Contrabass Balalaika

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bholder, Jun 10, 2021 at 7:04 AM.


  1. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
  2. Lizooki

    Lizooki

    Feb 24, 2008
    I'd play it!
     
  3. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Just as an example of the volume needed for an ABG to get loud. :D
     
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  5. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Isn't there supposed to be an endpin mount on the right lower point?
     
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  6. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Yes, that's how I've seen it played. Not finding a good example video, my google-fu is weak today.
     
  7. Gsnorgathon

    Gsnorgathon

    Jan 15, 2020
    It'll never fly. Needs some canards up by the headstock.
     
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  8. StephenR

    StephenR

    May 21, 2009
    SF Bay Area
    Jack Casady has a bass balalaika that he bought in the 60s. His is not the contrabass model but still huge. He brought it out to Jorma's Fur Peace Ranch early last year and played it during one of Jorma's Quarantine Concert Series streams. It is a gorgeous sounding instrument, rich acoustic sound. Here is a youtube link, he talks about getting the instrument and the modifications Rick made to it. Then they play "Third Week in the Chelsea", Jack played his balalaika on the studio recording.


    Here is an excerpt from an interview with Jack where he talks about his balalaika.

    FlyGuitars Are there basses that you have liked over the years, and hung on to?

    Jack Casady I would say that my most favourite instrument to pick up and hit one open A note off is a bass balalaika that I have. Rick Turner transformed it in to a four string bass from a three string bass. There's a contrabass and a bass, I have the bass balalaika and I got it in Paulo Alto in 1967, from a gentleman named Dante Perfumo. He was an Italian musician who just collected all kinds of instruments. I went down and visited him and I remember he had almost like a chicken coup garage out the back and he had all these woodwind instruments from the 1800's that were tuned before they went standard 444.

    The bass is a big triangle and at the bottom is probably 40 some inches. It looks like you're playing a giant flat iron.

    FlyGuitars Did you ever use it in the studio?

    Jack Casady I recorded a number of songs with it with The Jefferson Airplane. I recorded 3rd week at the Chelsea on it and I even did a whole album with Canadian guys called The Good Brothers and it just has one of the most beautiful acoustic sounds. It was EAD and then I had Rick Turner narrow the nut a little bit and add on a different metal bridge so that I could convert it. It's still gorgeous to this day. I could walk over and hit that instrument, and the neck is like a tree trunk (laughs). The thickest part of the neck I think is about two inches deep.
     
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  9. Easy to fix, I think!
     
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Photo used on the front cover of Led Zeppelin III

    704af9de7a8068e17bfc5dba4bba7c84.jpg
     
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  11. GretschWretch

    GretschWretch Supporting Member

    Dec 27, 2013
    East Central Alabama
    Not with frets. Fretless, yeah; but with frets, move the bridge and there goes the intonation.

    My previous post was from the perspective that I have noticed the more body there is behind the bridge, the more bass in the harmonic mix.
     
    B-Mac likes this.
  12. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Considering that the amplification comes largely from the vibrations of the top would it be beneficial to have the bridge placed near the center as it appears in the OP? In relation to the body as a hole it looks very similar to where the bridge is on an upright bass or other classical stringed instrument. That is to say in the neighborhood of half of the way between the bottom of the tailpiece and the neck joint.
     

  13. To my eye the bridge looks too close to the soundhole as it is, though I admit it's not easy to judge. So I would put money (not much, but some) on the intonation being out of whack in it's current setup.
     
  14. Never get tired of posting this one:

     
  15. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Anyone else suddenly want samosas?
     
  16. Hahaha

    Hahaha

    Sep 26, 2003
    Olympia, WA USA
    I would hate to drop my only pick through that sound hole.
     
  17. David76112

    David76112

    Feb 19, 2012
    America
    Wonder how much it weighs?
     
  18. Jon Lars

    Jon Lars

    Mar 16, 2011
    Here you go:

     
  19. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    That’s badass!
     
  20. ficelles

    ficelles

    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    This is how to play a contrabass balalaika:

    9B77B760-42D0-4655-9D3E-A975F62D0DB6.jpeg
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jun 16, 2021

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