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Volante bass

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Mike Arnopol, Mar 22, 2009.


  1. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Chicago
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    I know that this is an EUB, but I love mine so much and it's the first worthy substitute for my double bass. I'm putting a few links to some Youtube stuff that you can hear it ok. These were made when I first got it, so pardon some rather flexible intonation spots--the Volante is a 41" string length and I'm used to 42", and it's a D neck and I'm used to Eflat. I've since set it up as 42" and had the neck scooped out to Eflat.



    The bass also has removable lower bouts, but I took them off because my running shoes fit better in their place. The whole bass fite in a hard shell golf club case.
     
  2. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Nice. That sounds pretty good. Any clips on there with the slab? I saw a post where you were talking 'bout it and then I saw it on stage in the YT clip.
     
  3. Plookie

    Plookie

    Jul 14, 2006
    Endorsing artist: SIRE Marcus Miller v7 Jazz bass, DR Strings HI-BEAM
    I LOVE IT!

    You and the band sounds like you are well into the pocket!
     
  4. Really nice playing Mike. How thick are the upper faux bouts? and are they also removable? That's a cool looking instrument. With the way you play it, it seems like you could have it sound more like upright or electric depending how you articulate, which would make it a very versatile instrument. Thanks for posting those clips.
     
  5. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Chicago
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    The upper faux bouts fold. The one that rests against your body is king of an "L" profile so that you lean against the same point as a double bass . As I said it disassembles and fits into a golf club case. The neck pivots and is adjustable with an allen wrench to change action height. If I really want to dig in walking I can change the action height in about 3 seconds between tunes. The change in tuning is pretty minimal.
     
  6. Hey, Mike. I've been watching those videos for a while, and wondered about that instrument.

    Sounds great, the bass and the quartet.
     
  7. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    I like. When you coming to Sydney?
     
  8. PaperbackRyder

    PaperbackRyder Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Maynard, MA
    Mike, I listened to those clips and wow! :hyper:
    The performance of "Dansons La Gigue" is the reason I love jazz and want to play upright (been an eb player for near 40 years, ub for about five months).
    Is any of that concert available for download somewhere? (I dont mean to violate any rules here, so if appropriate, send me a PM)
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    =JR=
     
  9. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Chicago
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    Hi. In Zagreb right now. I didn't know these clips existed until I checked Youtube. A lot of stuff of ours on Youtube is pretty embarrassing ( shot with a phone or cheesy camera) but there is some nice stuff, too. Things are gonna be a'changin' in the biz. I think that ultimately all of this will eventually make the biz better. The music biz has evolved so that all of the power and influence is in way too few hands. I think that I'm a pretty good player, but for all well-known good players there may be 100 players of the same caliber that don't have the means to be heard on a larger scale. I just happen to be playing with a singer who has enjoyed commercial success. So while in the short term some people will be hurt by the current evolution of the biz over the long term people will have the viable option of listening to more than the same dozen artists over and over again. When you're more inside the higher commercial end of things you find it amazing that any decent music gets out there because of the few hands that control the biz from who gets the decent record deals to who gets booked at festivals. Download away---it's all going to come out in the wash.
     
  10. Jazzcat

    Jazzcat

    Jan 20, 2009
    Titusville, FL
    Those Caravan clips are outrageous. Concur 100% about the biz. Enjoy those old E Euro cities!
     
  11. PaperbackRyder

    PaperbackRyder Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Maynard, MA
    Yeah, the internet has brought opportunity for artists to be heard who otherwise couldn't or wouldn't get a deal / distriubtion / promotion etc. That is a GREAT thing!
    But the problem is how do you (or we) make a living if our work gets distributed for free? Sure you got paid for the gig, & the work lives on...perhaps those who own the publishing will make a royalty.
    Free is nice, but I would be more than glad to pay for what I heard on those clips.
    We gotta support each other whenever possible. I go see folks play all the time and refuse to be put on a guest list unless it's SRO.
     
  12. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Chicago
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    Yeah I'm super embarrassed to even ask to be put on the guest list.
    In most styles of music the music made on the recordings hasn't put much in the player's pockets anyway. I get a good taste for recordings but no residuals as is typical. For me the money is from touring gigs. In jazz you can't even get in the festivals if you're not on certain labels. I'd like to see that change.I'm in Cologne today and Tobias Pohling ( Vector) is coming to my gig to let me try his new pickup. I'll let y'all know.
     
  13. PaperbackRyder

    PaperbackRyder Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Maynard, MA
    This my friend, is the life of the sidemen....:bassist:
    All we can do is strive for excellence and keep the phone ringing!
     
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Was happy to find this thread since I am looking at travel basses, but the video in OP is no longer good. Mike or anyone: are you still using one of these to travel, and how do you feel about it at this point? Also, are there any decent videos/soundclips to be found? I tried and couldn't find them.
     
  15. Chris, I've owned and played a Merchant Vertical Bass for many years and cheerlead for that instrument whenever I can not only because it's a wonderful and damn near bulletproof travel bass but also because I consider Bill a friend and mentor.

    It's the only stick bass I've played that responds like the real deal, and mine is so easy to play I was able to gig with it while I was recovering from breaking my right hand a few years ago.

    If you're in the market for a travel bass, I strongly recommend you give him a call.
     
    Eric Hochberg likes this.
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Kung Fu - Thanks, but I can never get comfortable on a stick bass (I've played a lot of them, just hoping!). I know it's just me, but the way I sit, touching the body of the bass is all part of my kinesthetic awareness of where the notes are, even with my eyes closed. It would be interesting to play a Volante because it might be possible to feel the same vibe with it.
     
  17. Understood. I bought mine, and recommended one to you, because I have yet to play anything that does the job as well as the VB does for me. But, to each their own.
     
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  18. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 4, 2005
    Chicago
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    Hey Chris
    Call me sometime if you'd like. I still think that the Volante is by far the best eub out there if you're looking to emulate an acoustic db tone and function. I'm very familiar with Bill's bass. It's nice but not in the league of the Volante.I've also owned the Alter Ego which I also thought was better than the Vertical Bass. The Volante is easy better than the Alter Ego.
     
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  19. I found out about the Volante through Mike as well and a few Summers ago went to London and picked one up at Quality European Acoustic Stringed Instruments for the Classical, Jazz, Gypsy, Flamenco player (really nice guys)
    I also met the designer of the the thing in Paris and he showed me of he carries it in a Snowboard soft case. I got my own gigbag made for it so I can carry it around just with the bouts folded and not completely disassembled.

    Agree with Mike that the Volante is a fantastic instrument. It's more a foldable travel bass that an Electric Upright because there are no electronics. Regular Double Bass strings, regular pickups, with a good preamp it sounds really good, and bows great too. I've got mine strung with Olive G, Obligato D and Spiros A and E.

    It is not an acoustic bass. It's not even like a removable neck acoustic bass. But it's SO much easier to travel with and it sounds, plays and feels really good. I'm coming to Texas from Spain with mine in March to play in South by Southwest if anybody wants to come check it out.

    Cheers everyone!
     

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