Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Red Mitchell's bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Jeff Bollbach, Sep 20, 2003.


  1. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Hey folks-Thought youse guys would like these pics. This was Red's Claudot, now owned by a nice fellow named John Donnelly[Paul W.-he says Hi]

    Front
     
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    back-
     
  3. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    c-bout
     
  4. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    corner detail. note the wide purfle
     
  5. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    scroll
     
  6. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Red had two little brass studs on the back of the neck. I guess they are either for orientation or extra pleasure while playing.
     
  7. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    f-hole-grand in design, a soundpost setter's wet dream.
     
  8. BassGreaser

    BassGreaser

    Aug 22, 2002
    Austin, TX
    That bass is sooo lovely!!! Look how low the action is:eek:
     
  9. My impression was he put them in when he changed to tuning in 5ths
     
  10. Just out of curiosity, does the current owner keep it tuned in fifths?
     
  11. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Yeah he does, Mike. John was friends with Red and he seems to want to keep the spirit of the bass going. He wrote an article about Red shortly after he died that was published in the ISB. I'll see if he would mind if I posted it here.
     
  12. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    THANK YOU for posting these pictures, Jefe...
     
  13. This is more to do with set-up, but I note that the bridge is slightly higher than the notches in the 'f' hole would sugest ideal and from the wear marks that the bridge has been set way higher in the past. Has Jeff got any enlighted comments on this since here we have the pictures of one of the great bass players bass (instead of some of the suspect items I've played that have been setup simmilarly)? ...and again thanks for the pics!
     
  14. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    This is a big bass with a big mensure. The bridge is faked up about a half in. in order to shorten the string length and also pull the positions up out of the body a bit. As it is the length is still about 43 in. It is not a particularly easy bass to play but it definately has a quality sound that makes up for it. It is very common to see bridge faking on great old basses. They made em big back then.
     
  15. I'd like to thank Jeff and John ( hi John ) for these shots of Reds Claudot.
    As some of you know I have been one of Reds fans for about 45 years! I use to copy Reds solos off those old Contemporary records of the Hamp Hawes Trio ( Chuck Thompson drums)It took me years to get some of those left hand triplets and down slurs together. He did all that stuff with such grace and authority. Jim Hall once said in some liner notes that Reds solos were on a par with Lester Young and he was right.
    I could go on and on about Red, but just wanted to thank you guys for bringing a BIG part of Reds life back for us to enjoy....cheers!
     
  16. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    That Artist House duo album with Red and Jim would be very near the top of my "desert island" music picks. Forgot the title.
     
  17. Me too....Some of our younger players should check out Red. Reds brother Whitey was talking about bass solos and said something to the effect that if you would play most bass solos back on a horn, or a piano, they'd sound pretty silly. Reds solos were so beautiful, you could almost turn any of them into a tune! That solo
    " flow" of Reds was on A level of any tenor saxist. Reds sound post and action adjustment played a role in his playing to a large degree, in that his sound on the Caudot or his Klotz or any bass he adjusted, became so long that at times he'd have to stop the length of the tone! But even back in the 50's when he wasn't tuning in 5ths and using gut strings his solos were very horn-like.
     
  18. In a lesson with Michael Moore, he expressed his disappointment with my solo this way: "You sounded like a bass player."
     
  19. Ouch! Mike's one of the few players alive who would do fine when playing one of his solos back on a horn!
     
  20. I was leafing through some old (c. 1958) issues of Down Beat and came across an article that featured Whitey Mitchell when he was still active as a bass player in New York. He carried business cards that read:

    YES! I am Red Mitchell's brother

    Red must've had pretty big mitts if he was able to play a long-mensure bass that was tuned in fifths as well.

    Just an incredible player with a rare combination of strong technical faculties and dead-on musical taste.

    BTW: I played a gig with an excellent guitarist who told me something to the effect that he liked my solos because they didn't sound like bass solos. I told him he had payed me a compliment of the highest order.