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A name for this bass shape?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by mikjans, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. mikjans


    Dec 17, 2003
    Uppsala, Sweden
    I have seen a number of semi-acoustic or small-bodied double basses that all have a similar shape. Like the Dan Robinson bass (Australia):
    or the Whitehead SASE (also down under)
    or the Teman (made in Italy)
    (slight variation in the bottom)

    Renowned French luthier Christian Laborie makes a similar bass, as does the equally renowned Italian luthier Pietro Capodieci.

    Now - and I especially ask the luthiers here - is there a special name for this design, like there are names for other double bass designs (Busetto, for instance)? A lot of luthiers worldwide seem to have agreed on the very same design...
  2. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I think I saw that last one on an episode of "The Jetsons".
  4. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    It's sort of a semi-cornerless design. Cornerless instruments have been around a long time. I've heard some folks refer to the basses as "guitar" style, as the various varieties of the dreadnought guitar are of a cornerless design.

    If you look look at the thread down this page titled "Arnold S's Ergonomic Bass " you'll see that his bass is of a very similar design that has been offset symmetrically.

    The statements on his site reads that the bass was intended to be cornerless but ended up designed as it was as "a consession to practicality."

    Which I interpret to mean that a completely cornerless bass is a PITA to build.

    Perhaps the builders of the basses you showed had the same experience.
  5. I'm still gagging on the $7,000 price tag for the Whitehead. Get real.
  6. "Which I interpret to mean that a completely cornerless bass is a PITA to build."

    I interpret that as being impractical to carry. It is actually easier to build since the corners add a lot of labor to both the corpus and the plates.
  7. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    If I recall correctly, that's the only reason Arnold went with actual corners where the C's meet the uppers on his ergo bass... So it can be picked up and carried easily.
  8. I believe that shape, which is guitar shape on bottom and either gamba or violin on top, goes back a long way to the Renaisance period. It is a shape used for early viols. Viols came in all kinds of weird shapes, only some of which have been applied to double basses.

  9. In the event of a split in the rib, it stops at the corner. On a true guitar shape with no corners, it could travel the whole distance, top to bottom. It's a maintenance nightmare. I think.
  10. I am in the process of designing and building a guitar/cornerless shaped bass and It is interesting that you brought that up Don. To counter the cracking I plan to double the sides and place carbon fiber or linin between the layers. I also designed a sliding trap door that will double as a handle to carry the instrument as well as a port to remove the neck and set the soundpost. Stay tuned :D

    If anyone has access to a cornerless, guitarshaped/pear shaped bass I would love to hear about it, photos would be great. The latest Double Bassist has an article featuring a soloist playing a pear shaped bass. I am not copying any one instrument but gathering info for my own design. Comments are welcome!
  11. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA