The name Abraham Prescott is to double bassists what Stradivari is to violinists.
Are you intrigued by the Prescott double bass? Prescott double basses have been owned and performed on by some of the most celebrated orchestras and bassists in the U.S., including the likes of Scott LaFaro and Arvel Shaw. Highly sought after and prized for their both beauty and tone, Prescott contrabasses are not coveted just for their name but for the quality of their construction.
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 cellos, violins and even key based instruments like melodians. Abraham began his own apprenticeship in his uncle’s woodworking shop, nestled in the pine forests near the Massachusetts border. It’s believed he took up the violin and learned about the construction of viol instruments from his own fiddle, and from these rugged origins the first genuine New England bass was born. It is thought he began making fiddles at a very early age and soon switch to 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 was perfecting his craft and refining the models.
After making hundreds of upright basses in our Connecticut shop and working on numerous Prescotts- either for sale, repair or restoration- 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 and Eric got together and began plans for a Precott-esque bass in the spring of 2012. They combined the classic Prescott double bass pattern with modern ergonomics with a goal of creating a classic hand-crafted New England style instrument using the finest wood choices from our select stores of old dry spruce and big leaf maple. See an example of a similar Prescott double bass here. The result was our first all New England double bass: the UB Concord. Old Yankee in both style and build and made completely in our Mystic, Connecticut workshop- a traditional post and beam barn (raised by our own employees!)- the Concord is the first truly authentic New England contrabass that we’ve made. Beautiful sloping shoulders (the same upper bouts as our Gary Karr Upton Double Bass), 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 that pay homage to Prescott while keeping with our own highly-revered and uniquely New England tradition of instrument building.
Tonally, this bass is similar to our UB Brescian model double bass – deep, dark and punchy with tonal color abound with rich, pipe organ lows under the bow. In fact, if the Brescian isn’t your aesthetic taste and you prefer something more Gamba or Busetto in pattern, this bass is the tonal equivalent of Brescian with the same canted flat back and similar arching.
The Concord pictured is a large 3/4 instrument, however it can be built as a 7/8 or 4/4 as well. The standard build (only available as a fully carved instrument) includes a solid wood flat back of moderately flamed American maple (authentic Prescott double bass) starting at $10,500 but can be made as a round backed bass for $20,000. Higher quality wood choices can also be substituted for an additional charge- call Gary to discuss: +1 (860) 535-9399. Ask about our simple financing!