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Please, help ID + 3-string, good for jazz?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Jazzint, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Jazzint


    Jan 20, 2007
  2. probably not a great beginner jazz bass as it is, unless you play in fifths. if you get it converted to a four string, (used to be a common thing to do a few hundred years ago) it would probably hold up to at least a regular plywood bass's sound just based on its age and the fact that the setup looks like someone looked at it recently.
  3. Jazzint


    Jan 20, 2007
    Thanks, bainpent
  4. uprightben


    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    You could tune it in fourths and play it as a three string, you would just be sacrificing range across the strings, forcing you to shift more. Tony Levin, the prog rock electric player plays a three string electric, he finds four strings unnecessary. I'm surprised that an old bass in good condition could be had for 300 euros, are there a lot of cornerless basses still sporting three strings around in Spain?
  5. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    get it checked out by a luthier. If it's clean and you're interested in buying it, I say why not. But then again, I'm a sucker for weird basses.

    There are a few things to keep in mind though. If it gets a clean bill of health from a luthier, it's going to probably need some set up work if you want to change it to steel strings, and if you want to switch it to a four string it looks like it might need a new neck (this one is pretty thin in width).

    ID? well, it could be anything, but from what I understand cornerless basses seem to come from the Iberian peninsula (spain, Portugal). You might want to put this up at ken smith's forum. he's got a cornerless bass that the had Arnold Schnitzer restore and make a copy of (with a few modifications) so he's got some good knowledge.

    Best of luck, let us know how it turns out!!

  6. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    It's a Spanish bass and it is likely from the 1850's. These basses can sound GREAT. Similar to Italian basses. At that price if it were in the US I would buy it and spend a couple of grand comverting it to 4 string. It really should be converted. See if you can get more detailed pics. I'm familiar with this type of bass and if it was a healthy 4 stringer it could easily be worth in excess of 10k. Check out the size and string length. Some of these basses were small and only suited for solo work. A healthy Spanish bass of this ilk can be a great sounding bass---Italian sound at a fraction of the price. As I said--if it was relatively healthy and not small----I'd snatch it up. Also--try to see if it has a neck block---not a deal breaker, but if you have to re-neck it , it would be an additional expense.
  7. Jazzint


    Jan 20, 2007
    I don't really know about the abundance of cornerless basses in Spain. I guess there aren't many around, but you can find old treasures sleeping in vaults, forgotten (as in everywhere) Just think of all the things "under your control" that neither your family nor anybody else know, and that would be left unattended or lost, hidden, pending, etc... if you died suddenly.

    In the end I didn't bid for the bass, though I've been watching the final minutes of the auction.
    30 secs from the end it went from €450 to €2020 (I wasn't ready to top that):
    I didn't get to know about its dimensions, string length or about its neck block.
    I asked the owner for a soundclip or a youtube video, but he was unable to provide one.
    Neither did he answer to my questioning if the top was solid. Dunno if in the 1850 there was plywood, or at least if it was used in luthiery (wiki says the Egyptians invented it millennia ago).
    To my knowledge, this kind of double bass is used in traditional Catalan music "sardana"; usually in 2/4 time, not complicated rhytmically; not my cup of tea; see:
    "COM A CASA" -Sardana- Cobla Reus Jove - YouTube
    "QUELCOM DEL CONTRABAIX" - SARDANA - Cobla Súria - YouTube
    "EL LLUM I LA LLUM" -Sardana- Cobla La Principal d'Olot - YouTube

    Not so traditional, fused with jazz (real interesting, under master Lluis Vidal):
    Lluís Vidal trio & Cobla Sant Jordi - YouTube

    It may probably also be used in other styles, dunno.
    You can also find 4-stringers in "sardana".

    Well, maybe next time...

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