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NBD: Another road trip to Upton Bass. Food, fun and a New Standard La Scala

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by tb-player, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. tb-player

    tb-player Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    Many of you followed the drama when I bought my last bass. If you're unfamiliar, here's the CliffsNotes: I bought a beautiful bass from Upton Bass in Mystic, CT. I drove to Connecticut to pick it up. When I got it home, I noticed some problems with the finish on the bass, as well as a couple of other issues I wish I had caught when I was still in their shop. I began working with Upton to find a suitable compromise, since I was not happy with the bass. Upton took full responsibility for the entire thing, and promised to make it right. The situation was resolved with an agreement that Upton would build me a new bass. It would be completed sometime in June, after their next build cycle.

    So we're good, right? Not quite. Last week, I was scrolling through Instagram when I saw Upton Bass posted about a new pre-owned listing. It was a bass I've heard a lot about and had been very interested in: a German-made, Wil DeSola/Arnold Schnitzer assembled/finished New Standard La Scala. With a brand new setup, the bass looked to be in great shape. Of course, I immediately contacted Upton and we worked out a very agreeable deal. I even offered to make the drive in exchange for an additional discount. So... another road trip!

    I got up early Friday morning and hit the road. Traffic was good and I arrived there in the afternoon. It gave me a chance to stop & grab a delicious, home-made New England Seafood Bisque for lunch & drive around town to see the sights.

    It was an overcast day, but the water views were nice.
    Mystic view.JPG

    I went downtown. It was a bustling area that included the setting of the 1988 Julia Roberts movie, "Mystic Pizza." I was advised by a local, "Take a photo of the restaurant, but don't eat there." :laugh:
    Mystic Pizza.jpg

    Finally I made it to Upton Bass. It's in the middle of nowhere, but it feels like a special place.
    Upton Exterior.jpg

    Inside, I enjoyed the sights and sounds of basses being made. These guys do everything by hand. It's pretty impressive.
    Upton working.JPG

    The third floor showroom is the best. Some amazing basses up there.
    Upton Showroom.JPG

    I even got a chance to play the @arnoldschnitzer Ergonomic Contrabass. It's a really fun asymmetrical bass with small sound holes designed to make it easier to hear yourself in an orchestral setting. If only I had remembered to bring an extra 16-grand...
    Upton Ergo.JPG

    I was so happy to see/play my New Standard La Scala. It was beautiful. I was surprised at how good it sounded. With the first note, I said, "Whoa!" Very loud and articulate. Needless to say, I'm sufficiently impressed. I had it strung with Spirocores on the E & A and Evah Pirazzis on the D & G. The setup is perfect for pizz & arco. I was so busy playing & talking, I only got this one photo of the bass while in the shop.
    Upton New Standard.JPG

    All in all, Upton took good care of me. I came out of this situation better than I started. I appreciate the way they stepped up to make it right. Here's a shot of the barn as I was leaving. The first floor is where they cut the wood. The middle floor is where the basses are built. The top floor is the showroom. If you ever get a chance to go there, do it. The town is great and Upton is a really neat shop.
    Upton Dusk.jpg

    And yes, there was more lobster in my future that night...
    Lobster Roll.jpg

    Saturday, I wanted to get home, so I didn't go into Philly this time. Instead, I found a surprisingly great South Jersey cheesesteak. It was from Chick's Deli in Cherry Hill, NJ. No joke, it was as good as many of the sandwiches I've had in Philly.
    Chicks 2.JPG

    One last stop in New Jersey... Damask's Candies to pickup some chocolate covered oyster crackers and chocolate covered pretzels for the family. Best chocolate I've ever tasted. The family was appreciative!! :hyper:
    Damask 1.JPG Damask 2.JPG

    After a healthy food coma, I woke up this morning, went up to the carriage house (my music room) and spent most of the day playing my new bass. I also took a few photos.

