Victor Gaskin -- Dexter's "LTD"

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Sam Sherry, Nov 6, 2003.

  1. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I just got ahold of Dexter Gordon's LTD Live at the Left Bank, a 1969 concert-tape released recently on CD.

    Victor Gaskin sounds nice! His soloing aims in a surprisingly contemporary fashion, with good fluidity and a clear LaFaro influence.

    Anybody got recommendations for particularly high-quality efforts from Mr. Gaskin? Any information about his current whereabouts and work?
  2. Sam...I met Victor when he was with Billy Taylor. He was playing one of Paul Toenniges' basses...with no F holes, but open diamond shaped holes in the C bouts! Toenniges ( i'm not sure on the spelling) warrants a thread on his own!
    Anyway, check out some Billy Taylor sides from the 80's..If your not into BT, and i'm not, Vic was with Carmen McCrae for quite a spell, I think in the 70s. I know he's recorded quite a bit, so do a search under his name, since I can't be of more help.
    One thing I do remember was that he sounded great, but he had the lowest action i've EVER seen on a bass!! I don't know what's up with him lately.
  3. I got curious and searched Gaskin on Google and found this link to a music agency in Singapore (I think):

    Also, if you search Gaskin on you see him on a bunch of Adderly brothers recordings, Jazz Crusaders, Galper, Ellington, Taylor. Latest recording is Atilla Zoller in 2001.

  4. I was right about the diamond shapes, but I thought they were in the C bouts...Toenniges did do some of his basses with no holes at all in the top, but the diamonds in the Cs only.
    It's so sad getting old....
  5. scott reed

    scott reed Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2002
    Paul, while I was visiting Paul Langosch in D.C.
    I came across the old ISB issue with Toenniges
    on the cover (Winter 1989 I think). The earliest
    diamond model was #8 made around 1937 for Jack
    Ryan who played with Jimmy Dorsey. The bass had
    two diamond sound holes in each center rib.
    Numbers 10, 12 and 14 also had the diamond rib
    holes. Victor Gaskin's bass is #11 without the
    rib diamonds. The bass was made in 1940 and was
    labeled and numbered 18. The original owner was
    a William Miller who played in the Oakland
    Symphony. His widow returned the bass to PT and
    Toenniges sold the bass to Gaskin shortly after
    1967. I was privileged to see and play #10 at
    the old Bass Viol Shop in Cincinnati. Good tone
    and beautiful work if memory serves me.

  6. Yeah...Paul was something else. He worked on alot of important instruments in that era in L.A. The great teacher Herman Rhineshagen, who among others including Red Mitchell brought alot of nice instruments through Pauls shop. To my knowledge, Paul Toenneges was the first luthier to come up with bridge adjusters! And Scott, thanks for following me around TBDB and filling in the blanks of my brain! Please continue.....
  7. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    [QUOTE Victor Gaskin's bass is #11 without the
    rib diamonds.

    Doesn't the pic show rib diamonds?

  8. Yesiree! I didn't notice you could click on that Pic.
  9. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Those holes in the ribs should make soundpost-setting a lot easier, if nothing else. Is this something unique to Toenniges, or has anyone else put soundholes in the ribs?
  10. scott reed

    scott reed Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2002
    Jeff, I didn't see the picture. The info I got
    was from Duane Rosengard's essay. There was no
    mention of the rib diamonds on that bass. The
    bass I saw years ago in Cincinnati had the rib
    diamonds. Upon further research, it seems the
    "Diamond" basses were made with one or two rib
    diamonds in each center rib. According to
    Rosengard, "Due to the scarcity of European wood
    during WW II the backs and ribs of many of these
    instruments were made from American curly birch,
    a wood of somewhat exotic figure." (ISB Vol XV
    No. 2, Winter 1989 pp.29-30)
  11. basslife


    Mar 23, 2004
    Victor lives in Singapore and has for some time. He moved there to "retire" but his phone hasn't stopped ringing. He's into luthier work for the cats around town. Victor is a true gentleman and a great conversationalist. I sat in on his gig one night and played his diamond-shaped f holed bass. Victor has marvelous composure, great chops, and is a great rythm section player. He mentioned that he had done about 70+ 33's when he was living in NYC. Christy Smith is another great player who lives in Singapore. He's got a regular gig at Harry's Boat Quay. Christy's head on his Pollman got broke off in transit, so Christy and Victor got together and repaired it. As I had a regular gig in town and lived there for about 9 months, I talked to Victor about forming a bass quintet. He was all for it and had some charts, but you know, talk is talk. When it comes around to doing it, sometimes it just don't fly. My gig ended and I moved out of town. Anyway, I think I lost his phone number, but I could get it for you. Let me know!
  12. My partner, Luthier Bob Ross has gone one better and put a door in the C bout of a commissioned bass for Colorado Springs Jazz/Classical bassist Mark Niehoff! Also an adjustable/removable neck and a built in fingered C extension.
    Pretty major repairs can be performed through this door!
    See Last bass on the menu.
  13. bass_means_LOW


    Apr 12, 2004
    Las Vegas
    These are remarkable basses! They would seem to be a great investment. Thanks for that eye food!
  14. wahyong


    Dec 22, 2003
    Hi all, Victor Gaskin is indeed in Singapore! He's doing real well, playing gigs, and doing repairs to basses as mentioned earlier.
    If anybody wants to email him, his email address is: