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The Gollihur Music Blog

Great new gear coming soon!

'Tis the season! The NAMM show takes place in early January, and manufacturers come out with awesome new gear. I'm taking a pass on the show this year, but we're already starting to get some new gear (and we'll have a few key new items in February) that are sure to get your GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) flowing!

Check out the new BiX preamp from Grace Design, a small-format life preamp for acoustic pickups. Or the brand new Genzler 350/10 combo - an amp that sounds amazing for both electric and upright basses. Or the newly redesigned EA Doubler-2, which features upgraded power and specs, and an updated chassis - we have it IN STOCK for immediate shipment!

We're looking forward to bringing you a bunch more cool stuff, keep an eye on our "New Products" list for updates!

Sometimes the 'Best' Deal... Isn't.

Just like everyone, I like paying less. In fact, I've talked about it quite a bit in our newsletters over the years - hunting bargains is a bit of a hobby of mine. Of course, my wife says I'm destined to "go broke, saving money," but I digress...

Product counterfeiting is a real thing. D'Addario was openly highlighting their issues with it back in 2010, with this blog post (which specifically talks about illegal copies of their guitar strings.) And one of our competitors recently sent out a blast email saying that they have evidence that there are "fakes" of Thomastik and Pirastro double bass strings coming into the US Market from Asia. Other products can be counterfeited, too - there was a big kerfuffle a little over a decade ago with fake Oktava mics hitting the American market (and sold, unknowingly, through big music stores, too!)

Gollihur Music has close to a 20-year working relationship with both Pirastro and the one authorized Thomastik US Distributor, and I can tell you that I've confirmed that there are some people selling strings who are "getting around" the system. All that I'm suggesting is that you ask that the store you buy from is sourcing their strings (and other items) directly from the authorized source(s). You can rest assured, Gollihur Music always does - we have always provided *genuine* goods at a fair price. And as for strings, we always offer free shipping, to all 50 states (on sets AND single strings)! ...as well as offering "extras" like added tip sheets, instructions and bonus items.

-- Mark

Uniting the Nation of Bass

I'm quite lucky, in that I really love what I do. Every day, I have the opportunity to speak with bassists from all around the world, and do my best to help them solve their bass-related concerns. And I'm able to provide a wide variety of products from manufacturers who are situated all over the planet, as well. That's kind of cool, if you think about it.

It made me realize that there was more to the whole "Nation of Bass" phrase that Bob coined so many years ago, to describe our (now ubiquitous) BASS Oval sticker that goes out with every order; stores like ours can really connect people in one corner of the world with their solutions -- which might be made in another corner of the world. And it's a real privilege to be the liaison for that sort if problem-solving.

So in our most recent edition of our Bass Notes Newsletter [subscribe here] is a "World's Fair" of sorts... I'm spotlighting some of the bass items that we are able to bring to you, from a host of other countries around the globe. Hopefully, you'll find it interesting to see just what a global village it is that we live in -- and know that we're happy to make it just a little smaller for you.

-- Mark

P.S.: Hey, did you notice we did a little sprucing up at the website? We made some minor design changes to refresh the look a bit without changing everything. A bit cleaner overall, with some improved navigation (many of our important links are in a menu across the top, now, for easier access!)

Hope you like it!

The Gollihur Music Difference

I'm very aware that there are lots of places, particularly online, that you can spend your bass dollars. If you have a local mom-and-pop music shop, I don't mind losing your business to them; we should support our local "bricks and mortar" stores whenever possible. But for those upright bass items you can only easily find online, we work hard to always be your first place to shop.

As I was assembling the latest shipment of Krivo pickups this morning into our custom packaging, it occurred to me that it was a perfect example of how we do that. Here we have a specialized upright bass product, hand-made in the USA. Only a few stores even carry it. Could you find it somewhere else, maybe at eBay, or at another online store? Probably. You might even find it a dollar or two cheaper.

But here's where the difference is: We don't just want you to buy it -- we want you to love using it. We want you to be able to open it up, install it yourself without difficulty, get great sound without frustration, and have everything you will need to do so already in the box.

