's quality. Henry Strobel has a series on violin making that is still available. I have used one of his books and found his methods quite approachable.

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Dan Warren
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Re: Resources on building upright bass?

Post by Dan Warren »

The book that I've most heard recommended is Peter Chandler's "So ... you want to make a Double Bass":

http://www.violins.ca/books/bass_making_book.html

I don't have it (expensive) so I can't personally vouch for its quality, just passing on a recommendation I got. All I've built is a washtub-bodied version, not a "real" one.

Fred Battershell

Re: Resources on building upright bass?

Post by Fred Battershell »

Google "Lemur Music"

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Jim McConkey
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Re: Resources on building upright bass?

Post by Jim McConkey »

Violman, please remember that we do not allow aliases here. PM one of the moderators with your real name so we can update your membership.
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Chet Bishop
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Re: Resources on building upright bass?

Post by Chet Bishop »

I have only built one bass so far (hope to build my second this year), but I used the Peter Chandler book (So you want to make a double Bass) and was aided a good deal in set-up by the Chuck Traeger book (Setup and Repair of the Double Bass for Optimum Sound). Mr. Chandler did not go into much deatil about the bass bar, but Mr. Traeger did, etc.

Here is my bass:
http://www.bluefiddles.com/joomla/index ... &Itemid=56

It was made for a young fellow in high school, who subsequently moved to Illinois. The last heard is that he is very happy with it and still playing.

Chet Bishop
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Chet Bishop
Violin-family instruments
Forest Grove, Oregon

Chet Bishop
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Location: Forest Grove, Oregon

Re: Resources on building upright bass?

Post by Chet Bishop »

Thanks, got it!

I'll try it this way:
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Sorry for the faux pas.
Chet Bishop
Violin-family instruments
Forest Grove, Oregon

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Greg Robinson
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Re: Resources on building upright bass?

Post by Greg Robinson »

Thanks Chet.
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Steve Senseney
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Re: Resources on building upright bass?

Post by Steve Senseney »

Nice looking instrument. I like the details.

Can you tell us more about it?

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Mike Wilson
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Re: Resources on building upright bass?

Post by Mike Wilson »

Nice work, Chet!

Chet Bishop
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Re: Resources on building upright bass?

Post by Chet Bishop »

What would you like to know? It is modelled after the William Tarr plan available from Peter Chandler. The original plan called for a flat back, but I don't like flat backs, so I made it a round-back, but only about 25-30mm of arch.

The wood is big leaf maple, quite plain, from John Tepper, at Tepper Tonewoods in Shady Cove, Oregon, and Englemann spruce, from the same source. I got the fittings from International Violin Co. in Baltimore, MD, but the ebony tailpiece was too short. I bought another, which turned out to be too long, so I made the one that is in the second photo out of curly maple. The reason the second one is a tad narrow is: that is just how wide the board was. :-) The young fellow in the photo is who the bass was made for...I think he was 17 at the time.

He asked for a lion-head; I thought it over and decided that I wasn't even sure I could make a bass, let alone carve a decent lion-head. I told him he would have to have a regular scroll, but that if he ever wanted another bass, I would try a lion. (Never have tried one, still...)

It has a very powerful voice. it was a real thrill to play it the first time, and feel the floor shaking under my feet. (I live in a wooden house--cedar--and evidently the lowest notes on the bass matched some sort of resonance in the floor.) Anyway. It was a good experience.

I used oil varnishes over a shellac ground. The inlay on the back is Paua, from New Zealand, I think...or maybe it was abalone. I don't recall. Paua is more blue, I guess...I can't tell from looking at the photo which it is, and I've forgotten.
Chet Bishop
Violin-family instruments
Forest Grove, Oregon

Chet Bishop
Posts: 91
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:50 pm
Location: Forest Grove, Oregon

Re: Resources on building upright bass?

Post by Chet Bishop »

Oh, BTW, the shell came from DePaule Supply (google 'em). Andy DePaule is a good guy to deal with. He has a company based in Oregon, but his shell experts are in Viet Nam, where he has connections through his wife. They will make you any kind of inlay you want. The fleur-de-lis was one of their standards, not custom.
Chet Bishop
Violin-family instruments
Forest Grove, Oregon

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