More Lore From The New Standard Bass Shop: That Good? Buy One And Get "Famous"!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by macmrkt, Feb 16, 2005.

  1. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    Like many other bassists, I discovered the New Standard basses and then Arnold Schnitzer's work from The on-line commnents have been so strong, that I decided to take a chance on one sight unseen. I got more than I bargained for.

    I ordered what Arnold and Wil at New Standard call the Schnitzer & DeSola (S&D) model - it's a fully carved, custom 7/8, kind of like a "supersized" La Scala. I got it a week ago and had an opportunity to play it acoustically in my practice room and in comparison with my Wilfer No.12 carved 3/4. With both basses having just about the same strings and the same string heights, the S&D is tonally much clearer and even in all positions. It's like hearing Pavoratti with and without a chest cold. The S&D is at a big disadvantage in this first comparison - its Corelli strings are new and if you know Corelli's, they are thin and edgy sounding for hours until they settle down. Yet the S&D sounds and plays better than any bass I've yet tried.

    Today, I had the chance to use the S&D with a pickup and amp with my jazz trio. We rehearse and record at a studio we put together at the pianist's house. I thought the bass sounded amazing. "That sound that's in my head", that I used to have to work to get out, came out effortlessly. I has a rich, dark and lush sound that blooms into the room. And the sustain! I never realized how important the decay of the note was until I heard it done on the S&D. It's really wonderful. I wasn't the only one impressed, the band was equally happy. The upgrade from what they were used to (including a Pollmann) and the S&D made for a great rehearsal...the band really went nuts over it. The pianist didn't want to stop the rehearsal and go to his day job, something he never says; little did he know what would happen next.

    As I was leaving for my car, I noticed the drummer speaking with someone out front. It turns out he was the director of a Latin American TV show called "Lo dejo en tus manos" that runs on Telemundo, one of the biggest Spanish speaking TV networks ( They were shooting an episode three houses down the street, heard the band and really liked it. They wanted us to be on the show - today! The program is one of those reality shows where they fix up part of a house and then surprise the homeowner. The director wanted to do an insert where they cut to the band (us) that they heard down the street and ask us to play louder so the fix-up crew can work better. Sure, it was a little goofy and staged, but it was a lot of fun to do. We signed our releases and did the shoot. They shot several minutes of us playing. While we normally play a lot of Wayne Shorter, Horace Silver and other material from that era, we had to play purely improvisational as there wasn't money to get the releases to copyrighted material. So we ended up playing 'free'. I hope they run all of it! We were told the episode airs March 27th on Telemundo - I assume worldwide.

    Now that's some double bass!
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    That's fantastic, what a great story.

    Just goes to show you...when you have a New Standard, there are just plain great days, and then sometimes there are even better days. :smug:
  3. lownotes02


    Jan 19, 2005
    Melbourne, Fl
    The more I hear about these things, the more I want one....
    Hell, Id settle for great tone, playability, and something that wont implode in a year!

    Anything after that is a bonus!
  4. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    Thanks Marcus - from someone that lives in Maui, that's a compliment!
  5. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    Can we have pics of your new bass please:)

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Yes for goodness sake! I was under the impression that posting about a new bass without pics is against TB law.
  7. I think it played that bass once at Arnold's. Is it the one on the AES website labeled S&D?
  8. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    Yes...but mine was finished after that photo was taken, so I'm not sure which one is in that photo. When I ordered it a few months back, I heard there they had two, one "antiqued" and one in the "white" which eventually became mine. The bass is in the studio...I'll bring a camera to the next rehearsal.
  9. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    After getting threatened by Wil, (meaning he'll delay my order!), here are at long last, the photos of my S&D bass.
  10. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Good lord!!! Scuse me while I run off to the bathroom!!!
  12. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Sweet! I don't think I've seen another NS with dots yet. I was under the impression it was looked down upon or something in the DB world. (no malice intended of course mac!)
  13. Mac and TBeers,
    Beautiful, just beautiful. Handle with care lads :D .
  14. Mac, what are the dots made of? Are they inlaid to the ebony? Did you have markers on your previous bass?

    Just curious: you're obviously an experienced player and I wondered what factors made you order a new bass with markers. Again, no criticism implied.
  15. If I would ever be talked into buying a bass without seeing or playing, it would be one from these guys!
    I gotta ask though...what good do the dots do on the side of the FB?
  16. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    Dots, dots, dots! Dot is de qvestion! I avoided DB, even though my heart, hands and head were fully jazz and URB for 27 years. I actually learned bass guitar from a violinist who took me through the Simandl book using DB positions and fingerings! Everytime I tried a DB, it was a badly setup instrument, and I went back to my slabs. I clearly knew nothing of pickups, proper setups, or good basses, regardless of cost. And maybe biggest of all, I thought I'd never get past the intonation conversion. Boy, did I stink up the place any time I picked up a DB. Yuk!

    Finally, 3 years ago, by weaning (or is it weenie!) myself up through the new generation of EUB's, did I take the leap to DB. The funny thing was, it was a CINCH! All those years hiding behind slabs was for nought!

