Upton Cello ‘Church Bass’ 4/4 Violonocello

(1 customer review)


The Upton ‘Church Bass’ is a unique long-bodied cello with regular 4/4 cello scale length and tuning. It is directly inspired by the legacy of New England string instrument builders Abraham Prescott and the Dearborn Brothers.



The Upton Cello ‘Church Bass’ is a unique long-bodied voiloncello with regular 4/4 cello scale length and tuning. It is directly inspired by the legacy of the New England string instrument builders Abraham Prescott and the Dearborn Brothers.

In our private collection is a very original Dearborn ‘church bass’ dating back to the 1830s. These instruments were built to accompany small town church choirs long before they had the ability to afford reed or pipe organs. Abraham Prescott started his string instrument company in the late 1700s by selling church basses to small rural churches and his young apprentices the Dearborn brothers continued as his concentration moved to church organs. Our Dearborn church bass shares many Prescott bass details, such as the striking carved scroll, bee stinger inset brass scroll plates and hand hammered paddle tuning keys geared to the pegs. In appearance and playing feel it’s basically an elegant, long-bodied cello.

Two centuries later and short distance to the Connecticut coast, Upton Bass is proud to offer this Dearborn-patterned Upton “Church Bass” cello as a signature offering. Much like the Upton Concord Model Double Bass, we’ve preserved the cues of the original, right down to brass scroll plates. It retains all the ergonomic comfort and acoustic advantages of any Upton instrument, while being a direct pattern copy of this long-bodied example of American cello history. Based on enthusiasm from both cello and bass players, we believe it can fill a void for a substantial, grand-voiced cello.

The Upton “Church Bass” Cello is priced according to wood choice and build style, please enquire: +1 (860) 535-9399

Shown here in a standard fully-carved Eastern Maple build:

(Tailpiece pictured is custom order)

Why is a world renowned and internationally awarded double bass maker building cellos?

The cello and the double bass share such common musical ground. Just name a classical bassist that hasn’t worked on the Bach Cello Suites. The second lowest string of the cello is literally that of the double basses highest string, and the cellos lowest string (C) drills down into the first position of a double bass players A string. Upton Bass has spent years perfecting the balance, clarity, and presence of these string frequencies and how they react with the player and the instrument. It’s very exciting to apply our knowledge to the beautiful tonal palette of the cello.

Cellos at Upton Bass are made entirely by hand in our Mystic, Connecticut workshop, conveniently located between NYC and Boston, minutes off of Interstate 95.

Upton Bass String Instrument Co. specializes in building award-winning custom double basses and cellos, offering accessories for both. Upton Bass also services all instruments and bows of the violin family with world-class restoration and repair, to view our online restoration portfolio visit stringrepair.com Upton Bass is ready to offer advice and answer any questions regarding double basses or related bass topics. Please contact UB at sales@uptonbass.com or call the shop at +1 (860) 535-9399. Hours of operation Tuesday through Saturday 10 am – 6 pm. The Workshop (The Barn) and showroom are located in Mystic, Connecticut conveniently between Boston and NYC.

1 review for Upton Cello ‘Church Bass’ 4/4 Violonocello

  1. Elee05

    Upton did an amazing job with the Church Bass.

    The C and G strings are deep and powerful with the sweetspot about the F on the C string. The A and D strings are more subdued than a cello and gives the Church Bass its distinct voice. I would say that a cello has a tenor voice while the Church Bass has a baritone voice. The instrument reacts super fast to each bow stroke and the sound jumps out of the instrument with even the lightest touch.

    I am using the Church Bass for its original purposes and lead congregational singing at my church. The sound is so huge that without amplification, it can fill the entire sanctuary with its rich sound.

    Upton did a great job of blending the size and the cues from the original such as the thicker edges of the top and back with modern features such as a standard cello overstand to increase projection.

    Eric, Jack, Felicia, Gary and the rest of the team were very helpful and responsive during the entire build process.

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