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Brock Radelet basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Mike Goodbar, May 21, 2003.

  1. Not that I'd ever be able to afford one, but I stumbled on Radelet's Web site and was intrigued by what I saw. Certainly a non-traditional design, replete with adjustable neck. According to the bio, he studied with Jim Ham, who I understand also builds basses with adjustable necks.

    Anyone ever seen/heard one of these Ham or Radelet basses?

    What's hard to believe is (according to the site)that after studying bass-building for less than a year, Radelet got a commission from the Karr foundation. Maybe there's a large part of the story that's missing, but to me that's the equivalent of going from weekend plank-spanker to winning the ISB competition in 12 months.

    I know that none of us has crystal balls, but is this kind of design a wave of the future, poised to succeed hundreds years of commonly accepted luthier practices? Or is this a "concept car?" Does acceptance by someone like help Karr open the door?
  2. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN

    Karr actually played the Ham bass at the ISB Convention in Indy. He is a big proponent of the adjustable neck thing. Conceptually it's a pretty cool idea.

    Personally, I thought the bass sounded "tinny". If he were playing through an EQ he would have had the treble cranked to the max.

    I know others attended that convention, maybe they could throw-in their two cents.
  3. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I've personally seen and adjusted Brock's #1 bass. Brock is a serious craftsman, and his bass is very well-made. The design of the instrument is non-traditional, geared toward the Karr-style soloist. This type of player requires small shoulders (on the bass, duh...) and a sound that is piercing and carries over an orchestra. The set-up features very narrow string spacing and a highly arched fingerboard. This is certainly not my idea of an orchestral bass, but that's not how it was concieved. My misgiving about this style of bass is that, though it works nicely for solo, how many bassists are going to ever earn a living playing solos? However, I'm sure Brock has the chops to build a fine orchestral or jazz bass, and I'm afraid we'll be hearing from his basses a lot in the future. Like Jeff says, I'm glad he doesn't live near me...
    byrdzeye likes this.
  4. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Gary Karr is my favourite bassist, and I'm a bit jealous that you got to see him play at ISB!:bawl:

    Anyway, Radelet's design looks pretty similar to Hams. I think as a solo bass it looks great. I played 3 of Ham's basses, and I only really loved Gary's own bass. It has a one piece maple back, gorgeous! I wouldn't use the term "tinny" but I do think Gary's approach is to get a bright sound with a lot of harmonic content. It would be interesting to play a bass by one of these fellows designed for a symphony player.

    Must get over to Victoria to check these new basses out!
  5. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    LM Bass:

    Ya know, I just couldn't come up with the right term. You're correct though, "tinny" might not be the ideal word....maybe "nasal". The sound did carry very well and it was definitely a solo instrument, but there was just something that I didn't like. I saw Karr playing at a different venue about a year and a half earlier, on a different bass and I thought the sound was much better.
  6. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Hey Tim,

    Yeah, Gary's sound isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it's my espresso for sure! I heard him play the Amati bass, and I found that it was a tad warmer, but not drastically so. The sound he goes for, he gets on any bass. I think it is definitely a matter of projecting over the orchestra.

  7. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I used to hear Gary play a lot -- I grew up on that sound. I love his sound. For me, it has the same "you-can't-possibly ignore-me" quality that characterizes Coltrane, Lady Day and Enrico Caruso's sounds. Ever hear Tenor Conclave, that 1956 record with Zoot Sims, Al Cohn, Hank Mobley and Trane? Cohn sounds nice. Mobley sounds fine. Sims actually sounds real good. Coltrane sounds like "Reville." It makes your head turn around!

    I'm listening www.GaryKarr.com right now. Gary's playing the melody to "My One and Only Love." I'm getting not a shred of law done. I'm smiling like all get-out.
  8. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks for the nice post Sam! I'm glad to hear there are more Karr fans around here.
  9. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    Lest I be misunderstood, let me be clear. My remarks are geared toward my impressions of the Ham bass, not by any means Gary Karr.

    Karr is supremely impressive and has done wonders to promote our beloved instrument. He is also right on live.

    I think Arnold summed it up best, this is a bass that is currently designed for solo playing. I would love to see a bass made for the orchestra.
  10. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    For what it's worth, you can count me in the Gary Karr fan club too. His website is an awesome display of generosity for those of us hungry for knowledge and virtuoso bass performances!
  11. cpaterso

    cpaterso Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2007
    just found this thread, after watching a video of GK trying out the Radelet bass. GK is a wonderful bass player - the sound, the phrasing, - all of it. AND, an excellent teacher! hopefully he will be at the ISB this year!!
  12. Nathan Levine

    Nathan Levine Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    Anchorage, AK
    14 year old zombie thread coming back to life. Is this some sort of record?