Something historical happened at the 2015 ISB Convention in Ft. Collins, Colorado.  A double bass was made in just one week!  

Over forty bass builders, luthiers, and repairmen from all points on the globe joined forces, put on work aprons, sharpened their tools, and got to work.  Under the able guidance of Paul Hart, this double bass took shape right in front of the eyes of the entire convention population.  Working in shifts from early morning to late at night, sharing ideas and stories, techniques and tricks, this unique party of bass builders built a magnificent copy of a Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume double bass (arch back, violin corners, with antique varnish).  From rib bending, arch carving, purling making, soundhole shaping, bass bar building, box gluing, scroll sculpting, fingerboard planing, neck setting, varnish drying, bridge building, to string tuning – all in one week!  

What would become of this unique creation?  Raffle tickets were purchased by most at the convention because at the end of the week this new instrument was to be given to one lucky winner to with as they pleased!  One ticket was fifty dollars, two tickets was ninety dollars, three tickets was one-hundred and twenty dollars, four tickets sold for one-hundred and forty dollars, and five tickets sold for one-hundred and fifty dollars.  All the money went back to the International Society of Bassists and nearly $15,000 was raised!

Convention participants were able to visit, ask questions, and see first hand the effort and skill required to build a double bass.  People watched in awe as the bass took form over the course of the week.  No where else on earth could this happen except at an ISB convention!

With the success of the 2015 Build-A-Bass, Paul Hart has thrown down the gauntlet and in the upcoming 2017 ISB Convention in Ithaca, New York:

We are going to attempt to build TWO double basses!  Yes, TWO BASSES!

If you are a bass builder, repairman, or luthier and can donate a couple of hours to help us build these instruments, please email either Paul Hart at plhart@cut.net or Dustin Williams at dustin@williamsfineviolins.com and let them know. We are asking every bass luthier who attends the Convention to help.  All the money earned from the raffle tickets goes right back to the ISB so this is a wonderful way to give back to the organization that has done so much for us all.  If you are not able to help directly, luthiers, please come by and just hang!

If you are going to attend the 2017 ISB Convention in Ithaca, New York this summer, make sure to come by and watch the building of this bass and make sure to purchase your raffle ticket!  Odds are good that you could go home with a one-of-a-kind double bass built by the world’s best bass luthiers – in just one week!

ISB’s Build-a-Bass program is made possible through the generous support of Upton Bass.