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Paul Chambers' bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by davechamb, Apr 18, 2005.


  1. davechamb

    davechamb

    Jan 16, 2005
    London, UK
    I am a huge Paul Chambers fan and am trying to find out what bass he was using, especially on the footage with Miles/Gil Evans (I'm sure you've all seen the video!).

    If anybody has any ideas, I'd love to hear them.
     
  2. Hey....according to your profile, you're a fan of just about everybody's bass. Good for you. While we're on the subject, please complete the rest of your profile....especially where you live. This helps us to help you.
    On PC's bas, i'm assuming you're talking about the cherub head bass.
    The best shot for now, until people start throwing in stuff, is to do a search under Paul Chambers and/or PC's bass.
    We had a thread on this not long ago, so dig back in the Bass Forum heading until you find it.
    Good Luck, welcome to TBDB, and you sound like you're turning into a real DB freak! Our kinda guy.
     
  3. I read somewhere that he played a Juzek, I can't remember where but i remember noticing it because thats what im currently playing on.
     
  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I'm sure, like most of us, PC had his hands on a variety of basses throuought his career. But the bass in question (carved cherub scroll) is decidely NOT a Juzek....
     
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I just want to make a few points clear from what I know.

    1) The head on Paul's Bass is NOT Original. He had it put on.

    2) Juzek did not make any Basses ever. They were all re-labelled Wilfers from Germany/Czech area. The Juzek brothers imported instruments and used their own label. John J. did make a few Violins himself in the beginning in Prague but were mostly sold in Europe. Robert Juzek ran the business after WWII without John's involvment but continued to use the name 'John Juzek'.

    3) All these Basses had external linings like Paul's Bass did.

    Was Pauls Basses from the same shops that made for Juzek?.. Was his 'ever' a Juzek?.. Who knows, but these Basses are all very similar in their design but differ vastly from Bass to Bass as they were not hand made/graduated individually like the Italian or English quality Basses or even the earlier handmade German instruments.
     
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    KAYBASS - sorry, couldn't resist. Was that common, having a scroll grafted on? Or did he change necks?

    There's a photo in an old DOUBLE BASSIST of Wellman Braud, taken pretty late in his life/career, who is playing a gamba cornered, light finished bass with a cherub scroll. I'm wondering if there are a lot of those "doctored" basses floating around...
     
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Where does this name 'cherub scroll' come from. It's just a ladies head from what I can tell. And who or what is 'KAYBASS - sorry, couldn't resist' in refrence to?

    Was it common to put a head on the Bass or change necks?.. Not common but it was done. Many original Basses exhist with heads on them and many that are not original.

    Richard Davis's Lionhead Bass looks original to me. Paul's doesn't look original. I played with a guy in a Symphony in NY almost 30 years ago and he had a Bass with a Ladies head.. Maybe original.. he called the Bass "The Lady". Hal Robinsons Lionhead Italian Bass is Not original. Mingus's Bass looks carved 'from' the scroll.. Etc, etc, etc........
     
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Ken Smith Basses = K bass= Kay bass which, given your penchant for high dollar instruments might be construed as humorous.

    I haven't seen any close-ups, I thought it was a cherub's face after those by Bernini (renaissance sculptor) rather than a "lady's" face.
     
  9. In the liner booklet of the Miles Davis at Newport 1958 CD, there is a photo of the band and Chambers clearly has the cherub (or lady face) bass at that point. The perspective relations in the photo suggest a telephoto lens, meaning there is little distortion of dimensions. The bass is quite large, probably 7/8, with gamba shape with somewhat gentle corners at the top of the C bouts similar to those on Ken's big mystery bass. The shoulders of the bass are barely sloped and the upper and lower bouts are very full, like the Cleveland New Standard. In fact, the shape or this bass is quite similar to the Cleveland at the shoulders also. If you have that picture available, there is also a grand piano and all the other musicians in the band for scale. Standing are Adderley, Davis, and Coltrane, just beyond Paul, who must be 2 or 3 inches taller than Adderley and Coltrane, and almost 6 or 7 inches taller than Davis. You can follow the line of the lower bouts of the bass just out of the picture and tell he has a fairly short endpin. Even at that, the nut is above Chambers' forehead. What I'm saying? This is a very large bass, definitely not your standard 3/4 by a long shot. His trademark "lady's head" could have been on many basses as Ed points out. The one in the photo is definitely one of them. It's a little fuzzy to see fine detail such as exterior linings. I did the best measure I could of the string and from that it also appears to have an E-flat neck rather than a D.
     
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Silversorcerer, can you scan those photos and post them?..My Morelli is a huge Bass as well with an Eb neck as most Basses were in the first half of the 20th century. I think even the 19th century Basses were lie that in Germany as Hornsteiners, Pfretzschner's and Wilfer's alike are all Eb necks with 43"=3/4 and 44"=7/8(or full size by some).

    My Mystery Bass however is English and clearly bigger than the German 7/8 of the 19th century. The Back of Paul's Bass can tel us alot as well. I heard here in another post that someone knows where that Bass actually is. Anyone know what I am referring to?
     
  11. I read somewhere that Richard Davis' lions head is a Hornsteiner.
    Ain't this fun? All the boys around the campfire talkin' basses!
     
  12. I guess I need to put in the obligatory plug for the CD: Great! Energetic!! A MUST HAVE for your Jazz archives. And the photo is better than in this quickie scan. There, now maybe Columbia won't sue me for (c) infringement!
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Wow....what a powerful picture!
    Lookit that front line!!! Mother ******!! :crying: :bawl: :help:
     
  14. And that's the back of Bill Evans head at the piano and Jimmy Cobb in the backround on drums.
     
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Prescottish?.. Prescott copied Hornsteiner alot. That might be the connection you are looking at. It looks typical German shop Bass to my eye.
     
  16. Is it my imagination or is that bigger than typical 3/4, Ken?
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I don't know how tall Paul was but it could easily be a 7/8 which would only be 1-2" longer than the 3/4 of the day back then.
     
  18. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    i have a dvd of some sort(well made to dvd from vhs) of miles davis in '59 and that bass looks really big, the ribs are deep. i looked for a good shot of the scroll and saw what looked like the "cherub", if i could take some screen shots from powerdvd........let me see if i can figure it out.
     
  19. Bullseye!! Except for the lady's face that one looks just like the one P.C. is playing in the '58 photo with Miles. The f-holes, shoulders, even the gentle corners on the top bout. If that's not it, it sure looks like it.

    Don't you have a pretty authentic Prescott type bass Jason? What does yours measure?
     
  20. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Pearls before swine, as usual, Ed...

    Do any of our distinguished older colleagues know who PC used for his luthiery needs back in the day? I know we always seem to get the best information straight from the horse's mouth, as with Kolstein on LaFaro and my old now-retired luthier in Massachusetts (Lenny Harlos) who seems to have had everybody's bass through his shop at some point. I know there's lots of water under the bridge, but you never know, you know?

    RE: Mr. PC's size--check out the cover on Roy Haynes' "We Three," a trio album from 1958 with PC and Phineas Newborne; now I know that Roy isn't that big of a guy, but Paul Chambers is literally head-and-shoulders taller than the two other guys.