3 Fallsview Lane
Brewster, NY 10509
AES Fine Instruments, bass players and their instruments are
handled with respect, professionalism and a caring attitude.
The double bass is not treated like the stepson of the stringed
instrument family, but rather as the majestic and irreplaceable
foundation of the orchestra or jazz band.
shop is a small, personalized service and sales business.
We are not predominantly a retail outlet. Bassists seeking
instruments and/or accessories at the lowest possible competitive
price are respectfully advised to shop elsewhere.
E. Schnitzer is a member of the Guild of American Luthiers,
The Violin Society of
America and the International Society of Bassists. Before
becoming a a full-time luthier, he received a conservatory
degree in music performance and composition, played in two
symphonic orchestras for a number of years, studied jazz bass
with Dave Holland and Michael Moore, toured, recorded, and
played local jazz and pop gigs for about 20 years. He was
mentored in guitar and bass guitar making by Carl Thompson,
and later in bass restoration by Lou DiLeone of New Haven,
good friend and mentor, Lou DiLeone
father was a skilled cabinetmaker and carpenter, and he was
exposed to woodworking from an early age. Building, restoring,
and adjusting double basses is a natural outgrowth of his
acumen and interest in both music and woodworking.
of this writing I am both enthused and dismayed by the current
state of double bass making. On the positive side, I believe
there is a renaissance afoot resulting in some of the finest
basses ever made. Meticulous and well-trained artisans all
over the world are applying their skills to the best materials
available, creating instruments which meet the highest standards
of workmanship and tone. On the less-than-positive side I
see a market flooded with less-than-mediocre instruments built
in a hurry from beautiful woods which are essentially being
wasted on instruments of this caliber. Many of these basses
are being constructed from unseasoned lumber, using inappropriate
adhesives; factors which will doom these instruments to short
and trouble-prone lives. Somewhere in the middle are shops
in Europe, Asia, and the Americas which are making decent
basses with decent materials and workmanship, and selling
them for a reasonable price. There will always be a need for
mid-level basses in that category.
has become an expectation that string instruments should last
not for decades, but for centuries. Basses built with mediocre
workmanship, materials or adhesives cannot meet that expectation,
nor should they. Hand-made instruments should be constructed
in a way that allows them to survive the unknown stresses
of a long, useful lifespan. Of course there will be accidents,
unexpected feats of nature, and basic wear-and-tear. But the
enlightened instrument-maker takes these things into account
when selecting and seasoning materials, carving and finishing
his instruments, and fitting them up for their life of music-making.
are very large in comparison to all the other members of the
string instrument family. Because of their sheer mass, wood
movement is a much more prevalent problem. All wood changes
in dimension in relation to humidity and temperature; the
change occurs mainly across its width. Wood that has been
well aged and dried stands a much better chance of surviving
in instrument form, because it is more stable. It is crucial
that the instrument-maker take into account the climatic tendencies
of the area in which the instrument is likely to spend its
life. For example, a bass made of wood air-dried in the humid
tropics, which is then played in the dry winter of Canada,
will undoubtedly crack and shrink.
am very careful in regard to the age and moisture content
of the wood I use in my handmade basses. I also work to maintain
a fairly constant humidity level in my workshop and studio,
averaging between 38 and 45% year-round. The use of hide glue
in all joints is a kind of safety valve; if two connected
parts encounter intense stress from wood movement, the glue
joint will usually give way before a crack forms. I believe
in building basses with adequate overhangs (5mm or more).
This provides some margin of error should seams open and need
to be repositioned.
takes me between 300 and 400 hours to complete a double bass.
During that time I like to envision the player for whom I
am building, as well as the beautiful music this instrument
will make. This keeps me focused on the end-result, rather
than getting caught up in the tedious process work involved.
I like to work to the sounds of classical music or fine jazz.
Like the expectant mother who exposes her child to great music
while still in the womb, Im hoping to give each of my
offspring a head start.
and bows are consigned at a commission rate of 15% of sale
price. Instruments will only be accepted if they are reasonably
healthy and playable.
Instruments that are unplayable or need considerable repair
are always sought out as restoration and resale candidates.
Basses from all geographic areas, and of any age will be considered.
and Consignments of Basses and Bows
when the table of my beloved Italian double bass was cracked
in that tragic accident, I feared the worst. But after your
amazing restoration work, I really believe the instrument
sounds better than ever! You've taken the silver lining and
upgraded it to golden. Thank you for turning a tragedy into
a blessing!" Nicholas Walker,
Associate Professor, Performance Studies, Ithaca College
You, Arnold for all your meticulous work, particularly as
embodied in the new bass. The design and its rendering are
both magnificent." Laurence
Glazener, Principal Bass, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra
of the great luthiers...thanks for all the wonderful work."
Eddie Gomez, jazz great
enjoy Arnold's fine work every time I pick up my bass. It
sounds as well as antique instruments twice and even three
times it's price. It's easy to get around on and has a really
lovely tone." Joel Reist,
Principal Bass, Nashville Symphony
Violin Society of America
like to thank Les Manse for the pictures of "Monty"
that inspired the design of this site.
send any comments or suggestions for this site to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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