About Ross Double Bass
Ross Double Bass is owned and operated by luthier Bob Ross as one of the only shops in CO specializing in double basses exclusively. In addition to repair & restoration services, instrument setup & C-extensions, Ross Double Bass also has a full showroom of new and used instruments available for sale. If you are a student or touring musician we have basses on hand for rentals ranging from solid-wood professional-level instruments to 1/2 size laminate models for beginners. As well, we keep a well-stocked inventory of necessities including a variety of strings, pickups, bows & rosin.
About Robert Ross
What can I say – I just love the double bass and enjoy working on double basses.
During high school, when to paraphrase Dylan Thomas “there were wolves in Wales and the Hudson River Valley” I played cello and remember thinking the double bass was big and little clunky sounding. My conception of the double bass changed completely when I got a recording of the Bill Evans Trio and listened to Scott La Faro playing on “Nardis” .
I started working on basses because of my friend, the great bass player Paul Warburton. Paul has played with a long list of great jazz players: most prominently for a short time he played with the Bill Evans Trio, Philly Jo Jones on drums. Paul has also played and toured with Stan Getz, Cal Tjader, Richie Cole and Pharaoh Sanders. When I met him the now retired luthier Bob Monroney was restoring and setting up instruments that Paul would then resell. I had been a fan of Paul’s playing for many years and we would sometimes talk between sets. I was working at the time doing custom woodwork and these conversations led to my doing some finish and repair work for Paul.
For some years we had a partnership and my first basses where jointly designed with Paul. In additional to the occasional commission, most of my work now is restoration, repair and set up of basses. I am trying to find time to build some new basses and hope to have one completed by the end of this year (2007). I also rely on the advice, ears and humor of my friend and colleague Kent McLagan.
Kent is one of the most curious and observant people I have ever known. He has engineering degrees from Yale and Stanford and as a bassist has recorded with Jane Ira Bloom. In addition to making wonderful sounding double basses Kent plays in a group called Random Axe with saxophonists Mark Harris and Glenn Nitta. He often plays with and has recorded with trumpeter Ron Miles.
If you have do work for a group of people, a bunch of double bassists is a pretty good choice. It’s a treat to be able to make a student’s (or teacher’s) instrument easier to play and hopefully sound better as well Its also fun to work on instrument that was built more than 100 years ago and has labels and the repair tags from different places and times. (Sometimes these can be pretty idiosyncratic like the 60’s era pin up glued on to the bottom of the neck block of a very old Bohemian flatback by some lusty repairman!) I’ve had the opportunity on a number of occasions to restore a badly damaged instrument, one that had sat neglected and unstrung for years. There’s always a nervous excitement when I string these back up and hear what their voice is like after all these years.
Probably the most fun of all is to hear great players make music on an instrument you’ve made. Sometimes its a concert setting, i.e. Dave Phillips playing with Freedance, Luis Alves playing with Joao Donato and Claudio Slon. Sometimes its a more serendipitous impromptu setting, an incredible ~ fifteen minute improvised concert by Mark Dresser, Joe Carver playing one of the Bach Cello suites, or more recently Paul and Bill McCrossen playing bass duos at my house – (Bill playing on Arnold Schnitzer’s first bass) and DaXun Zhang playing something from the Silk Road Project in the lobby of the Colony Center in Greeley.
I listen to every player and ask questions to try to figure out what kind of sound they’re trying to get from the instrument. Hopefully I learn something from each player and each bass that I meet or have the opportunity to work with.