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A new level in bass butchery!!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Nuno A., Jun 20, 2004.


  1. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    SWITZERLAND
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    I like the part about the "big upside heart, something like my wife's"...

    Looking at the pics, I had to wonder, his wife's what ? :eyebrow:
     
  3. That's a Berda. They're made in What use to be Yugoslavia. I think Cechnia? Branstetter had one that he made into a regular DB. I'll drop him a PM....he can tell us all about these things!
     
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    That thing came like that? Does it have a bass bar and sound post? Is it Spruce top with Maple back and sides? Is that heart an inlay or decal?
     
  5. I think they have two bass bars.... the heart on Branstetters was inlaid. Might try a search on Berda til Branstetter shows up. He did a whole slide show of him doing the conversion.
    I can't find a spelling of Chechnya??? It might have had two sound posts as well.
    They're Croatian...use your search engine...under Berda! Look under Berda on the TB search too...Three bass bars and no sound post.
    There's some pictures on your regular search too.
     
  6. Henry Boehm

    Henry Boehm

    Jun 16, 2004
    Madison, WI
    The first time I saw one of these was when a client brought it to me for repair about 6 years ago. I had a similar reaction. It was a really nice bass, probably mid 19th century czech but had been modified in the same way. Turns out that in a nearby city to me (Milwaukee) there's a whole troupe of Berda and Tamboritza (sp?) players and I've since seen about half a dozen various permutations of this instrument. Some were modified double basses and some appeared to be built as berdas. They have massively stiff thick steel strings...much like the bass strings on a piano which are played aggressively with a large pick. The modified double bass berdas had the same guts (one bass bar, one soundpost) and the others had two bass bars and two soundposts (!) The tuning varies seems to vary too but I've been told that the l and ll string are tuned in unison and the lll and lV string are tuned in unison a fifth below the l and ll strings. I've got one in the shop now that looks like a hueueueuege dreadnought guitar with a really really long, skinny neck. If anyone is interested, I could put you in touch with our local berda/tamboritza expert.
    Henry
    The Double Bass Workshop
     
  7. The Berda bass I converted was made as a Berda in Germany, and in most respects it was made like a traditional flat back bass. However, on the inside of the top there were two large fitted bass bars located under the bridge feet and one smaller carved bass bar down the center seam. No sound post! The conversion was complicated by the fact that the top and back are about the same size at the neck joint. The neck heal does not taper from the fingerboard to the back button. Conversion without replacing the entire neck and fingerboard would be impossible. Sorry, but I took the slide show down several months ago. However, I do have the photos on my computer and could reload them to the Ofoto site if anyone is interested. BTW - it turned out to be a great sounding bass after the conversion.
     
  8. I never thought to ask Bob......The heart is actually a pick gaurd right?
     
  9. I imagine it probably serves a dual purpose. The last few frets are actually on the body and the inlay (rosewood, I believe) acts as a combination fingerboard and pick guard.
     
  10. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    I played ( well, put my hands on and tried to balance around) a friend's bass balalaika a few months ago. Big triangular thing, internal bracing more like a guitar than a bass, fretted, three strings, HIGH action, HUGE scale (first fret must have been over 2" from the nut!)

    Sounds like maybe a similar playing technique to this berda? The guy was using a big leather plectrum nearly 3/4" thick (looks like a big smooth rock) and playing a lot of fast tremolo on one string and letting the others resonate.

    I could hardly get a note out of it. Like playing a fretted fullsize DB on its side ...