The name Abraham Prescott is to double bassists what Stradivari is to violinists.
Prescott double basses and viols, mostly built in the first half of the 19th Century in New Hampshire, have been owned and performed on by some of the most celebrated bassists in the world, Scott LaFaro, Arvel Shaw, Tiny Martin and Lawrence Wolff to name a few. Large proportioned with deep arching and thin tops, Prescotts produce bass tones that have moved bandstands and orchestra halls since they were built.
Abraham Prescott was born in Deerfield, New Hampshire in the late 18th century and made his first bass in 1819. Together with his apprentices, he built over 200 upright basses and countless “church basses,” cellos, violins, and even keyboards and wooden pipe organs. Abraham began his own apprenticeship in his uncle’s woodworking shop, and taught himself viol construction by working on his own violin. He soon was building viols for local churches and musicians. These early “Deerfield” Prescott’s show quite a bit of individuality from instrument to instrument as the young maker improved at his craft.
After making hundreds of upright basses in our Connecticut shop and working on, restoring and selling numerous Prescotts, a thought occurred to us – why haven’t we made a version like this and why are we just now realizing it? How could we be New England makers without making a New England double bass?
Gary Upton and Eric Roy began plans for a Prescott-style double bass in the spring of 2012. Their central goal was to build a Prescott pattern with modern ergonomics from our finest stores of seasoned spruce and big leaf maple. The result was the Concord Model, with scores of custom versions built in its first decade. Our New England flagship!
Sloping shoulders (the same upper bouts as our Gary Karr Model), Busetto corners, Prescott ff-holes, flat maple back and sides (many grades available) with deep ribs (lined outside) and a deluxe spruce top combined with a finely detailed scroll, button and hand-cut tuners pay homage to Prescott while keeping with our own modern New England aesthetic.
Tonally, this bass is similar to our Brescian Model – deep, dark and punchy with rich, pipe organ lows under the bow. The Concord pictured is a large 3/4 instrument, it can also be built in 7/8 or 4/4 sizes. The standard build (only available as a fully carved instrument) includes a solid wood flat back of moderately flamed American maple (authentic Prescott) starting at $11,000. Fully carved round-backed Concords start at $20,000.
Featured Builds: Below are just a few examples of recently built Upton Basses to give inspiration to your dream bass. Click on a bass to see a full photo shoot and hopefully they can help point the way to an instrument that’s right for you!
The quoted names are the new owners of these basses, each bass unique down to the dot markers. Note the build name for options, wood choices, and varnish color references when inquiring about your potential build!