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No longer available Carruthers EUB

Discussion in 'For Sale: Double Basses' started by Richard Simon, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. Price:
    Rare Carruthers electric upright, made by bass and guitar maker John Carruthers in his Venice, CA, workshop.

    The only modification: I prefer the look a conventional 3/4 acoustic bass bridge.
    The original-equipment bridge - a wedge-shaped slab - will be included.

    Strings: Tomastik Spirocore - medium gauge
    Eb neck
    Fingerboard: rosewood
    Separate volume, bass and treble controls
    End pin retracts or extends to suit player's height
    Belly support bar - to simulate the feeling of an upright bass leaning against you
    On-board pre-amp
    Pick-ups are under the bridge feet.
    Set screw behind neck enables disassembly for travel
    Original "Carruthers" gig bag included.
    Will include a hard-shell electric bass case - to check the Carruthers as luggage

    Lots of sustain
    Quality sound, both pizz and arco (no bow included)

    Several nicks on body and scratches on one pickup - visible in photos, non-issues when playing
    A school name is etched behind the peg box, but the school does not claim or recognize the instrument.

    Most recently, this bass earned me a day's pay outdoors in Culver City, CA, on September 9. Previously, it enabled me to accept a jazz cruise gig to Tahiti.
    (No promises it will take you to Tahiti if you buy it...)

    Climate change means higher and higher temps on outdoor gigs. Why put your pricey acoustic bass in harm's way in hot weather? The Carruthers plays like a skinny upright, and it doesn't mind the heat.

    IMG-0644.JPG IMG-0645.JPG IMG-0647.JPG IMG-0646.JPG IMG-0641.JPG IMG_0634.jpg
    Arnold likes this.
  2. Frank L

    Frank L

    Sep 27, 2018
    Hi, assume this has to be plugged in to be heard? Does it have a preamp to allow us to with headphones? Do you have any flexibility on price?
    Frank L
  3. Frank,
    (1) It can be played without an amp, but it is only a little louder than an unplugged electric bass.
    (2) Yes, it does have an "inboard" pre-amp, nestled inside the back of the bass.
    (3) This is not an emergency sale on my part, so I'm not inclined to sell it on the cheap.
    Do you have an amount in mind?
  4. Frank L

    Frank L

    Sep 27, 2018
    Hi Richard. I am located near Boston, so part of the picture would need to be getting the bass east, perhaps via someone one or the other of us knows. I'm a new bass player, but serious about learning and playing out. Most interested in old time and Cajun. So I want to get a quality instrument but I work in the nonprofit sector and money is tight. I was hoping to pay around $550 but could stretch for the right instrument. Let me know what you think. Frank

  5. Frank,

    Have you looked at the upright bass listings on Craigslist, in Boston?

    boston musical instruments "upright bass" - craigslist

    Ironically, there is a Carruthers bass for sale, though it is a 5-string and has a nifty travel case.
    $2,500 seems high for one of these, but my price now suddenly feels more reasonable...

    There are a couple of alternate "skinny uprights" listed there, though I am not familiar with either one.

    One seller has an upright for rent for $500 for a year. That might be worth considering: you'd have a year to see whether you'd want to continue, without sinking a ton of money into something that might not work for you.

    As to shipping this bass to you: when I travel with it, I put it into a case that was originally made for a Fender-type electric bass. I would, of course, insure the shipment.

    Without trying to sound like a used=car salesman: this little Carruthers might be just the ticket. It is small enough to keep out of harm's way, yet with its little belly-pusher accessory, it gives the player the feeling of playing the conventional upright. Two Sundays ago, I played it outdoors on a four-hour gig with a very demanding singer. She had no complaints, and the bass delivered the goods without fail.

    If there is a music store or bass shop around Boston, you might want to try your hand at playing an upright or two. And if the owner of that 5-string Carruthers isn't too far away, playing that one next would give you something to compare the upright with.

    Finally, I sympathize with the burdens of financial limitations: I, too, am involved in a nonprofit. It's called JazzAmerica, and for 24 years now we have been offering tuition-free jazz instruction to youngsters. We stop teaching from September through December because the students are busy with school and marching band, so these are lean months income-wise for us teachers. I do try to make a living playing the bass, and lately the work in that realm has been rather sparse as well. We keep practicing, however, because when the phone does ring, we want to accept a job offer with confidence.

    If you give me your zipcode, I can have a local shipper calculate the cost of shipping. But I strongly urge you to get some hands-on plucking, if only for a few minutes, on both the 3/4 bass and a skinny upright, to see which one feels more compatible. Then maybe we can arrive at an agreeable amount.

    Be well,
  6. Richard's price is very reasonable.
    I own a Carruthers too and paid over $2000 about 20 years ago.

    Frank: for old time and cajun music, I'd look at getting an acoustic DB.
    Like Richard suggested, look in the craiglist and you can also check antique shops, you never know...

