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The Upper Register

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by ImAGoodDuck, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. Has anyone out there played the Upper Register that is at Lemur Music? It has a 3/4 upper bout with a 4/4 lower bout. Does it sound as good as I would think it would? It sounds to me like a really cool idea so why isn't it very popular?
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Those terms don't mean as much as you think. Bout size does not dertine the size of a Bass. Length and overall size does. A 4/4 Bass is a Monster and much bigger than a 7/8. I played a 3/4 5-strin Pollmann Bass with 29" lower bouts. It is still a 3/4. Post the actual measurments so we know what you are referring to.
  3. To make matters even clearer (ha, ha!), Lemur doesn't list the dimensions (coming soon!) in their online catalogue. A recent Spring Fling mailing piece wants one to spring (or fling) an additional $2K over the website's price, so I guess it grew a little at least at the cash "register".

    Wilfer's homepage has even less size details:http://www.contrabass.de/
    According to my best (guessing) German, all the models (none is listed as the "Upper Register") are available in 1/4-5/4 (that's a 125% full-size bass!) and who knows what dimensions those might be. (like the Marshall in Spinal Tap) This one goes to 11.

    As to how popular the concept of large lower bout and manageable upper bout is, I think it is a popular design both historically and comtemporarily. An extreme example at Lemur is the Pollmann Alexandria. If you look at any bass page with a whole bunch of different shapes (I'm thinking World of Basses, Kolstein, Contrabasse Shop, and the like) you will see quite a few basses that appear comparatively bottom heavy and others that are nearly the same for upper and lower bouts. As to what is 4/4, 3/4, 7/8, it is nearly meaningless unless you are comparing basses from the same manufacturer. Probably the best way to view the "Upper Register" is compared to other Wilfers.

    You won't get any consistency on the bass bags either. My current 5-stringer is 43" string, 75.25" tall, 22" upper bout, 27.5" lower bout, 9" rib+plates depth. One popular "4/4" bass bag won't fit it and another popular "7/8" bass bag has room to spare.

    There are about 5 critical measurements to compare: how loud is the B string, how loud is the E string, how loud is the A string, etc.
    Then the final question: does it feel right to you.
  4. Tim Ludlam

    Tim Ludlam

    Dec 19, 1999
    Carmel, IN
    Silversorcerer - I love when someone can squeeze a Spinal Tap reference into TalkBass. Very well done!
  5. jmpiwonka


    Jun 11, 2002
    i just got that lemur catalog too.

    i think i like the looks of the "gentleman jazz" more.

    anyone know about the Bjorn Stoll basses they have in there?
    (thread hijack has occurred, everyone back away from the keyboards :D, just kidding)
  6. Victoria's Secret for double bassists .... :smug:
  7. Are those Pollmann Basses the real deal? I see that they are well over 15K, and thats a lot of money for me to pay for a new bass. Now, I'm acctually looking at an italian solo bass in that range, butits old. Are Pollmanns worth it, they sure hae the reputation. :bassist:
  8. I haven't played a Pollmann. If they are selling at that price the perception is that they are worth it to someone. I know someone raved about playing one on another thread. Hearsay only. I like that Alexandria model. The slim one with the bigger bottom. That looks comfortable.
  9. I played a couple of the Wilfer basses that are in the the magazine and honestly am not a big fan. They were set up decent but I just didn't think they played very well. The sound wasn't that great either for the money they want for um.
  10. I played one Wilfer, but I think it was an Andreas Wilfer. That is a different company and now Lemur only has Emanuel Wilfer's basses. The Andreas Wilfer line was less pricey. The one I played was probably the best 3/4 in the local shop the day I played it. It had great tone but was a little quiet. Of course I was attracted more to this 7/8 professional Christopher 5-stringer hybrid that was killer loud comparatively and had great pizz. growl. The Wilfer was set up for orchestra. It was priced competitively I thought, somewhere around $5000, but that's been a few years back.

    Which models did you play, Good Duck? An individual instrument could sound, well, individual... Still, I've looked at those models and wondered often what they sounded like. They certainly photograph well. :smug:
  11. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    The pollmans definately look amazing. But, having played several...I'm simply underwhelmed. The sound is not terribly good and they don't play particularly well. For the money I think you could do a lot better.
  12. Thats how i felt about the Wilfer basses. I played the Conservatory and i'm not sure which other one but neither played very well. I have only played one Pollmann and wasn't to impressed. For the money of either the Wilfer or the Pollmann you can find a great older bass with twice the sound. They were made really well but the sound just isn't the same.
  13. I think, like many newer basses, Pollman basses are generally just in need of some serious playing time. The older ones are usually pretty good.
    Remember that big lion head one that Charlie Haden had before the Vuillaume? John Pattitucci's ain't too shabby either.
    Basses need to be played.
  14. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York

    Very good point. I'm sure that, like many other new instruments, they open up nicely after several years of heavy playing.
  15. Yea that is true. They were both made really well so I guess after some serious playing they would make a pretty good bass. I didn't know Patitucci played a Pollmann. Is that the same one he is playing on that David Gage workshop video. It sounds great on there. I also heard of a trick and if it works or not I don't know. But if you have a new insturment and when you're not playing it, put it in a closet and play music by it with like a boom box or somethin. Just a trick to make it mature faster. Worth a shot I guess.
  16. I just got a new carved bass and it improves daily and was dramatically better after just 2 weeks of playing. You could immediately hear promise in the tone, but the response is what seems to be gradually improving most now. I've heard of all kinds of strategies similar to letting the bass listen to heavily amplified music and I'm sure all of that has some effect.

    One of the things I think opens one up pretty well is to play the major 7th interval on the two lowest strings with a bow. We are not going for pretty sounds here, more like seismic phenomena. If you hit it right with the bow, the two notes will produce a wave with a beat frequency of about 2-3 Hz. Don't do this in the room where you keep the fine china.

    This is more effective the lower the frequency of your strings. It is very low and reverberating with a BB string. There are other intervals that do this as well. The lower the beat frequency and the louder you can make it sound, the more it bends and flexes your instrument. It's like a stretching exercise for new basses. Double stopped harmonies in general put a lot more energy into the vibrations as well.
  17. I've told this story a couple times before. I think it's worth another giggle.
    In an old, old ISB magazine, back when they looked like little newspapers, there was a story about a ROBOT that a father made for his son, who was going into the Armed Services. I think it was the Korean war. Anyway, the Father made the robot out of a bass stand with some pulleys to move the bow over the open strings at one hour periods every day. The robot ran on a kitchen stove timer. There was a picture of the robot in action. It lived up in the family attic!
    Father and son swore to the quality that the robot provided for the bass over the couple year period. :p

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