On the left is how everyone else, to my knowledge, ships the pickup. It's how Jason at Krivo provides it - a hand-made pickup in a bubble-wrap packet. On the right is what you get from Gollihur Music when you order a Krivo:
  • The Pickup, wrapped in the bubble-wrap packet
  • Packed into a retail-style cardboard container with peanuts to protect it in shipping
  • A special 4-piece jack mount kit for easily mounting the jack to your tailpiece
  • An instruction sheet, written by yours truly, so you don't have to go it alone
Now, are these extras expensive? Not really; all told, the box, sticker, jack mount kit and printed paper don't cost me a significant amount of money. But what hopefully makes the difference is that I saved you the the time figuring out what parts you'll need for the jack mount kit (and sourced them for you so you don't need to make a trip to the hardware store). And I fussed with the pickup to determine what you need to know to have a successful install, and shared that information with you before you had to ask. And I went through the trouble (just this morning, in fact) to pack it all into a nice box that will protect the pickup -- and give you the feeling that we really care about the impression you get when you open a package we've sent to you.

We don't just do this for the Krivo, of course. You get tip sheets, extra stuff, and in-depth instructions for all sorts of things you buy from us -- strings, bridges, preamps, pickups, amplifiers, bass buggies and wheels, bows... the list goes on. We strive to provide you with the answers you need before you've even asked the questions. (But we're also here to answer the questions we didn't anticipate!)

This is the philosophy that has driven the way we do things from the very beginning, when Bob first started shipping K&K Pickups back in 1997 -- and is the basis of what I continue to make a guiding principle today. I sincerely hope that you notice "The Gollihur Music Difference," and know that we will continually strive to exceed your expectations every day.

Knowing Enough to be Dangerous

There's a strongly held opinion that the setting up and repair of the doublebass is some sort of a "mysterious art;" that things that involve making some sawdust on one's bass should only be done by professional luthiers. And yes, there is definitely some merit to that point of view -- there are jobs that require an in-depth understanding (and quite often, expensive, specialized tools.) And, as I have learned from experience, some of the bigger, more complicated jobs actually cost less, in the long run, if you have them done by a competent repair-person (rather than messing them up yourself and subsequently paying someone else to fix your mistakes).

And that's why we have an extensive, free directory of luthiers on our site for your convenience, for those jobs that are above and beyond what a hobbyist should probably attempt.

That said...

One of the many useful habits I inherited from my Dad (Bob) is the willingness to just jump in and fix something when it breaks down. Yes, "I know enough to be dangerous" has turned out to be more of a truism than I'd like to admit, on occasion. But more often than not, I've been happy to discover that a little patience, some knowledge, and a positive attitude have gotten me through, whether it be repairing a minor plumbing issue in my home, rebuilding the front end of the car I carelessly slid through a stop sign as a teenager, or making some basic adjustments on my bass.

I'm pretty sure that Bob, in turn, learned this trait from his father. My Grandpop, Estle Louis Gollihur (at right) was a man who worked with his hands his whole life; even in retirement, he had a workshop in his basement where he made furniture, stained glass, wooden trinkets and clocks with fancy scroll-work -- whatever tickled his fancy. And, he often said those words above: "If a man made it, another man can fix it." (Worth noting: He also used to love to say "if it won't fit, form it." That's probably not very good advice when it comes to fixing your upright bass.)

His "I can fix anything" attitude is what enabled Bob to obtain his first upright bass, which was a "rescue" from the basement of a neighbor. It had no hardware, no fingerboard, and a garish paint job (it had last been used as a magician's prop!) My Grandpa, who until then had no real experience with the specifics of working on musical instruments, set to work with my Dad (then a teenager) rehabbing that bass. They sourced parts, they did some reading and asking around, and they were able to bring that bass back to life.

That '41 Kay bass (at left) was the one that Bob later took to college, and has played about a zillion gigs on. It's also the instrument upon which Engelhardt loosely based our special exclusive model basses. And my Dad still has -- and plays -- that very special bass to this day (in spite of its unusual past, it really sounds amazing!)

And, as you might have picked up on, this father-son bass experience led my Dad to christen our special lineup of Laminated and Carved Basses with the name "Estle Louis," as a quiet sort of tribute to his own dad's contribution to his musical journey.

So, now you've met my grandfather, on this brief, self-indulgent detour down memory lane. But it was all to say: yes, sometimes it pays to hire someone to do the job; if your bass needs big repairs, special work, etc., you should consult a pro.

But when it all came down to it, it was just another man (or woman) who built it, so if you've got a reasonable facility with hand tools, some of the less intensive jobs -- installing new strings, cutting a bridge, fitting a new pickup -- certainly could be within your skill set. All you need is a little knowledge and perhaps a bit of swagger. And doing your own work can be a great confidence-booster and make you more familiar with your instrument (and how to make it sing.) We do our best to provide you with as much help as we can, and we send you specific tip sheets with lots of the products we sell. And if you want to check one of our tip sheets out before you buy, to see if you can handle doing it yourself? Just ask!

-- Mark

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