Gallery Index (from top, L-R):
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Selmer(?) “Wenzel Kohler” Upright Bass, 1950's-60's (approx.) I purchased this bass in 2003 from a very-talented musician who had just graduated from the University of North Florida’s Jazz Studies program (one of the world’s best, BTW) and was in-hock with the IRS so he needed to unload it quick. This is a 5/8-size (or a ‘small’ 3/4-size – scale: roughly 40 3/4 in.) all-plywood bass that was, before I bought it, refitted by a luthier in Gainesville to give it a relatively-low action (especially at the 1st or ‘G’ string) and tuned to give it a deep, loud voicing. This is an optimal bass for jazz – I consider myself VERY lucky to run into this! This bass was made in the old Bohemian town of Luby (a.k.a. Schönbach) near the Czech-German border (label inside says ” Wenzel Kohler, Luby Czechoslovakia”) which has been known for centuries for its stringed-instrument manufacture (fun fact - it is the original home of Höfner guitars & basses), and, according to who I purchased it from is approx. 50-60 years old. I normally play it “natural” using an AKG C1000S microphone over the bridge. But on certain occasions where the acoustics are not practical, I have a David Gage Realist transducer-pickup mounted under the bridge to plug it into an amplifier (I use an Acoustic Image Contra 250-w amp). For arco (bowed) work I use a French-style ARY pernambuco bow (with “hybrid” or mixed light/dark horsehair) and Carlsson rosin.
Ernst Heinrich Roth Upright Bass (dated 1965) This upright has a few ‘rattles’ in it, so I may need to take it to a luthier for repairs. It is a nice-sounding bass, but VERY fragile!! This will likely never leave the house without a humidity-controlled case (which will cost approx. another $3-grand). In fact, even more recently it has developed a few new cracks in the solid-cedar front… Roths are very popular basses with jazz musicians. The most famous Roth bass was Charles Mingus’ bass whose scroll was carved by Mr. Roth in the shape of a lion’s head. Update (2016) - the neck of my Roth bass has since come loose at the heel, so it is currently unplayable until I can get it to a luthier for the necessary & expensive repairs.
Fender Electric Bass Originally a 1972 Fender Jazz Bass that I purchased cheap in Vero Beach around 1985 with a severely warped neck (broken truss-rod??) and a damaged sunburst-finish. I stripped the finish off the body to make it “natural” (and a nice Swamp Ash body it is!), replaced the neck with a 3rd-party P-Bass style neck - replacing that in 2002 with a 1974 Fender Precision fretless-neck that was later fretted by Jacksonville luthier Richard Wagner. The bridge-pickup is from an old Gibson Thunderbird bass. Now in storage (that '74 neck is "toast", as they say, so looking for another one), but have a 'new' Fender to replace it (see below).
Ibanez SoundGear Prestige, 2000 Currently in storage, structurally sound but needs new electronics.
Carvin B5 Electric Bass, 2004 This was built from a kit all precut & pre-wired by Carvin (now known as Kiesel); all I had to do was finish it & put it all together – the finish used was an antique Shellac finish which I hand-brushed on approx. 15 coats over a 2-week period. The body is solid alder, neck is maple (all stained & finished with the brushed-on Shellac). Includes active electronics. This bass is strung with La Bella semi-rounds.
Gibson EB-2 Electric Bass, 1966 All original, it never leaves the house. I still play it from time to time though I have not ever gigged with it. Includes the original semi-hardshell case (which was falling apart when I bought it; I literally had to glue it back together) and though not pictured I have the bridge-mute for it also. Strings are RotoSound tape-wounds.
And a few guitars...
Gibson ES-345 Custom Shop, 2009 This is a "B.B. King" re-issue of a 1963(?) ES-345TDS that the great bluesman once played back in the '60s, before he switched to the all-black ES-355TDS that became his original "Lucille". Modified with a Bigsby B6 vibrato-tailpiece (though not all-gold like on the originals - King's 345 had a stop-tailpiece), a phase-reversal switch and a smaller pickguard.
Cort acoustic-electric bass guitar, early 2000's I've tried my hand with acoustic bass-guitars on some gigs, I find they suit best on Latin jazz tunes though I usually go upright as well. This one has a soundhole-cover to suppress feedback, a Fishman piezo-pickup under the bridge, and Rotosound Jazz Bass tape-wound strings.
Giannini nylon-string acoustic-guitar, early 1960s Made in Brazil, playable but needs a lot of work & stays in the house. As of this photo, one string is broken. :P
Epiphone F-style mandolin, 2012 I've also toyed around a bit with mandolin! This one is a fairly new Epiphone copy of the classic Gibson F4.
Martin D-16GT acoustic guitar, 1996 My latest acquisition, and I love it!! Great-sounding yet inexpensive Martin (Sitka spruce top, mahogany back & sides). Has a built-in Fishman piezo-pickup under the bridge; the controls are hidden underneath the edge of the soundhole & the 9-volt battery is in a pouch velcro-attached to the base of the guitar out of sight from the soundhole - the only catch is that you have to loosen the strings to change the battery but this guitar, being a Martin, also sounds great mic'ed so the Fishman is merely an enhancement and not so much a necessity. Recently had the frets dressed & new gold-plated Grover tuners.
Fender Custom Shop '58 Precision Bass (reissue) My new main electric axe! Specs pretty close to the originals: 1-pc maple V-profile neck, nitrocellulose lacquer finish, 50's-spec spaghetti-logo decal on the headstock, the neck is "aged" to look 'road-worn'. 2-pc laminated alder body (not "aged" like the neck), 2-tone sunburst finish, anodized aluminum pickguard, "classic" P-Bass split-pickup (with poles raised under the A-string), typical passive electronics. Added a vintage pickup-cover (from an original bass) - also have a matching bridge cover, but not installed here. Tuners are also from an original bass. This baby feels & plays like a MUTHA!! Strung with Fender tape-wound flats.
Last updated March 4, 2016