Bass Body types
I'm kinda curious about something.
There are a number of body types out there for 3/4 Basses and I was wondering if there was a difinitive answer as to what body type is the largerst when it comes to Lower and Upper Bouts?
It seems to me that the Panormo body type is pretty large but I can't say that I've seen one in person.
Does this questions have more factors than just body type, such as the maker? Ie: A Shen Panormo is larger than an Upton Panormo? (btw, I'm not saying they are, just posing that possibility).
No expert here, but if a bass is patterned after a specific maker's bass, many makers will use the original maker's name, rightly or wrongly, to identify their instrument. Hawkes Panormo models have large upper bouts, and I imagine some of the modern takes on Panormo have this feature as well. Did Panormo make all of his basses with this feature, or is this just one of his models? I don't know. I also think Panormo patterned basses, and other basses with 22" upper bouts are usually considered 7/8.
Ken Smith at www.smithbassforums.com would be a good person to ask. If you go to his double basses for sale site, you'll see Panormo and Lott models and Lamy and Tarr originals with large upper bouts.
Though better known for larger instruments, I recently had a chance to examine one of the few small Panormo basses. The voice was nimble and quick and had a very lush bottom end. A superb bass for combo jazz pizz and or melodic arco play, which is how the current owner uses it. It was a rare treat to get to handle such a nice instrument.
The only way to talk about this and not spend a million years typing is to use broad generalizations. We know broad generalizations are never the whole truth, but we can at least get some useful information.
If you're looking for a large body, Italian style body shapes are the place to start. Panormo, Da Salo, Maggini are three that come to mind (though Maggini also made smaller basses like the "Delmas"). English Basses also tend to be large due to the large influence of Italian makes (and players) there. New England school basses (the "Prescott" style , and I use those quotation marks liberally) are either moderate sized 3/4s or giant 4/4 basses ( Upton has or had a very large Prescott Gamba, for example)
Like I said, these are all sweeping generalizations. I've seen some pretty gigantic german basses, and a few larger french basses as well. The only way to know is to look at pics of basses and find measurements. I also tend to compare the measurements to my own bass, just because it makes the measurements more tangible to me to compare it to something I'm intimately familiar with.
Eric's advice about looking up Ken Smith on his forum is sound. the man's had a lot of basses pass through his hands, and is pretty knowledgeable.
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