Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by shwashwa, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    so i was just wondering what the general feeling about pollman basses is around here? the pictures of all of them that ive seen are absolutely beautiful, but i have yet to see someone actually using one. and they seem to be fairly pricey. what say ye?
  2. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    One of the bassists in the Detroit Symphony uses one. If you poke around the DSO website, you'll see it.

    I sat beside Craig Wensell when he was here in Orchestra London; I think he's in the Philly area now. He has the big 5 string model, I think it's the Emperor model. It sounded huge. When he'd pizz, it sounded like there was a little bass drum inside thumping under the sound of the note. That's the only one I've heard live.
  3. CPike


    May 28, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    I have one made by Gunter Kramer (uncle, I believe, to the guys that make Pollmanns today) from 1977 and I love it. I've played several Pollmanns over the years and generally I was underwhelmed, but mine was custom built for my teacher, Ed Rainbow (R.I.P.) - and he personally picked out the wood it was made from. It's a gem, and I've gotten comments from Pollmann non-fans who say it's the best one they've ever played.
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I played one twice in the last year that was eye candy but sounded limp.

    Safe to say you'd want to play the one you're buying even before you pony up.
  5. I can't speak for the new ones, mine is a 1960’s gamba with little decoration.

    It’s sturdy and reliable, not much affected by humidity. The neck, fingerboard and overstand are very comfortable and the workmanship is excellent. Tonally it is focused to the point of being a bit dry. It speaks better under the bow than pizz.

    It is a very good bass not great, I would prefer if the top was a bit thinner and it was a little louder, but all in all it think it’s a good instrument.
  6. Rebop


    Jul 9, 2008
    La Honda, CA
    My teacher had a pretty fancy one with the roses carved into the purfling and a lions head for a scroll. Had a lot of growl and bark under the bow, (fit her personality quite nicely) but pizz was the pits. It was definitely built with arco in mind. I remember the radius of the fingerboard being quite extreme as well (we're going back 10 years; anything is possible).
  7. 61pollmann

    61pollmann Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2005
    I also have a 60's Pollman gamba It has some really nice looking maple on the sides and back, but no fancy decorations. It's a really good, reliable workhorse which has served me well for over 30 years. It's had only two repairs in all those years, one being a new adjustable bridge. I've played some 25-30k instruments, and they don't make me want to switch. As always, every bass is unique, even from the same maker. There are enough exceptional Pollmanns out there that you may just find "your" bass.

  8. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I've played a number from different eras. A couple good, a couple not so good and two outstanding new instruments about four years ago, one of which was being shown at the '05 ISB. It had a wonderful mature sound and was beautiful, with a rosette carved into the top. The other really nice one was a busetto model that just sang.
  9. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    The tone on Patitucci's Pollman is ridiculously huge.
  10. mattgray


    Nov 16, 2007
    Cincinnati, OH
    Pöllmans are kinda hit or miss. They can either be really great instruments, or, more often than not, just not sound like what you'd expect them to sound like. I played on a '73 Pöllman last semester for the entire semester, and it sounded a bit like a cigar box.
  11. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Gunter Krahmer is the Father, not uncle, of Michael and Ralph, the current makers. The general concensus is that the current generation's instruments are superior to the previous one's. I concur with this opinion, and have been to both their shops. Their supply of wood is enough to make a grown luthier weep...
  12. My University had a Pollman. I'm not sure when it was made but I would guess no earlier than the 90's. It didn't have any of the typical cracks or scuffs you see on Uni basses.

    It was okay for a carved bass but not great. It was a very balanced sounding bass but seemed to lack any kind of real character. I will say that it was an excellent orchestra bass but not a particularly good solo instrument.
  13. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    Gunther is the father of Michael Krahmer and his brother (whose name escapes me at the moment). Michael's mother is a Pollmann, so he and his brother are the fourth generation of the extended Pollmann family to build these instruments. I am a friend and client of Michael, who lives and works in Mittenwald, about 15 miles from my home. My son owns a Pollmann Madrid model made for him in 2003; it is a cannon! Mike is just a great guy who is totally passionate about what he does.
  14. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    I think that the Pollman basses (as stated before) have gone through different stages, in terms of sound quality and instrument quality.
    In the early 70's I was in Kagan and Gaines' shop in Chicago. I was about 16. There was an ornamented Lion's head Busetto Pollman that I was drooling over. But they had a Pollman that I'd never seen before or since then. It was a new Maggini model (I think). It was distressed to look older and more of a satin finish. Very dark red. And flatback! It was BY FAR the best Pollman I've ever seen (played). It seems like they went through a more commercial period afterward where I didn't think that they sounded very good. I'm not a big fan, but every time I think that they aren't that great I play a really nice one. One thing I've been fascinated about. I might be wrong, but I think I remember a few years back seeing that they were making a copy of Petracci's Rossi. This bass is really weird. I studied with him a bit. Longest top I've ever seen. HUGE lower bout. 110cm string length. (43.3") It just didn't feel that huge--- I really think that it was the best bass I've ever played. I've always wanted a copy of that bass. Am I dreaming, or was Pollman making one? I think that Marco Nolli in Cremona makes one. Very pricey, I assume.
    Back to Pollmans---as far as new basses, for the price, I'd prefer some of the contemporary makers talked about on Talkbass.
    just looked on Pollman's site. They are indeed making a Rossi copy. Wonder if it's as big. I know Nolli's is. Check out the lines on that instrument!
  15. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    I know someone who has a busetto model. It's a nice bass with good low end and a ballsy high end (the way he has it set up anyways) but the midrange is a bit underwhelming, which makes the low end a bit undefined. I like it, but i think it's good that he's looking at upgrading as well. It's a good bass for solo stuff as he has it set up ( a bit extreme, dominants and a wingless bridge) but just missing something for orchestra.

  16. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    Wingless bridge on a Pollman----sounds like it might be too bright (and thin). I usually see them on old, dark sounding Italian and English instruments. And even then, not too often.
  17. The rather ironic trivia on that is that it was actually a factory reject, that they said had been varnished incorrectly. :smug:
  18. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    It's funny, I wouldn't describe it as huge, but it is darker and richer than most Pollmans. Being played daily by John for all these years doesn't hurt. I always find that basses that are played a lot really open up. And I think that they open up based on the players style and technique.
  19. In the 60s and 70s Pollmans were not the instruments they are today. Some of the ones we got in the shop had green wood sprung cracks. They were also very thick on the top. Sometimes over an inch. The ones with good wood which were played in well were great instruments.
  20. MIKMAN


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    I tried a couple of them last March in Germany. Beautiful instruments, excellent sound, lots of volume. A bit overpriced though...IMHO a European buyer has some alternative choices in Central Europe's luthiers, choices that can save some thousand euros.