Q: How is the folding bass different from a standard bass?
A: The folding bass is essentially a standard 3/4 bass, except that it folds for travel. The scale is 41 1/2″, the fingerboard solid African ebony. The top is made with a spruce veneer, which gives it the pin-striped look of a carved top. The purfling is inlaid, front and back. The finish is a rich brown lacquer. The fiberglass flight case is lined with crushed velvet over foam. It has 2 recessed wheels, metal latches and 2 recessed handles.
Q: Why is the folding bass ‘the only upright bass you need to own’?
A: Since it’s fully acoustic, it’s not just a ‘travel’ bass. Many of my customers have told me that the folding bass has become their main bass, and it doesn’t surprise me. It’s all I use around town for gigs and sessions. I leave it set up and carry it around in a regular bass bag when I’m at home, and only pack it up when I have a road date. Unless you point it out, no one can tell it isn’t a standard bass. And an added advantage is that when you travel, you’re playing your bass.
Q: Does the Folding Bass have a warranty?
A: Yes, the bass is warranted against defects in workmanship for 1 year. Return it to me and I will repair or replace any part found defective for free. (Unauthorized repair or modification will void warranty). In addition, if you order a standard folding bass, and are dissatisfied with it for any reason, it can be returned within 7 days for a full refund of the purchase price.
Q: How do you keep the sound post from falling?
A: The sound post has a short pin in either end, and this allows the post to vibrate freely, yet stay in position when traveling. The post can be moved if necessary.
Q: Since the bass comes apart, how do you prevent buzzes?
A: I have designed all the fittings to be vibration-free. The back panel and the fingerboard use compression fittings, so that they are self adjusting and always snug. I use nylon, aluminum, and polycarbonate at the points of contact to minimize wear, and use a polyester gasket on the back panel to seal and cushion the wood surfaces.
Q: What customizations are available?
A: I can do a matte finish, and install position markers.
Q: Is a carved model of the Folding Bass available?
A: A Hybrid (carved top) model is available. The carved top bass has a little more upper mids in the tone, and slightly more sustain in the upper registers. I haven’t had them in production long enough to fairly evaluate their reliability, but the ones in service now are doing fine. It seems likely to me that the sound of the hybrid will improve over time. The hybrid model is $400 additional.
Q: Can you use any strings with the Folding Bass?
A: Yes, though I have found that some brands last longer than others. Thomastik Spirocore are what I recommend. Any string will work, but these can last for years and tune up quickly. There are folding bass users that are happy with their Helicore, Nylon tape, Nils, Guts, Pirastro, Flexicore, Rotosound, etc.
Q: How would I get normal repairs or adjustments should they became necessary?
A: Except for the neck joint, fingerboard attachment and the back door, the bass is a standard acoustic bass. Your local luthier could work on it like any other bass.
Q: Will you convert someone’s existing bass to folding bass?
A: Although my design could be used to convert any bass to a folding bass, I don’t offer to convert basses. Among the many problems are the need for specialized jigs for the precision cuts, the time required to remove the neck and fingerboard, the modification of machined parts; not to mention making sure that the case fits.
Shen modifies his SB-100 for me in his factory, keeping the cost affordable. The bass that I start with is one the best laminate basses available today. You would be better off financially to sell your existing bass and put the money toward a new folding bass.
Q: Do you offer endorsements or artist pricing?
A: I’ve decided in my business model not to have endorsements, artist prices, or even dealer/wholesale pricing. Instead, I just price the folding bass as low as I can afford to sell it. This way, I can offer the folding bass option to as many players as possible, hopefully helping to make the difficult job of traveling with a double bass less stressful. There’s no store, middle men, or mark ups. I buy the basses straight from the maker and convert them myself.
Q: What is the price, and how do you buy one?
A: The price of the bass, including flight case, your choice of strings ($200 allowance), custom set-up, and free shipping to over 80 countries is $3800. The hybrid (carved top) model is $4200.
A 50% deposit reserves a bass when you’re ready to order, and the balance is due when I ship. I can accept credit/debit cards, checks and PayPal for payment.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 615 351 6292 if you have any questions or want to find out about availability.
Q: Is it possible to rent a folding bass?
A: Yes. Information on rates is found on the “Rental” tab on my home page. I also have a rent-to-own program. To check bass availability, contact me at email@example.com, or call 615 351 6292.
Q: What countries are included in the Free Shipping offer?
A: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosni, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Greenland, Guam, Holland, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Virgin Islands, United Arab Emirates, United States, Vatican City, Wales, Yemen.
Q: Do you ship basses to countries other than the ones on your list?
A: Yes. If your country is not included in the free shipping list, email me your country and postal code, and I will let you know how much shipping will be. For all international shipments, you are responsible for paying any taxes and duties.
Q: What is your return policy?
A: The standard bass can be returned within 7 days for a full refund if you aren’t satisfied with it for any reason.
Q: What are the dimensions of the fiberglass case?
A: It is shaped like the bass body and arched, so it’s difficult to measure. At the longest points, the length is 46″, width 28.5″, and the depth 11″.
Q: Do you sell the case separately?
A: Yes. The cost of the fiberglass flight case is $900 plus shipping.
The interior dimensions are:
Upper Bout width: 20”
Lower Bout width: 26”
Q: Does the folding bass come with a pickup?
A: I don’t include a standard pickup because I think that pickups are a personal choice. My favorite all-around pickup is the Fishman Full Circle. If you wish, I can install any commercially available pickup for you.
Q: How well does it stay in tune?
A: I tune mine to pitch, then give the strings a little tug and tune again. After that, the strings drift about as much as they normally would while playing.
Q: Does it have an adjustable bridge?
A: Yes, it has hard-wood wheels.
Q: What does the bass and case weigh?
A: Together, under 50lbs.
Q: Is the Folding Bass difficult to put together or take apart?
A: With a little practice, the bass can be assembled or torn down in less than 2 minutes.
Q: Is the bass loud enough to use unamplified?
A: The short answer is yes. Your playing style, choice of strings and action effect the volume in strictly acoustic settings. It is as loud as any average plywood bass.
Q: How is it different than other travel basses?
A: The most important difference is the sound chamber. The Folding Bass has a standard sized body, all the other travel basses have sound chambers that are down-sized or non-existent. The sound chamber not only produces the sound, but affects the way the string responds. It makes the bass feel right to the player, and look right to the audience. This is why I designed my travel bass. I couldn’t find one that looked, felt and sounded like a regular bass.
Q: Is this instrument suitable for orchestral music?
A: This bass bows beautifully, and is suitable for any style of music