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Going for a new bass: Thoughts on Tom Martin?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Calvin Marks, Apr 28, 2019.

  1. Calvin Marks

    Calvin Marks Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2017
    Hi all, I was recently alerted that I should not have posted this in the luthiers forum (my bad).

    I'm a small-ish guy (5'6") and used to play pro for a few orchestras in N. America. My playing is now mainly solo/chamber music for fun and I'm looking for a new double bass. The options in Canada seem somewhat limited for what I'm after (string length 40-41" with good access to the upper register) so I'm looking abroad.

    Does anyone have any experience with Tom Martin instruments? Their price seems quite a bit lower (~13.5k GBP) than a lot of other makers out there, but how is the quality? I'm specifically looking at the Martin Solo Model.

  2. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    I used to have one of those. A few are really, really good, many are not great IMO. The full size ones are maybe more consistant. There is one of the solo I would pay 30k for today in a heartbeat if it was for sale.
    I personally would opt for Chartons solo model Camerata. €20k including vat, ca £17k. I know he can make that with 40.5”
    I have the large montagnana which is the same bass, but with corners and a different scroll and costs 8k more. It is very easy to play up high, but the little model is even easier, and still a nice bass for orchestra.
    He has a violin corner version at his shop in Paris to try.

    You may want to have a look at Penning. Same prices as Martin +-. Best would be if you could try all three. European vacation?
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
    Phil Rowan and Eric Hochberg like this.
  3. Calvin Marks

    Calvin Marks Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2017
    Thanks very much. Ideally I would like to keep the cost at a maximum 30k CAD including shipping in a freight (which is generally very expensive - 1k). I would happily travel around the world for a nice vacation to meet a great maker. I also hear wonderful things about Nick Lloyd but it's out of my budget and I don't need a bass of that caliber any longer.
  4. doghousebob

    doghousebob Supporting Member

    Mar 7, 2008
    Hey Piggywiddle,
    Check your PMs.
  5. wathaet


    May 27, 2007
    Go try a Martin. For one, their varnish is remarkably much nicer recently. They are really good value with the pound so low. If you fly in and pick it up, it is not very expensive and you should be able to get a VAT refund with proof of export. That goes for both Martin and Charton. VAT is significant
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2019
  6. Calvin Marks

    Calvin Marks Supporting Member

    Oct 22, 2017
    Thanks, all. Seems like a Martin is for me. They seem like very nice guys. Cheers all.
  7. Frits


    Sep 21, 2007
    Belgium (Europe)
    You won't regret your decision. I have their 3/4 model and I like it a lot, as in 15-piece classical ensemble as in jazz combos. Plus it's the classic 'English' (Panormo, Kennedy,...) design and look that is very appealing as well.
  8. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Ask the moderators to combine the threads over here.


    Jan 18, 2011
    Re. your comment on Nick Lloyd... There is a real nice smallish Nick Lloyd at David Gage in NYC. It is slightly over your listed budget but might be worth checking out.
    Phil Rowan likes this.
  10. 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.

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