    With all those years on a 34" scale, I feel like I need the help. With Steve Azola's assistance, I got my first DB, nicely setup. Steve drilled in the NS EUB dot pattern I had found helpful to getting me to a 41"+ scale. With my second DB a Wilfer, I had Lemur do the same. Then, after trying an Eminence EUB, which has much less side/top markers, did I realize that I had too many dots.

    If I was starting from scratch, I might have used Todd Phillips system as shown in his instructional DVD's - of setting temporary pencil dots for learning. But at this point, the music matters most, and I'll live with the dots, no prob.

    The S&D bass has my new requirement of dots, based on the Eminence pattern, as will any new basses coming my way in the future. It took a bit of arm twisting to get them Arnold and Wil to add dots for me, but happily, they agreed. I'm not sure if I'll cut down the dots again - I'm content with this arrangement. I don't know if I need the side dots at all either, because I seem to look at the fingerboard if at anything. But for now, I have them.

    Regarding materials, only my Wilfer had 'mother of pearl' dots, the rest are small plastic. I think Arnold wrote somewhere that you should use soft, easy to remove dots if you are having them at all.

    Funny postscript to my dots story: I've been happily surprised by the comments of Gary Karr and Edgar Meyer regarding traditional techniques. In Karr's instructional DVD, he says that all DB players should adobt slab fingering as it's more efficient! And Edgar Meyer has 3 dots in thumb position to help with intonation. So go figure...
  17. Thanks for the detailed reply, mac.

    I've come from 30 years of slab myself (sounds like a judge pronouncing sentence!) and find the scale length adjustment the hardest thing, especially with the lower notes. Dots would no doubt help at this stage (a year on DB). Once I get up towards the heel my intonation is much better, maybe because the spacings are more like a bass guitar's. I don't know if I'd have the nerve to take a drill to my DB, though... :eek:

    Regarding the difference in fingering, I've never quite understood why I'm not supposed to use my third finger. I've got a lot of strength in my pinkie from playing BG, and I don't need to double it up with my third finger for more power, as some people suggest. And my third finger has plenty power too for the same reason, so it seems a waste not to be able to use it and finger everything 1,2 and 4 instead. Is that what Karr and Meyer are saying?
  18. larry

    larry Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2004
    Does he mean one finger per note, where you would use the ring finger? For example on the g string you have your index finger on A, middle on Bb, ring on B, pinky on C?

    If so, I don't see how that's even possible. I'm 6'-5", and I can't stretch that far on only a 41" string length (and be in tune, anyway). I was taught that using your ring finger is fine in thumb pos. or even slightly below, but not all the way down.

    I need to see that DVD.
  19. macmrkt

    macmrkt Banned

    Dec 4, 2002
    That's what Karr said in the DVD, just about exactly. He actually said that DB players should look at what slab players do and copy it! I almost fell off my chair. Kind on mind-blowing to me, coming from what I gather is the fourth and current torch holder in the lineage of the greatest. Who would've thunk it? But once again, I'm probably showing my lack of knowledge as this is in all likelyhood less of a shock to those more learned DBer's who have discovered non-traditional techniques from Rabbath, among others, who also do not follow the 19th century Simandl method. Maybe one of those experts will chime in and straighten me out...

    As I found out, and as Karr shows, there's a bit of thumb pivoting involved, but it rapidly becomes second nature.
  20. I know this has been covered ad nauseum in another thread, but you don't need dots. I also think that for the vast majority of us, using third finger in lower positions is not advisable. I'm not nor will I ever be Gary Karr or Edgar Meyer, I'm just speaking from my own experience and what I feel is the most pragmatic, sensible approach for most of us.

    Dots: Visual stimuli are a distraction while playing. It takes the focus away from listening. By looking at the fingerboard, dots or no, you are craning your neck in an awkward way and causing everything to go out of alignment in your body. The neck of the bass should be right next to your head so that your left wrist can remain as unbent as possible. Having the neck too far away forces you to bend your wrist. There are tactile landmaks on the bass (half positon, the heel, the octave harmonic) that you can use to get your bearings. Development of a consistent left hand shape and finger spacing, envisioning imaginary reference points when shifting, and most of all using your ear will take care of the rest. I understand some people are visual learners to a greater degree than others. I do recommend the use of a full length mirror for practicing.

    Third finger: Maybe for certain passages, in the position where third finger would be on E on the G string, but no lower. Or if you have extremely large hands. As larry said, you just can't strectch that far and be comfortable. Again the goal is to develop a consistent left hand, where the spacing between the fingers remains constant across the strings, and contracts sightly as you go into the higher positions. Keeping the hand relaxed is a big part of it. If you are straining to reach too large a span, it won't be relaxed. And if you are switching back and forth between a 3 and 4-finger method it will be harder to develop and maintain consistency. Also, don't worry about your 3rd finger going to waste. You can use it plenty in thumb position.

    That's my 2cent. Take it or leave it.