Introducing a new generation of The Ergo double bass! This modern contrabass is a joint collaboration between Upton Bass and Arnold E. Schnitzer, developing his unique Ergonomic Contrabass for production here at Upton Bass.
At Upton Bass, we’re always trying to apply tabula rasa, or “clean slate” thinking. That’s exactly what drove our colleague Arnold to design this futuristic, ergonomic double bass: “It is asymmetrical as a matter of form following function. The upper bout is wide enough to allow for a deep, punchy tone, yet the reduced treble side shoulder provides outstanding access to the upper register. The lower bout of the treble side was enlarged by the same amount as the reduction in the upper bout in order to maintain tonal balance between the treble and bass halves. The back slopes gently up to a thin neck block, allowing the player to nestle closely to the bass, keeping the bow arm in a naturally relaxed position.“
We’ve always been drawn to Arnold’s original Ergonomic Contrabasses and are not alone – they’ve won multiple ISB honors and praise from some of the world’s finest bassists. With offset bouts and sound ports on the player’s side, the Ergo is immediately striking. It naturally leans comfortably in to the player’s shoulder and the sound ports provide an immediate acoustic response.
Luthier’s notes from Eric: “This was a fun build and challenging at the same time. The bass was built on Arnold’s form, and after having built so many basses on our forms, using our systems, it was interesting to get into another luthier’s head and do things their way. It’s subtle, but even how Arnold mounts the blocks is different, and the accumulation of all those subtle differences in building add up. Another challenge was the arching. From day one in violin making school, we’re taught symmetry, and this bass is not symmetrical! I thought there would be freedom in that going into it, but I found it to be mentally challenging.“
“It’s a great build and well thought out…it’s a nice balance of modern needs in ergonomics while maintaining a sense of tradition, and I can’t wait to start in on the next one!“
You can experience the Ergo for yourself in our showroom! We hope to make this innovative design available to more double bassists, adding it to our list of Custom Commission double basses with the support and input of Arnold E. Schnitzer.
As with any Upton Bass build, the custom instrument building process begins with you. The instrument pictured is fully carved, built with lightly figured domestic Maple back and sides.