Man, are there ever a lot of good-looking summer bass events coming up! Don’t forget about the National High School Music Institute (where yours truly is teaching) if you’re a high schooler!
2010 VSA Oberlin Bass Workshop: “Everyone teaches, everyone learns”
This principle set out by Vahakn Nigosian has been the basis of all of the workshops at Oberlin College sponsored by the Violin Society of America. With this in mind, the first ever VSA Oberlin workshop devoted to the double bass will take place at Oberlin College June 6-12, 2010. At this workshop, people who make, repair, restore and play the double bass will come together to share their experience, knowledge and ideas. While most of the participants will be professionals, the workshop is open to anyone with an interest in making repairing, restoring or playing the double bass. By helping each other, makers raise the standards of the profession to the benefit of all.
To register, e-mail jamespeterham – at – shaw.ca with name, address and phone number. You will be contacted by Oberlin College with registration and housing information. Fee is $650.00, dormitory room is $225.00. Registration deadline is March 15th, and fees must be paid by April 1, 2010.
About the workshop and directors:
David Gage, bass repairer/restorer/dealer, New York, www.davidgage.com/
Jim Ham, bass maker/restorer, Victoria BC Canada, www.hamstringsmusic.com/
Jay Vandekopple, bass player/ restorer, former chair of CAS forum (Catgut Acoustical Society)
There will be presentations and demonstrations on various bass related topics by the directors of the workshop and others always with the attitude that “this is how I do it but it’s not necessarily the “right” way or the “best way” lets explore it and find out! Contrasting ideas from participants will be sought and encouraged.
Participants are encouraged to bring tools and works in progress. There will be ample space, workbenches and access to a well equipped woodworking shop. The difficulties of travel with basses and tools will make this impossible for some, so we hope to organize into project groups.
Part of each day will be devoted to organized presentations but much time (afternoons and evenings too) will be devoted to these projects.
The friendly and collegial fun isn’t confined to the shop. The Bass Workshop will take place simultaneously with the VSA Oberlin Acoustics Workshop, and there will be shared meal times and possibly some sessions. Everyone will chip in on the cost of breakfast and dinner and take turns helping to cook and clean. These meals and conversations are always great and offer a vegetarian choice. The Acoustics Workshop attracts top notch violin makers and scientists from all over the world and this adds to a rich environment of sharing ideas. For lunch there are lots of restaurants and food stores nearby.
Multiple award-winning bow maker Rodney Mohr has offered to do a session on bass bow rehair/repair and members of the Cleveland Orchestra bass section have expressed interest in attending, so we’re hoping to have a players-meet-luthier session with them and their instruments.
Among the participants at the Acoustics Workshop will be Fan Tao of D’Addario, a world leader in developing new strings for the double bass, and George Stoppani, an acoustic scientist, bass maker and maker of gut strings, plus many world class scientist and makers of string instruments from all over the world.
Topics for possible discussion include:
1. The fingerboard
-fitting, shaping and surfacing
-arco/pizz vibration of the string, how they differ and affect the fingerboard
2. The bridge
-methods of fitting
-selection and adaptation to players needs (classical/jazz)
3. The sound post
-adjustment for sound and playability
-causes and repair approaches (“ideal world” vs. real world)
-Innovative approaches to major repairs using vacuum bagging and steam
5. The science of wood
-its effect on how instruments work (or fail)
6. The bow
-rehairing and repairs
7. Wolf notes
-what causes them
-how to cope with them
8. Acoustics of the double bass
-what’s been done
-what’s being done
-how can we use it?
Topics may be added or omitted depending on the desires or ideas of the participants. For more information email Jim Ham, jamespeterham – at – shaw.ca.