Fully Carved Double Bass
4 and 5 string, 3/4 or 4/4 size, left handed available!
My Double Bass Links site gets a lot of traffic, and with that traffic comes a lot of questions. One has always been, "where can I get a really good bass -- for not a whole lot of money?" Well, now I have an answer. (Please note: bass prices are below)
I made a contact while at the NAMM show in 1999 with a representative for a company in Bulgaria, called Kremona*, that has been making stringed instruments since 1924. We discussed having them create a high quality, fully carved instrument at a more affordable price point. I asked that they carve me a 3/4 size double bass that I could audition, with the agreement that I would order more for distribution in the US if it met with my approval. Frankly, I didn't have high hopes, considering the price point, but was absolutely delighted when the bass arrived and I had a chance to examine and play it - it is the one pictured on the right. I only had a week to play it before somebody gobbled it up! Since then, as a result of my comments and criticisms, the latest instruments are better yet. I am the only dealer for these quality instruments.
* This company, Kremona, shouldn't be confused with other companies with similar names - they are not associated, for instance, with the Chinese manufacturer called "Cremona."
The double bass has the traditional solid spruce top and solid maple sides and back; the fingerboard is ebony, the tailpiece hardwood. The photo on the left is of the second bass I received, with measurements superimposed for your information. Measures are approximate and subject to slight changes, of course.
Prices start at $2950; pricing details are near the bottom of this page.
Yes, you see how attractive the instrument is, but the answer to the important question: it sounds great, with all the resonance and life that you would expect from a fully carved bass.
I have arranged for the instruments come from the shop with D'Addario Helicore Orchestra strings, so immediate replacement of the usual crummy placeholder strings is not necessary! In spite of their "orchestra" label, they have good sustain, clarity, and warmth, and IMHO are a great all-around string for any style.
In my experience, the basses are reasonably playable right out of the crate, usually only requiring a little work on the nut slots, unless you want very low action. The sound post will also need to be put into place; it is fitted, of course, just removed before shipping to prevent potential stress damage in transit.
You can potentially do these things yourself and I will provide guidance if requested. While playable, these are considered "factory" basses and are not set up, and I urge you to consider having yours optimized by a reputable luthier/repairperson for the best performance. Your environment may differ from the one in which the bass was constructed, and this can also affect the bass' action, of course. The cost of a setup will vary with the amount of work you feel needs to be done (as well as the credentials of the luthier you visit.) I have created a Luthiers Directory that you may wish to check out for options, though I'd also ask some local players or teachers to provide input on a particular luthier's talent and cost. Going to some luthiers for a setup can be similar to taking your car to a mechanic -- you need to judge exactly what you want done vs. what may be recommended, and choose the right shop for your budget and needs.
I cannot do the setup work for you as my hand problems no longer allow me to work on basses here. Plus, the opportunity of a direct shipment saves you the dollars it would cost to have the bass shipped here, first.
|"I bought one of Bob's Bulgarian basses about a month ago. I live nearby so I
was able to see it and try it before purchasing it. This instrument is a
great value. The workmanship is excellent and the sound just wonderful. In
fact, the more it is played the richer the tone seems. Bob installed strings
according to my specifications, a K and K transducer and setup the
instrument. He also offers very nice bag if one is needed. Whether played
acoustically or amplified, I am very pleased with my new instrument. Bob was
great to work with, which made for a very smooth transaction."
Jules DiRocco, 12/00
Hello. My name is Jose Garcia. I'm the Principal Double-bassist of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra. Recently I bought a five-string bass made in Bulgaria from Mr. Bob Gollihur. It's a great bass with full sound.The size is easy to play,very comfortable and rich in sound. This basses are good quality and promise to improved sound certainly by the years of use. They sound very strong even being so new. I strongly recommend Mr. Gollihur's offer. This basses are great. 7/01
And his second email of 8/18:
Thanks again for such a nice bass. Is wonderful. We go together like "horse & carriage". The sound is improving each time I play and in the thumb-position sounds nice too. You can even play solo stuff, fast things without lacking of clarity. The low-B is like a thunder. Take care and thanks again, Jose.
I got my Bulgarian double bass back from setup yesterday and took my first lesson. This instrument is absolutely amazing! The tone is exceptional: loud, rich, deeply resonant, extremely responsive, even from bottom to top, and it’s only going to get better with time. The luthier who performed the setup recently made and sold a $40,000 bass, and he said mine “turned out GREAT.” My teacher studied under the world-renowned Eugene Levinson, and she is the principal bassist for two orchestras and a professor at five universities. She told me “You got a GREAT deal!” and asked for Bob’s web address. Both of them said this not just a “starter” bass, but one that will last me many years. Bob has certainly earned the salutation “All hail Gollihur.” He is a gentleman and a scholar, a man of utmost integrity and deserving the highest respect. Bob always answered my newbie questions immediately and went the extra mile to make all my purchases smooth and enjoyable. In the thirty years I have been playing music, I have never done business with anyone better. Bob’s son Mark is really cool too. He was the first to reply when Bob was at the NAMM show, and he told me all about his rig and music projects. As I continue my upright bass “adventure,” I will return to Gollihur Music for my future needs. It’s the BEST, hands down! Thank you very much for everything, and cheers!!! Mike L****, 6-10-06
See additional comments below...
I am receiving all of the shop's output of these basses at this time; there are only two guys building them so the supply is limited and there is a waiting list. I am taking $200 good faith deposits (fully refundable before shipping) to reserve a future instrument. If you are interested in reserving an instrument or want to discuss any facet of the instruments or the deal, please contact us. .
BTW, if you are looking at "solid wood basses" make sure the instruments are actually carved from solid wood, like this bass. It has come to my attention that "solid wood" instruments are being sold that are not carved-- instead, the wood is softened and molded into shape, like some "solid wood" archtop guitars have been in the past. Be sure you're getting what you think you're getting.
Notice: Due to the steady demand I have made arrangements with the company to warehouse some additional non-preordered basses in the US. They usually are grabbed up before they get here, but I will list any available instruments below.
To demonstrate my confidence that you will be delighted with your bass, I'll gladly offer a seven day approval period for shipped basses, during which you can return the instrument for a full refund less shipping.
Yes, they will make Five String Basses, your choice, low B or high C. The one pictured was picked up by its new owner on 10/25/00, and he is a very happy player! See also Mr. Garcia's recent unsolicited testimonial. They are roughly the size of the 3/4 basses, with a slightly wider upper bout and a wider neck and fingerboard.
The pricing is $2950 for a four string and $3200 for a five string 3/4 size bass. The price is for the bass alone, and shipping (US) of approximately $200-325 will apply depending on the destination.
LEFT HANDED??? Yes, I can have a left hand bass made for $295 over the regular price. However, a more substantial down payment is required, nonrefundable once the instrument is being built, and the approval period does not apply. With such a minimal market for left handed basses, I'm sure you understand that I cannot afford to sit on one.
Outside North America - I am able to make arrangements for a direct shipment from the shop in Bulgaria to players in many locations outside North America -- inquire for details.
I recorded a brief bit of me playing one of the basses several years ago and converted it to a 450K .mp3 file; email me for the address to download it. It isn't pretty but will give you an idea of the sound ;-)
Ordering: To order a bass, please mail a $200* check or money order (sorry, deposits cannot be made by credit card) to me along with...
I will mail you a receipt and confirmation once the deposit is received. You may request a refund of the $200 deposit for a standard bass right up to the shipping date; special orders are binding, once the bass construction for a special instrument has begun, it is yours and the deposit is not refundable. However, this usually only applies to left-handed or 1/2, 4/4 size instruments.
- your choice of bass type:
- four or five string bass; if five string, low B or high C string
- gloss or matte (flat) finish
- regular or darker color (I think the gloss, darker finish is the prettiest of the lot). The photo matrix below shows a standard gloss finish in the top row, a standard matte finish in the bottom row.
- size; 3/4 is the "normal" bass size. We can have 1/2 and 4/4 size basses made but the deposit will be higher for this special order, and the 4/4 bass is $295 over the 3/4 model.
- please note if a left-handed model is wanted; the deposit will be higher for this special order
- your home address and phone number
- delivery address and phone number; you can save money by shipping to a business (regular 9-5 store/office in a business district). This information can be supplied later when we are ready to ship.
*special order instruments require a higher deposit, contact me for details.
Please feel free to call or email me to chat, or if you have specific questions about the instruments.