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Ray Brown's bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by davechamb, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. davechamb


    Jan 16, 2005
    London, UK
    Does anybody know what bass ray Brown was playing on on the recordings of West Side Story (Oscar Peterson Trio) and Bass Hit? The bass I am thinking of appears on the cover of both recordings and seems to be his favourite bass at time. He refered to it in the following article:

    http://www.jazzprofessional.com/interviews/Ray Brown_1.htm
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    That's his old Italian as seen in his Book.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    That is an interesting link! Thanks for posting it.
  4. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    It is an interesting link, indeed.

    But now I wonder what kind of Db string Ray used...
  5. ctcruiser


    Jan 16, 2005
    West Haven, CT
    Thanks for link. It has some interesting items. Ray Brown is the reason why I want to buy a DB.

    I was lucky enough to see him play a few months before his passing.
  6. I have a picture of Ray and I with our basses on my wall. I love that picture.
    Ray used Thomastik Orchestras.
    That company Lycon, made special Ray Brown strings....Company went belly up.
  7. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    +1 Ray Brown's my main inspiration on DB. That interview was awesome.
  8. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    That bass, if I'm not all screwed up here, was wrecked (effectively) during a bad restoration. Looks pretty, sounds like crap. That's why he wasn't playing it at the end.
  9. DonQuartz


    Dec 18, 2004
    The bass that Ray refers to in that article and the one which was his main bass when he was with Oscar Peterson is in excellent shape (and sound) and is currently being played in the Toronto Symphony by Dave Longenecker. Before that it was played for years by Murray Lauder who was a veteran studio musician. He bought it from Ray in the sixties and used it in countless recordings. Apparently Ray felt the bass was too problematic to mike (especially from excessive "bleed") so he sold it. At least that's what Ray told me when I asked him why he sold such a great bass. There was a bit more interesting history to it as well; I believe that Ella Fitzgerald actually bought the bass for him after he had found it in some church basement or something and had fallen in love with it.
    I have seen a couple of similiar basses over the years and people often refer to that model as being "Amati" for whatever that's worth.
    I have heard Dave L. play jazz on it and it sounds great!
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Ray told me he had sold it awhile ago because it was too delicate for the road.
  11. I had heard that Ella bought the bass in London at a famous bass shop as a divorce present for Ray.I believe that the current owner has added a C string to the bass[Makes sense if he's a Symphony cat] but if I owned it I would of kept it as Ray did.
  12. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    I also saw Ray Brown only a matter of months before he died. It was in 2002, at the Bird of Paradise in Ann Arbor, MI. At the time, i was a novice Electric Bass player, who had just recieved (As a GIFT! :eek: ) a wonderful old carved top bass. As such, i picked up Ray Brown's method book, and took an interest in the man. My dad's friend, the man who gave me my upright, took me to see his trio. It was an amazingly intimate setting, i was a mere ten feet away from him. He played two sets that night, and between them, he sat alone at a table in the middle of the bar. I approached him, and we talked for a moment. It was amazing. He was really down to earth. I didnt even ask for his autograph or anything. He didnt seem like a celebrity, just...like a grandfather or something.

    It was amazing how fragile and frail he seemed. He was weak, didnt walk well, his hand shook when he picked up his whisky. But when he got behind his bass....he came alive.

    Sorry for the hijack. Just some fond memories.

    On another note... Moreso on topic.... The bass he played that night... It was really thin. Not small, persay, but thin from front to back. And it was beautiful. It almost glowed red, and had a good amount of flame figuring to it. But, it being so small, i figured it wouldnt be loud, or have much bass response. Boy was I wrong. It was LOUD. And incredibly toneful. And, he did some arco soloing, way up on the neck, and it SANG. It really sounded like a female singing. It was the most beautiful thing i've ever heard. To this day, that is my ultimate DB tone.

    Unfortunately, I no longer have a DB. The man who gave it to me, it was his daughters, and when she passed tragically, I couldnt bear to hold onto it, when i knew it was what he most closely associated with his daughter. Alas, I will own one again some day.
  13. DonQuartz


    Dec 18, 2004
    You must be taking about some other bass. There is nothing delicate about the instrument I am refering to plus talking about selling a bass in the mid-sixties as "awhile ago" doesn't sound right either.
  14. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I asked Ray about 10-12 years ago about his old Italian Bass. He told me that he sold it because it was too delicate for the road. If you had a 200 year old Italian Bass and traveled to play clubs you would understand what we (Ray and I) are talking about. I have now and have had in the past similar problems with my older Pedigree Italian, French and English Basses. If you can't use them with comfort and safty for the instrument, sell it.. unless you are collecting..

    I stand by the statement I posted earlier !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  15. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Paul, were you invested in this lycos company ???
  16. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    I'm cracking up out loud!

    Gotta find some NOS ones somewhere............that and the Red-O-Rays!
  17. Ben Joella

    Ben Joella Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    Boca Raton, FL
    Does anyone here know Dave L.? Maybe we could get him to post pictures of this bass?
  18. Talkbass' Rob W is a student of Joel Quarrington and Edward Tait (principal and assistant principal respectively of the TSO), and Rob subs with the TSO. Maybe he can help, if he's still with us. Nice guy, good player.
  19. Brent Nussey

    Brent Nussey

    Jun 27, 2001
    Tokyo, Japan
    Some years ago, when Murray Lauder owned the bass, I had a chance to play it at his house. I have some nice pictures of the bass I took that day, I guess I could put them up if someone'd like to see...

  20. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Nah, don't bother, Brent. :rolleyes: