To build our first Victor Wooten double bass we started with tracings of his centuries-old Carcassi instrument. The outline was so asymmetrical, we thought it would be better as a NEW instrument to correct the outline, and we created two mirror images, yielding very different basses, and opened it up to social media for feedback on which outline was preferred.
Ultimately we went with our gut (sorry internet!) as, without the context of the SIZE of the bass, the smaller upper shoulders weren’t needed for ergonomics, while maintaining the character of the original aesthetically and keeping as much air volume in the already petite body was needed for tone.
After deciding on a pattern, we got to work on the foundation, creating a new inside form to build the ribs on. Our first prototype would be a hybrid, to work out the pattern and geometries with a quicker build.
Interestingly enough, the Carcassi had a straight rib assembly (no taper) to the widest point of the upper shoulders, and then a canted back. The angle of the cant is the same on our award-winning Brescian model, so by using geometries we knew already, all we had to do was reduce the rib depth from the 8.5″ Brescian depth to the 7″ Carcassi depth. In many ways, the Carcassi is a small version of our Brescian, as the arching height and neck length are also the same.
Having the original to study, we were able to trace an exact ff-hole and place it on the body in line with the original.
As we were nearing completion, Victor asked us to get a Yin & Yang on the bass, so we asked him for a quick drawing… We stylized it into a digital format and laser engraved it on the bass. We loved that it was a profile of our own unique scroll!
The first prototype Victor Wooten double bass from Upton Bass finished! And already work had begun on the follow up – a fully carved Travel Bass.
STAY TUNED FOR PART 3!