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Made in U.S.A.

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by farmerdude, Feb 7, 2002.

  1. I think it would be interesting to create a list of American bass builders past and present. Exclude any pre-fabs. Make note if they build their own hardware. Production of at least one bass per year.
  2. Rodier Brothers

    Nationality: Russian?
    Located Near Kansas City
    1930s - 1950s
    Built: Cellos and Basses
    The basses I've seen have been 7/8s with 43"+ string stop, hybrid and fully carved flatback models

    Point of interest. They received some kind of government supplement (military labor I believe) to cheapen their cost of production. I think this was to increase production during war times.
  3. Rodier Brother operated in Kansas City at 3201 E. 27th Street from from 1910 to 1954. The three brothers (Joseph, Albert, & Anthony) were of French extraction. They produced violins, violas, cellos, basses and inlaid acoustic guitars. They were reported to have produced over 3,000 instruments.

    There were three grades of basses produced. The 100 series instruments were school grade instruments. They had carved top, but the flat back was laminated. Unlike the better basses, they used a shaded lacquer finish colored with analine dye. The finish on most of these has faded to shade of dirty yellow. The 200 series instruments had carved back made of unfigured maple. The 300 series intruments were carved from highly figured maple. At the time of original sale, the 100 series intruments sold for about $100. The 200 and 300 series instruments sold in the $200 and $300 range respectfully. I was fortunate to be able to acquire a 350 series instrument several years ago, and it is a wonderful instrument to play. Most of the basses we see today are 7/8 size, but Rodiers did produce both a 1/2 and 3/4 size instruments. I have the original Rodier patterns and moulds for these instruments in my shop.

    To my knowledge, the only government money the Rodiers received was in the form of tuition for students to the violin school that they operated in the 1940-1950's. Many of the old timer violin makers and repairmen in the mid-west were trained in the Rodier School.
  4. Thats the stuff I'm looking for.

    Looks like TB just added another great player. Welcome Bob.
  5. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Whoa! Way to provide info Bob! I see you are a pro-player, but are you a luthier too? You mention your shop.
  6. I'm afraid I will have to plead guilty on that one too!

    I had a full service violin shop back in the 70's & 80's, but for the last decade or so it's been in my basement. I do mostly bass repair now, but I do have a big NorthStar carver that I can use to rough out bass tops and backs - when I can afford the wood!
  7. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Well, welcome. I am sure you will find TB a great place to hang!
  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Off the top of my head, Mr. Bollbach, Schnitzer (sp?), I've heard tell of someone around the Minneapolis area that you might investigate -- I can't remember his name, but I recall his basses starting in the 30K-40K range in price, and it also seems to me that there is a guy in the Pacific NW somewhere making basses, again no name in my melon...
  9. USA bass maker Hammond Ashley

    Until his death in 1993, Hammond Ashley (founder of Hammond Ashley Associates of Seattle Washington) was an active maker of basses in the United States. In addition to making his unique design of basses, he also was an active participant in the Catgut Acoustical Society and made at least one complete set of the New Violin Family Octet of instuments pioneered by Carleen Hutchins. I believe that the "big" 4/4 bass of one of the Octets in owned and played by a Seattle symphony player. Most (if not all) of his basses were finished in a totally clear varnish. The clear varnish showcased the beautiful big leaf maple that he frequently used in his instruments. For many years, Hammond Ashley was the only source of domestic tonewood for bass makers in the United States. Even today, the company bearing his name supplies instrument makers with top quality air dried North American maple and spruce.

    How about some giving some details about Samuel Kolstein and son (Barrie) instruments in New York?
  10. Off the top of my head...

    past: Prescott

    present: Jeff Bollbach, Daniel Hatchez, Albert Jackstadt, Barrie Kolstein, Arnold Schnitzer, Andy Stetson, Thomas Martin (lives in England but is American), Romano Solano
  11. I realize that the original post just asked for a list of bass makers in the USA, but it seems to me that it would be of far greater interest if we were to have some quantitative information about each of the makers. Information like the total number of basses made or the number of years that the maker was or has been making basses if the actual number of basses is unknown. There have been quite a few violin makers who have made just one or two basses. I wonder how many U.S. makers have produced 20 or more double basses in their lifetime?
  12. One of my stand partners is now gluing the ribs of his sixth or seventh bass. They are all five string basses, this one will have a lower fifth string with an extension. Barrie had to have a special string made for it.

  13. I own a Rodier bass, but am not sure what model type it is. It is fully carved and and has a spruce top and birdseye maple for the rest of the body. Strangely though, it is a 5/8 size bass. If anyone could tell me more history about the brathers and my bass, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

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