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the bass in Jeff Bollbach's avatar

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by jaybo, Sep 18, 2002.


  1. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    That quilted maple back is incredible, how does it sound? I don't think I've ever seen another bass with a quilted maple back. Would it be possible to have a spalted maple back? I've always assumed there is an acoustic reason more exotic woods aren't used on DB's like on little basses, is that true? My apologies if this should go in the luthier forum, I didn't know where to put it.
     
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Thanks, I'm glad you like it. I liked the wood tonally and my friend A. Schnitzer has since made a quilted flatback with good results. You bring up an interesting point about different woods. Luckily for us wood lovers there seems to be a greater range of woods that work well for bass as opposed to the smaller viols. In common use for back and ribs are woods such as maple, sycamore, cherry, pear, willow, poplar, butternut, and walnut. I'm sure that some tropical woods would work as well. I know that Jaques Gagnon in the Phillipines has made many basses out of a wood that I believe is called calantis. However a spalted wood would be a mistake. First of all, you'd never find any of any size. Also as I'm sure you know spalting is a mold[or fungus?] in the wood and there is some structural degradation. It sure is interesting though-I made a couple of knife handles with spalted wood. My favorite is a piece of cocabola I found with both heart and sap wood. Three quarters of the handle is the dark red and the rest is a rich cream color riddled with spalt. To use my son's vernacular-it's ill!
     
  3. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    I'd like to see some pictures of that. Growing up my dad was always building things and I'm starting to get into it although I'm not too knowledgable yet. I didn't know walnut was used on basses, I can't imagine how beautiful a claro walnut back would be if that's even possible.
     
  4. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    It would indeed be beautiful. I have seen basses made from this wood but I wouldn't choose to use it myself. Black walnut is pretty high in specific density and is heavy and brittle compared to other tone woods. Butternut, which has a similar grain pattern, would be a better choice as far as nutwoods go. My friend, Ed Maday, has made a bunch of butternut basses with good results.