construction: bolt-on neck
body back and sides: walnut
body top: spruce
neck: walnut and maple
owner: Claudio Berla
At the beginning of 2014 I broke up with my girlfriend after a longtime relationship and a close relative died, so Chris asked me to come over for a holiday trip. I had seen that Chris was working on a 5-string acoustic bass and I knew that he for some reasons in the workflow always built instruments in at least pairs. The bass used beautiful two colored walnut timber and so I asked Chris if the twin bass was made out of the same wood and still available. He replied, yes, but come over for holiday first.
Chris and his wife Syra are lovely hosts and the place where they live is stunning – out on the west coast of Kerry. I had in mind to return with an acoustic bass, so I drove all the way to Ireland. The roadtrip helped me to clear out my mind and I visited an old friend near the ferry port of Fishguard that I haven’t seen in a very long time.
The bass was still there, I bought it, we spent hours of talking, made some music and I got to know friends of Chris and Syra. I had a very good time.
The bass is an acoustic flattop with a quite slim neck for me and a wide body. Chris’s acoustic basses are based on his jumbo acoustic guitars with a deeper body. The bass is a bit top heavy, but quite light in general. Chris only used Irish timber for this bass. Due to its light construction you cannot use standard steel core strings, bridge and top can’t handle the tension of steel strings. Acoustically the bass is quite loud and sometimes I use the bass with an all acoustic band lineup – two voices, guitar, bass and cajon – and it works quite well. Volume is fine down to E, even D with new strings. You have to play forcefully, but it sounds like a bass and you can hear it. I use this bass with high action.
Amplified it sounds fine as the RMC preamp works well. When miced the sound is way better, but especially in live situations micing causes all kinds of troubles. I switch between Newtones and Acousticcore now and then. The Acousticcores sound warmer but with less volume, but they are perfect for recording. The steelcores (ultra low tension) deliver less bass with a bit more low mids and seem to be louder. The tension is quite similar, but I have to adjust the trustrod a bit.