New Double Bass! Copy of Pietro Palotta

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by AMJBASS, Jan 31, 2003.


  1. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Messages:
    3,848
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I have just aquired a new Double Bass(or will officially soon)! It is a copy of a 1795 Pietro Palotta. It is a wonderful sounding bass, and because of it's size, very easy to play. It is a 5/8 though it could be considered small 3/4. The bass has a very focused sound. Very even sounding across the whole fingerboard.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,182
    Location:
    freeport, ny
    Nice! Hey, who made it and which Palotta did he copy. The bass that I make was loosely based on a Palotta owned by Dave Walter.
     
  3. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Messages:
    3,848
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    The bass was made by Peter Chandler. It is one of his better instruments. It is a copy of Cynthia Woods Pallotta. She plays in St. Catharines Ontario.
    I am not sure if I am going to definitely buy the bass, so I am going to rent it for a few months(rent is quite inexpensive).
     
  4. Rob W

    Rob W

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2000
    Messages:
    1,128
    Location:
    Hamilton, ON, Canada
    I owned a Chandler for a while. They are pretty decent for the money although the quality and tone can vary quite a bit from one to the other.

    Mine was an Amati copy (a copy of Corky Davis' bass - which is one of the finest basses ever made).

    The nice thing about Peter's basses is that he uses some pretty nice wood considering the price of his instruments. They generally play and sound pretty good, but some of his instruments are a little rough around the edges in terms of fine attention to detail on the workmanship. Having said that, if they were as flawlessly constructed as an Elias bass, they'd likely be three times the price.

    It would have been great if Chandler started making instruments much earlier in life (I think he's at least 70 now), because I'm sure his instruments will get better and better and if we could have seen his work develop over 25-30 years, he probably would have made some really great instruments in his lifetime (not that some of them aren't really good already, it's just they could have been great).

    That copy of Cindy's bass is a nice size. I baby sat one for a while a few years back. It's a little smaller than average but it is really comfy to play. Cindy's bass sure sounds great so there's nothing to say a bass that size can't make a nice full sound.

    If Peter is going to let you rent the bass for a while, maybe he'll have some other basses finished by then. He's made a lot of different models now - the copy of Ed Tait's Panormo is rather good, and I liked the Amati quite well.

    My stand partner in Hamilton Phil played on an enormous Bergonzi copy for a year or so while her other bass was being restored. That bass sounded incredible and is well broken in by now. Peter probably has it back now, as Sharon traded it in for a smaller bass. I don't know if you checked that bass out or not, but I can tell you from playing next to the instrument a lot that it's a real winner.

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy the bass. You do get a heck of a lot of bass for the buck with Peter.
     
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Messages:
    3,848
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi Rob,

    I did play on that bass! It was huge! The string length was about 43 1/2". I am a pretty small guy, and I couldn't deal with that bass. Peter had an Amati that he recently completed, that sounded quite good. Most of Peter's basses, I find to be choked. I would say that this is more likely do to setup though(Sound post, bridge etc.). I may end up getting Peter to make me a bass. I would love to have a Panormo copy. I am going to talk to him on Monday.
     
  7. Bass Boy

    Bass Boy

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2000
    Messages:
    1,934
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Adrian, was that the bass Peter had at his shop last summer when we went there? I thought you didn't like it. The Amati he had there was a great sounding bass ( Although I found some construction problems) Have you checked out Stirtzinger's Chandler Palotta? He is selling it and that one IMO sounded much better.

    Rob: How are you man? I believe you were my bass coach back in the NYO. I played in the section with Daniel Roy and that strange tall guy from the US.
     
  8. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Messages:
    3,848
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Randy,

    Peter still has the Amati, but I found it pretty hard to play. I don't think that this particualar Pallotta was at Peter's when we went. It was rented out if I am not misteaken. He had another very similar to it though. I like Randy Stirtzinger's bass, but he is marking it up about $2000 from what he paid(from work he had done to it), and I don't think it is worth quite that much. This bass does need work, but it is decent sounding the way it is. I am going to rent it for 3-4 months before I decide. When do you plan on coming back to St.Catharines?
     
  9. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,563
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Hi,

    Just have to chime in here. . . I bought plans for the Amati copy from Mr. Chandler, and I'm spending some of my time this year on building one. I liked his book, but of course I've read quite a few other violin-making books for balance.

    I am interested in the Pallotta plan as well. Does this bass make a good solo-tuned instrument? Could be a good second bass for me to make. . .
    Cheers,
    Laurence
     
  10. Bass Boy

    Bass Boy

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2000
    Messages:
    1,934
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Adrian, last time I talked to Stirtzinger he was selling it for $6000. If he has raised the price to $8000 I think he will be keeping the bass a while! Its a nice bass, but in that price range there are definately some better choices. Of all the Chandlers I've played the Amati copies seem to be the most consistent as far as good tone. They are on the larger side though. I should be back in Niagara in a month or so. I'll call you to check out the Palotta.
     
