On November 6, 2015, our beloved Karr-Koussevitsky bass was on its way from Atlanta to Rochester when it was damaged.

Madeleine Crouch, ISB General Manager wrote:

Colin Corner had the KK bass reserved for months for his concert with his alma mater, the Rochester Symphony. The bass made it into Atlanta from Albuquerque without incident, and Colin shipped it via Southwest air freight into Rochester. They told him they wouldn’t need to open his Kolstein trunk, which looked just fine when he landed so he waited until he got to the Kodak hall to open the trunk. That’s when he saw that the neck was knocked loose, almost certainly from the trunk being dropped.

It could have been worse, and as Colin said when he called, “Fortunately, I’m standing next to a luthier” and put Mike Griffin on the phone. We discussed options and he recommended and executed repairs that will stabilize the neck for Colin’s performance and return trip home. Once it’s back at Robertson’s, their team can evaluate and make further needed repairs. Our grateful thanks to Mike for clearing his schedule to provide expert care for the KK bass on short notice.

I then called our wonderful insurers, Anderson Musical Instrument Solutions. Barbara Riley assured us that they are our partner in returning the bass to good health.

We’re happy to report, that Mike Griffin was able to repair the bass and get it in shape to play for the concerts on November 8.  Colin Corner reported on his Facebook Page:  “She’s back and sounding as good as ever!!!”

Takeaways:

When we hear about basses that get damaged in transit, it makes us shudder and cross our fingers for the next time we fly with our “babies”.  Here are a few things to think about as you go out on your next trip.

  1. Have insurance for your bass.  As an ISB member, you have access to affordable insurance to cover you when things go wrong.
  2. Take special care with the neck of your bass.  The neck is the most vulnerable part of the instrument.  Be sure that it is strapped down safely.  Another option (if your instrument can handle the procedure) might be to have it retrofit with a removable neck.  It makes the instrument appear smaller and it might even make your bass sound better.  There are a growing number of us out there doing it (ie. John Clayton, Rufus Reid, Kristin Korb, Dianna Gannet, David Murray, Mark Dresser, etc.)
  3. Inspect your instrument before leaving baggage claim.  Even if the hard case looks fine, open it.  You never know what has happened inside.  Opening it in the airport guarantees that the problems can be dealt with immediately.  Hopefully, all you’ll see is your instrument still in one piece.