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A Visit To Arnold Schnitzer's Shop

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by KSB - Ken Smith, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I drove about 3-Hours+ yesterday to Arnold's shop to leave my Morelli for repair, see a few Basses and meet the Man himself. Let me say the experience was above my expectations. What a gentleman he is and a fine Craftsnman as well.

    I got to play a couple of his Basses as well as Jeff Bollbach's Lionhead Bass. With a blindfold, you would never guess these were new Basses. His Plywood Standard Bass sounds fantastic. His handmade Bass along with Jeff's are nothing less that first class work. I am totally impressed how well they sounded and how well they were put together.

    Arnold showed me a few fantastic Basses I just have to mention. First, the most beautiful Bass I have ever seen made in New England in 1840. Arnold will be putting it on his site soon. It was large but easy to play and shook the floor. Nicer than any Prescott I have ever seen in person or in a picture. Also, a couple of nice French Basses from the 19th century and a beautiful 5-string Pollmann.

    My main interest other than to get my Morelli on his bench was to see a nice Italian Bass he just got in. If not for having my Gilkes and Martini already, I might have brought it home. It is a nice handmade 19th century Italian Bass with alot of personality in very good condition, great dimentions and sounds sweet as well. I don't think he'll have that one for very long.

    I'm sure Arnold can fill in the details on his Bass stock alot better than me. If your anywhere within driving distance, you MUST go and see his shop. He is one of a few REAL Bass makers around today.

    Thanks Arnold for having me over...... I'll be back when the Morelli is ready if not before......
  2. Thanks Ken! I'd love to meet Arnold and visit the shop.....maybe if we do our Bass Summit, I could include that in my plans.

    Judging from Kens words, you must be better than I thought....I know he's pretty damn picky!
    That New England bass sounds special...I wanna see it!
  3. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Whaaaattt? A decent plywood bass??? Surely you jest!

  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Thanks Ken for the kind words. I must tell the rest of you guys that Ken is one of the most knowledgeable people I've met in the area of antique basses and wood. We had a super visit, and it could easily have lasted hours longer, but his teenager was getting hungry... The American bass Ken mentions can be seen in the ISB Bass World, Volume 27, #3, which was issued this past spring. The extremely talented luthier (and cabinetmaker, and musician, and solar energy expert, and farmer, and...), Robbie McIntosh, who restored the bass, wrote an article describing its unique attributes. The bass was made by J.B. Allen of Springfield, Mass in 1841. Suffice it to say, it contains some of the most impressive workmanship I've ever seen on a bass. And I've seen a lot of basses.
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Paul, maybe we can convince Arnold to bring a few of his top Basses to drool over for that weekend......

    As far as a decent plywood, I Jest you Not !!

    The next morning I visited my old friend Dave Katzenberg, a NY Pro Bassist for over 30 Years. I sold him his W.B.Wilfer 30 years ago and besides breakfast and chat, I went to play my old friend again. Not Dave........ We just talked...lol.
    Dave also has an ancient King which I think Arnold has worked on. This King and Arnolds Standard both sounded similar. The advantage Arnold has is that he has seen and played 100s of Basses and was able to put all of his previous knowledge into this 'Super' Standard model.

    Like with all things, we learn from the past. His Standard has the guts and depth of a great Jazz Bass and maybe with different strings would also work well in an orchestra setting. I don't doubt for a minute that you will be hearing of players setting them up for bowing as a less expensive alternative to a more expensive 'B' grade carved Bass that may not deliver as much for the 'buck' !!
  6. prelims222


    Sep 20, 2004
    Southeast US
    Arnold, I've got to get out there some time. I may be in the Scarsdale Glen/Bedford area in December - think you'll be around?

    Its definitely time to upgrade.