  11. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Messages:
    3,848
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    :mad: :mad: :mad:
    Well so much for the Pallotta! The upper cross bar in the back of the instrument fell off! I found it this morning in the bass. I was really starting to like this bass, but it looks like I will be looking for another one.
     
  12. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2001
    Messages:
    1,182
    Location:
    freeport, ny
    That may explain why his basses are so inexpensive.
     
  13. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,748
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Winnipeg, baby
    ... the rise and fall of a luthier's reputation, at internet speed. How long did that take, anyway? 12, 18 hours?
     
  14. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Messages:
    3,848
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Well I had the bass for roughly a day. I am going back to Peter Chandler's house this week. I am going to get him to repair the bass. I am going to give it a second chance. I really like the sound and playabiliy of the instrument. We'll see what happens...
     
  15. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,748
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Winnipeg, baby
    Sorry, Adrian. I made a rather snarky remark. What I meant was, here on the board we were looking at this bass for less than a day.

    You might want to have him check out all the glue joints while he's at it, if they were glued like that back brace.

    Beautiful looking bass, and I'll bet it sounds great too.
     
  16. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2001
    Messages:
    8,533
    Location:
    Maui
    In the intro to the Chandler book, Ed Tait remarks about the quick completion of a Busan copy that he'd ordered (two months). Maybe bass luthiery is something that shouldn't be rushed?
    Has anyone played the "Chandler bass", I.E., his own model with the sloping shoulders? Just curious.
     
  17. Bass Boy

    Bass Boy

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2000
    Messages:
    1,934
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Adrian, sorry to hear about the bass.
    Adrian and I have talked at great length about Peter Chandler's basses. He uses some nice woods and the Amati copies I have played were all very nice basses. The main problem I find with Peters work is attention to detail. Most of the instruments I have seen made by him (about 12-14) have similar problems: Neck slightly crooked,badly cut fingerboard, some questionably glued joints and inferior hardware(endpin, tuners) One of the basses Adrian and I tried at Peter's shop last summer had tuning gears that wouldn't turn. The Amati that I played was incredibly even and open sounding for a newish instrument ( it was under two years old). It was beautiful to look at as well. Unfortunately the ribs weren't glued to top very well and I could have easily slid my business card between a gap or two. If Peter spent a little more time on the basses he could produce some excellent instruments. I'm sure it would involve a slight price increase, but I would much rather spend $8500 CAN on a well constructed bass with good hardwear and a great sound that took six months to build than a $7000 CAN bass that needs a fingerboard dressing, new endpin, new tuners and constant repair for the first year. If the Amati had been constructed better I would have bought it on the spot. I hope Peter starts to spend a little more time on his instuments as he is such a nice, genuine person and is a pleasure to deal with. (Peter was joking around at his shop saying that he was getting old and wanted to make as many basses as he could before it became physically impossible for him to do so)
     
  18. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Messages:
    1,563
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I haven't played the "Chandler" bass, but I did order the plan for it. I decided against building it when I saw that the mensure was 42.5". I don't want a solo bass that long. I figure I will build the Amati copy, and then maybe fuss with the Chandler plan to get it down to 41" or so, or else make a Pallota copy. From everything I've heard about Peter, he is truly a great guy, and his basses are getting better and better. I have two students that have Busan models, and each has some of the problems described above. They are both good-sounding basses though, and very inexpensive for the quality.

    LM
     
  19. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,748
    Media:
    1
    Location:
    Winnipeg, baby
    Let me pipe in, too, that Chandler's made a great contribution simply by writing his book (So...You Want To Make A Double Bass) and making those plans available. Ain't nothing else like it around...

    And maybe he wasn't joking when he said he wanted to make as many as he could. People will tell you the truest things about themselves in an offhand manner sometimes.

    Best luck with the whole thing, to everyone involved.
     
  20. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2002
    Messages:
    3,848
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I did play a "Chandler Model" bass when I was at Peter's house. It played quite nice. It is based on a French style instrument with pear shaped shoulders. The one Peter had at the shop had a crack down the seam in the back.

    I am going back either tomorrow or tuesday. I may end up getting that Amati from him. I wasn't looking for a bass that bright sounding, but it does sound good! I will be sure to inspect it well before taking it. Especially after driving 2 hours there, and 2 hours back!
     
  21. Bass Boy

    Bass Boy

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2000
    Messages:
    1,934
    Location:
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Adrian, the Amati had some areas where the ribs are not touching the top/back. I believe the neck was fairly straight but it will probably need some new tuning gears and a new endpin. I didn't find the size of the Amati to be a problem and I'm not too much taller than you.
     

Share This Page