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

This is a carved bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by JimmyM, Aug 31, 2005.


  1. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Yes.
     
  3. Yep. Some basses have as many as seven pieces joined together to make a top or a back. I guess that's confusing you. Laminated wood is in terms of several pieces of wood glued together to make the thickness of the wood.
    The wood is joined together, glued, and then carved, so it really is one piece of wood thickness wise.
     
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Solid means there are no Plys as in Laminated (Plywood).. Solid wood. Basses can have as much as 6 pieced across glued together but all solid pieces. 2-piece with the joint in the center is the most common. The Bass on Ebay however needs 7-10k of restoration work minimum. I would maybe pay 2k for it as it. In 100% perfect condition you couldn't get 20k for a factory German bass like that.

    I have several Basses with more than two pieces on the Top or Back that are solid and carved.

    3-piece Top here, 200+ years old; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Dodd/DoddBass.htm

    3-piece Back here, made in 1919; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/martini_bass_2.htm

    4-piece Top here, 20th century Bass; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Mystery2/Mystery2.htm

    6-piece Back here dated 1802 but it is laminated and pressed into shape with 3 other layers also 6-pieces across each; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/SoloBass/solo_Bass.htm

    I have seen many Italian Instruments with more than 2 pieces across. Single one Piece Tops or Backs is rare. Out of the 1000s of Basses I have seen only 2 Backs in one piece that I can recall.
     
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Paul, I was posting about 25 minutes ago but had to run out to my son's school bus and give him something he forgot. I didn't mean to repeat in part some of what you already said.

    Good morning Paul.......
     
  6. Good morning darling.....
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I'm glad about that - my bass was sold to me as fully-carved, but its back is clearly two pieces of Flame Maple joined at the centre line.

    Got me thinking! ;)
     
  8. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    What?! You mean they're not carved out of one tree by Keebler elves? :bag:
     
  9. Top and back plates are usually bookmatched. A billet is sawn across its width then opened like a book, so that the grain and flame appear as mirror images across the centre joint. This is necessitated by the size of the instrument. Violins and violas more often have one piece backs, however I believe the majority of them still have bookmatched plates, for aesthetic reasons.
     
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The Book Match mainly refers to the "2-piece" Top and Back. 3 or more are not always matched like that. They can be from longer boards and slip matched, book matched center 2 and added wings on 4 piece, Split in three and folded over or 3 seperate pieces with different grains as I have seen recently on two Guadagninni Basses from the same family member and period. Rules do not apply with Basses but rather suggested. Violins will be more consistant with many having a one Piece Back. Tops of Violins are almost always 2-piece as I have never seen anything but a bookmatched top on the fiddles!

    Bass makers can also Glue up these multi pieces at a slight angle helping the Shape to be curved so less wood thickness is needed and less carving as well. I have even seen and heard of Italian Tops Pressed/bent into shape with a very shallow arched look instead of carving the top.
     
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I'm still trying to picture the Italian forests that contained trees large enough to to cut and scrape a top out of a single piece of wood...
     
  12. Howzabout a west coast redwood? Ya know, the ones they cut a tunnel into then drive a car through?
    You could build an octobass with a one piece top. Think of how much fun that would be to transport on the subway. You'd need a dually bass wheel.
     
  13. PB+J

    PB+J

    Mar 9, 2000
    arlington va
    Like everybody said, solid refers to the thickness--it's not called "solid wood" if it's plywood.

    But it's almost always the case that a spruce top is two or more peices of wood. You just can't find a piece of spruce big enough for even a 16x20 inch guitar. I started building an archtop guitar, and the standard first stewp is gluing two wedge shaped pieces of spruce together, then carving them
     
  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Well, the reason I asked is because I have seen a few carved basses with one-piece tops and backs. At least I thought they were. If they weren't, they were some of the most excellent bookmatching I have ever seen in my life.

    Thanks guys.
     
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Ok, I see the one at Gages. The weight of the Bass/top is not the fact that it was made of one piece. It is because either the wood is heavy/dense or it was left thick or both. If it was the same wood and carving with a bookmatch, it would have the same weight.

    I have a Pine Back on my Batchelder Bass. It looks like one piece of wood; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/BatchBass/thumbnials/backbody.gif The Top of my Martini also looks to be one piece but the grain says different even though the Joints are invisible; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/martini13.jpg

    Up close and in person, they look to be one piece until you examine the Grain closely.
     
  16. I've never heard of a PINE back.....how often have you heard of this?? Actually, i've never heard of the back of any bass being anything but a hard wood....
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Paul, this is a 19th century New England Bass. The Back is confirmed to be New England White Pine. It was and still is a very expensive furniture wood. The Ribs are inlaid over the Back. The Back is about 1/2"-5/8" thick but only about 1/4 shows on the edges. Prescott made some Basses like this as well.

    Here is an English Bass also with a Pine Back; http://www.contrabass.co.uk/1938.htm
     
  18. My God man, you must have this catalog memorized.
     
  19. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Not really, but some things leave an impression in your mind. With me, I can re-call dozens of Basses in my head and where I have seen them. Sometimes it's years or decades later but I remember.. And then, sometimes I can't remember squat...Go figure...lol