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Bjarton Upright with Cutaway

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by MacGeorge, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. MacGeorge


    Feb 18, 2008
    I have this Bjarton double bass with a cut away and i was wondering if someone might be able to tell me about it. I know it was made in Sweden, and I'm pretty sure the company doesn't exist anymore. It's an awesome bass that was seems to be obviously meant for jazz, but still has a fantastic arco sound. I'm just curious because the bass' background is a bit of a mystery and haven't been able to find much on it, I've only seen a few snips about it on the internet. I bought it from David Gauge's string shop in NYC, and while i was trying out lots of basses this one kept calling out to me, and thats pretty much all i know. Hopefully the pictures that i attach will work so you can see it.

    Attached Files:

  2. MacGeorge


    Feb 18, 2008
    No, defintaly Bjarton. They have a website, but there is not much on it at all as it was created after the company was gone with what little records were left behind. The website also mostly only has information about when they made guitars and not the earlier history about when they made orchestral instruments. I actually however managed to find a ad from the 50's with the bass in it, the problem is i dont read sweedish.

    Attached Files:

  3. I will truy to translate it for you. I dont have all of it, and both sweden and english are foreing languages for me.

    Here goes:

    Bjärtonbass, a new model that got great interest among musicians that was gathered to test play it.

    Especially the elegant black and white trimmings in the f-holes and around the top and the bottom of the bass, and exellent craftsmanship that results in lovely and loud tone that ...speaks with authority... (or something like that)

    Fingerboard and stringpost made of eben.

    1 year warranty.

    Oh, and then there was a separate add for a bass stand that was so great and cheap that never before had there been anything like that in Sweden. But that does not propably interest you?
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Why does one need a Cutaway Bass?:spit:

    I can reach the Bridge of almost any bass I have ever played regardless of its size.;):smug::D
  5. AAAH THE BATCHELDER!.... :drools:
  6. bassnug47


    Oct 7, 2007
    Birmingham AL
    life is good, Dead is better
    Well Mr. Smith,
    maybe because it looks downright awesome!:D
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I think I'd fall over if I played a cutaway bass. :D
  8. MacGeorge


    Feb 18, 2008

    There really isn't a need for the cutaway, but I wanted something a little bit different, but not obnoxious as to where i would feel embarassed with the orchestra at my college. But when I play it, the plus is I don't have to hunch over to go high or go into thumb position until I get to C or higher if i want. It's not vital, it's just kinda cool, I think.
  9. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    i suppose you could use the cutaway to hold spare towels , prosthetic arms etc...
  10. Adam Booker

    Adam Booker Supporting Member

    May 3, 2007
    Boone, NC
    Endorsing Artist: D'Addario Strings, Remic Microphones
    great place to set your beer
  11. MatsD


    Oct 12, 2008
    An old thread but...

    The bass you have is a Bjarton Swingmaster and it was manufactured in the 1950's. You're in good company if you play one, becuase even Ray Brown purchased one of those when on tour in Sweden in the 50's. He wrote this about it:

    In Sweden, I purchased this wonderful bass which I recommend to all bassists. I is as good as any factory made instument I've ever played. - Ray Brown

    See it in Ray's own handwriting here:

    The company name Bjarton is derived from the village name Bjarnum where the instruments were manufactured and the Swedish word for "tone" which is "ton".

    They stopped making upright basses in the 60's and concentrated on guitars, mainly acoustic, but also a few electric models.

    The company closed in 1990 but I believe someone has bought the rights to the brand name and are now selling chinese manufactured instruments under the namn Bjarton (just as with Hagstrom, another old Swedish guitar making company).

    Bjarton didn't just make this "modern" looking Swingmaster model but also a few other more traditionally looking models of upright basses. I own one myself and it has a very deep and full sound.

    Here's a few pics of it:

    IMG_0629. IMG_0630.
    IMG_0631. IMG_0632.
    IMG_0633. IMG_0634.
    IMG_0635. IMG_0636.
    IMG_0637. IMG_0638.

    /Mats D
  12. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    The original post photos sure look very close to the old cutaway Framus I used to own- even down to the plastic binding around the edge and soundholes. I'd bet that they used Framus as a subcontractor and relabeled it; pretty common industry practice and still used today.

    'Sure wish uncle Ken was still around so I could give him a hard time about that hunched over old guy posture. I could say the same thing about him not needing to make his slab basses without a cutaway, but it sure is handy....

  13. MatsD


    Oct 12, 2008
    I wish you wouln't initiate such unsubstantiated rumours. I know for a fact that the Bjarton company did NOT subcontract or relabel these instruments. They were all built in Bjarnum Sweden in a manual way that would be considered hand-built today.

    Bjarton did buy wood from all over the world and they had other companies make such things for them as machine-heads, strings etc. What may or may not be true is that they borrowed the design for their Swingmaster model from Framus, but it could also be the other way around, or it could be quite a generic design. I've seen several modern uprights with a design very close to this as well.

    I can't tell for sure how the manufacturing methods evolved during the later decades up to the 1990's, but any such changes don't apply to this discussion since the upright basses were all built in the 1950's.

    As a native Swede born in 1958, I have also owned a few Bjarton classical nylon string guitars in my time (I still have two of them in my posession), and they are also very fine and rich sounding instruments.

    /Mats D
  14. buddyro57

    buddyro57 me and PJ (living with the angels now)

    Apr 14, 2006
    Cedar Falls Iowa
    in the words of Captain Gus McCrae (Robert Duvall) in Lonesome Dove: " I believe yore shootin' a little to the left of the point"

    I mean Ken- Look it at....its freakin Cool lookin- are you kidding me?


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