    I really couldn't be happier. It's a beautiful instrument... just perfect for what I'm looking for. I'm thankful this situation is concluded. And I'm excited to play this bass every day.
    New Standard front.JPG New Standard frontCU.JPG New Standard Rib.JPG New Standard Scroll.JPG
    New Standard back.JPG
    New Standard Angle.JPG

    FTW!! :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  2. Love it! Have two Uptons myself. Haven't been to Mystic/Stonington in a long time though. (My avatar is a photo from their old place). Very interested in the New Standards too.

    Anyway ... love the seafood and everything too. Great part of the world.
    tb-player likes this.
  3. Krantz

    Krantz Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2009
    Thanks for sharing!
    tb-player likes this.
  4. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    "Barn" envy....
    TroyK, Sam Sherry, Joshua and 3 others like this.
  5. Awesome!

    So, is that writing below the finish on the back, lower bass side??

    Just kidding!

    Enjoy the sounds!
  6. PMF1


    May 30, 2010
    cool, enjoy :)
    tb-player likes this.
  7. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    Beautiful bass! Congratulations
    tb-player likes this.
  8. 16fuss

    16fuss Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2005
    I like your new bass, but i love food comas!
    tb-player likes this.
  9. Len S

    Len S Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2020
    Baltimore, MD
    Will be a different thread but I have a new LaScala in my hands for a week and I'm about to pull the trigger on it. They are now varnished by Wil and I think set up by Kieren O'Hara. It's absolutely the best bass I've played in the about 40 I've tried.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
  10. tb-player

    tb-player Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    Are you getting the one on O’Hara’s website? I talked to Kieran about that one. It’s beautiful.
  11. tb-player

    tb-player Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    Haha. I had the same thought when I saw it. If it is, I don’t wanna know!!! o_O
    longfinger likes this.
  12. Len S

    Len S Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2020
    Baltimore, MD
    Nope. There was one being built that was going to be at Gage. I went up there a few weeks back to try the Pamplona and really liked it but wanted to wait for the LaScala to come in. It's strung with Spiro Mediums and it actually bows well (though the D and G are a bit strident). Big puffy percussive start of the note and then a nice bloom. And quite frankly, the most playable bass I've encountered. I'll post once I give Gage my credit card authorization. Sounds like given all your issues with Upton they probably gave you a wonderful deal on what I'm sure is a spectacular bass.
    Chris Fitzgerald and tb-player like this.
  13. Swipter


    Sep 7, 2009
    I LOVE the color.
    tb-player likes this.
  14. mark286

    mark286 Proud to be a Gold Supporting Member Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 6, 2009
    Central New Jersey
    It is beautiful! I love the violin corners.
    tb-player likes this.
  15. tb-player

    tb-player Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    That was my reasoning for the Evahs on D & G. Apparently Spiros have that reputation. I was given the recommendation by a number of players.

    Yeah, Upton more than made it right. And yes, the bass is definitely spectacular. I look forward to seeing yours.
  16. tb-player

    tb-player Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    Me too!! I almost didn't post about the food. It felt unnecessary. But after the number of TBers who commented and DM'd me about the food on the last trip, I felt obligated to include the culinary portions of the journey. After all, what's a road trip without the local fare?
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
    Passinwind, 16fuss and geoffbassist like this.
  17. The only lobster rolls I've had that seemed worth it were at coast side shacks in Maine! They are best had as a "second breakfast".
  18. tb-player

    tb-player Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2019
    At 20-bucks a pop, none of them are worth it. But when in Rome...

    I was sooo close to driving up to Teds for one of those steamed burgers. But after driving 6 1/2 hours to get there, I just couldn't spend any more time in the car, and it was about an hour away.
    damonsmith likes this.
  19. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Man, they don't even cost that in NYC. In Maine I think they were like $6 and came with a side of chips and a soft drink...
    Joshua, james condino and tb-player like this.
  20. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Congrats on the new bass! As they say, all's well that ends well. Enjoy!
  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.

    May 15, 2021

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