    Richard, did you try a Bass Max pickup in the bridge?
    That's what I use instead of the stock pickup system.
    I use a sax reed for shimming.

    Good luck with the sale!
  7. Frank L

    Frank L

    Sep 27, 2018
    Hi Richard (and Francois),

    Thanks for the responses. Richard, my zip code is 01451. I've been playing a number of basses, and I definitely find I'm most enjoying playing EUBs. I live in an apartment, up three flights of narrow stairs, so a traditional acoustic bass is probably not a practical option for me. I've considered an fretless electric bass guitar, but think the EUB is more what I need. Let's see what the shipping looks like.

  8. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Hmmm, three flights of narrow stairs is enough to discourage all but the most dedicated DB players. I've done that kind of thing getting to a gig with my DB, once (and I'm an old guy with some mobility issues). Probably will never do that again.

    They aren't for everyone, but for that kind of stair climbing exercise you might consider a fretless ubass. I've gotten one as a backup bass because they are so light and portable, and they do make an effort to duplicate upright tone (albeit the success of that mostly depends on the amp). But they do sound good in their own right, and it is possible to adapt a slap/pizz technique to them if that is your interest (at least I've been able to adapt mine). Probably no arco with an unmodified ubass though.

    That said, a very top of the line new ubass would probably be in the same price range as Richard is asking for his Carruthers. Given a choice between the two, I'd personally definitely want to get Richard's Carruthers.

    Keep in mind, the amp will have to go up and down the stairs too.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  9. Gentlemen,
    Thanks for the conversation.
    True, you could opt for a conventional electric bass, though I personally "lean towards" uprights - physically and aesthetically. That's another debate the country doesn't need at the moment.
    Regarding an amp: I recommend a lightweight combo, such as an old Genz-Benz, which you can carry in one hand and the Carruthers in the other. You'll be able to glide in one trip up and down those apartment stairs.
    I haven't tried a Bass Max on this bass, though it was pretty bottom-heavy on my 3/4.
    An Underwood sounds decent on the Carruthers. In any event, the next owner will receive the original (flat) bridge and a modified Upright bridge with wings shimmed to an Underwood's space requirements.
    Frank: if you send me your zipcode, I can estimate shipping.
    dhergert likes this.
  10. Frank L

    Frank L

    Sep 27, 2018
    Hi Richard,

    My work, which is probably where I'd want it delivered is at 01460.

    I like the idea of gliding with bass and amp. I'm thinking to find an amp that will fit in a ski boot bag so I can wear it on my back while gliding up with the bass.

  11. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
  12. A little Haiku for the first of October:

    Didn't mean to be Snide
    by saying Glide -
    but Don's mini amp links are a helpful Guide.

    Shipping estimate, by a very rough reckoning (without actually measuring or weighing yet): $76
    dhergert likes this.
  13. What is the string length on this bass?
  14. 41 3/8" string length.

    Also: the end of the cover closest to the endpin tip is frayed. This does not affect carrying the instrument in the cover - or the playing of the instrument. It'll just need a needle and thread or a patch some day.
  15. Frank L

    Frank L

    Sep 27, 2018
    Hi Richard, to my surprise, I found a quality EUB locally, with an amp thrown in (though not one I'll want to carry around). It's a Zeta educator, also 3/4 bass length. So I think I'm all set for now. But your EUB sounds like something really special. Hope you find it a great home soon, and thanks to all for the advice. Frank
  16. Frank, Congrats on finding a bass and amp! Welcome to the life of bottom-feeder adventures.
    Now, with the money you just saved, find yourself a deal on two books: F. Simandl's New Method for Double Bass, and the Ray Brown Bass Method. Simandl gives you basic fingerings and left-hand positions, and Ray the Sensei gives you swinging, practical applications. (Is it an accident that Simandl introduces fingerings for the keys of F and Bb on p. 10, and Mr. Brown gives you hip bass lines for The Blues in those same keys on p. 100?)
    Whatever method you choose, be sure to be kind to your hands and mindful of good intonation.
    And look for a decent bow, a useful tool in all sizes of violin practicing - even if in performance you seldom hear that little bow peep...
  17. John Chambliss

    John Chambliss Supporting Member

    Nov 11, 2005
    Memphis, TN
    Still available?
  18. Yes
  19. Bar Star

    Bar Star

    Nov 4, 2018
    Will (try to!) PM.
  20. To All TalkBass Brethren (and Sisterern):
    Several of you have been thorough and deliberate over the past several weeks in asking question about this bass. I have endeavored to provide truthful and detailed answers. In the meantime, thinking I'd like to move up to an EUB with more "modern" characteristics, I have had an opportunity to try an NS Design and a Warwick Rock Lite. As a result of all the re-examination and research, I have come to see the Carruthers in a more favorable light and decided not to sell it at this time.
    Koog, HateyMcAmp and dhergert like this.