Mark O'Connor, Frank Vignola and Jon Burr gave a clinic in Portland, Maine this weekend. Jon is a nice guy and a great player. He also was very articulate about his approach to improvising solos -- he was really able to bring his ideas across to the crowd, mostly fiddlers of widely-varying degrees of experience. Jon teaches at Mark O'Connor's fiddle-camps and I bet his students are lucky. And talk about a resume -- Chet Baker, Roland Hanna, Stefan (sp?) Grapelli and now the King of the Strings too. Jon was playing an unusual bass made by Lisa Main (sp?) from the northwest. It was a small gamba shape with f-holes that had a traditional bottom and faded into something resembling a Rickenbacker cat-eye on top. The neck was real beefy although the board was on the thinner side. The back was carved, but not real deep. The neck-block was BIG -- there was about 3/4" of flat "shelf" next to the heel on each side. It made me wonder whether the neck was attached with a dovetail or mortise & tenon with hardware. Jon had just gotten a C-extension last week, and he was having fun making the windows rattle. The bass was strung with gut G & D, round-wound (probably gut) A and Spiro Orch extension-C. Lotta volume and lotta bottom from a small package. O'Connor's new record (on Columbia) is with this trio, joined by Wynton Marsalis and Jane Monheit. Maybe some swingin' string fan will post a review here.