We are happy to present this addition to our excellent Estle Louis bass line from Gollihur Music.
Our newest Estle Louis laminated bass is here; we're calling it the "Scholar" model. It's an excellent bass for students and developing bassists, thanks to its price point - but it is a great, full sounding bass, and would suit semi-pros and other working bassists as well! Mark even used one of these basses onstage in a theatre show in 2022 -- see photos! But note that the bluish stage lighting makes the color "pop" a lot. The main photos were taken in natural light and give a more "real" indication of what you can expect to receive.
Two beautiful finishes are available; a traditional warm amber with light fade accents, or a darker "burst" design that fades to darker edges. it's a good-looking bass that's also got it going on under the hood, where it counts - tone.
The bass features fully laminated construction. This is the fancy way of saying that it's a plywood bass - which sounds vulgar, because it's certainly not the kind of plywood you find at your local home improvement warehouse. These are carefully selected thin plys of wood that are glued and pressed over a form to shape the instrument, and it's a process that has been common in bass-making since at least the early 1900s. A laminated bass is more durable and less subject to undesirable swelling and contracting with the weather and humidity - this makes it perfect for a student or a gigging bassist who doesn't want to (or can't) spend the effort/time/extra care to handle the bass "with kid gloves" to protect it from cracking, etc. It's also going to be a lot cheaper than a solid wood carved bass, all else being equal.
As mentioned before, the finish is a lovely antiqued amber with a subtle brown fade at some of the edges, or a more defined brown "sunburst" design; both basses have a polished, semi-gloss finish. The maple back and side top veneers have a nice light flame to them - very pretty! Like our very popular "Ed" rockabilly bass, the edges are reinforced with ornamental coping to provide a larger contact point between the sides and top/back, making for a durable, solid instrument.
The bass also has real ebony fittings (fingerboard, nut and saddle) - not the cheap "ebonized" hardwoods or other less expensive woods. Real inlaid purfling is around the edges (not a painted pinstripe - those are for cars) and quality tuning machines for stable and confident tuning. A real carved scroll is at the top of the pegbox, not a glued-on volute. And finally, a quality, proper maple bridge with aluminum adjuster wheels, so you can fine-tune the string height for your preference or for string changes.
The Gollihur Music Estle Louis (pronounced ESS-tull LEW-iss) Scholar basses are available with Gamba style corners (inward curves; see explanation below) in ¾ size - in both right-handed and left-handed options. The price includes the professional set-up, which includes a custom fitted adjustable bridge and quality strings. Your brand-new bass is strung up and READY TO PLAY right out of the box... no luthier trip or extra costs are needed!
Our luthier partners carefully examine each instrument, and do all the setup work, so we can be certain that everyone gets the high-quality bass they expect and deserve. This setup service includes:
- Planing the fingerboard (carving the appropriate "relief" into the board) for low action
- Fitting a quality maple adjustable bridge
- Shaping the nut for left-hand ease of play
- Ensuring optimum soundpost placement
- Playing each instrument to ensure maximum playability and sound
Basic Dimensions: (to be updated soon)
|Overall Height||Body Height||Upper Bout||Lower Bout||Scale Length|
|3/4 size||72"||43 1/2"||19 3/4"||26 1/2"||41 1/4"|
|1/2 size||65"||39 3/4"||19 5/16"||24 11/16"||38 3/4"|
These basses can be used for any style of music.
While you might occasionally see a bass with features that are tailored for a particular style (like a black one with stripes, for instance), basses are rarely made for a specific style of music. The Estle Louis Gollihur Music basses will do well for most any style. It's the choice of strings and set-up that usually sends a bass in one direction or the other. The precise set-up performed on each Estle Louis bass, along with the adjustable bridge, will allow a nice range of action.
For example, if country/bluegrass is on the agenda, your preference might be for fairly high action, because you want to be able to hit that string hard (hey, we're the percussion section, too) and not have it hit the fingerboard... or if you're slapping, maybe you do, and then a little lower can be better. Or maybe you play with an acoustic style blues guitarist, so you might set the strings a little lower, to get some fingerboard interaction for a more "raw" sound. For more modern and sometimes jazz sounds we like to get some fingerboard growl (mwah, whine, whatever you want to call it), so lower action and a slightly lighter left hand touch can be the way to go.
We can have any string we carry installed on your bass during its setup, if you like.
Do you have a favorite string already? No problem. We can install those on the bass when you order; you just pay for the cost of the strings, no additional install fee. That said, you may wish to start with the stock string and replace them later. The stock strings are actually a very nice "middle of the road" selection that sounds and feels great, not cheesy at all; that's those being played on the recording, below - sound pretty good, eh? If you do not have a special favorite in mind, I suggest you start with them. We often recommend players start their play using the stock strings on an instrument that is new to them, to get to know the bass before investing in a new set. When the time comes, we'll be happy to help you choose your next string, or pass on some suggestions for your consideration if you have a particular style in mind.
We can also have most pickups installed before your bass is shipped.
Since the combinations of strings and pickups would probably be ten pages long, if you're looking to customize, we suggest you place the order for the bass on-line or on the phone, and we can add options before finalizing the order.
What makes these basses an even better value:
- Your bass arrives FULLY SET UP by a luthier - no additional costs are required to optimize the playability or tone. Your new bass can essentially be played right out of the box!
- Your bass includes a quality maple adjustable bridge (an expensive upgrade at bass shops) already installed and properly fitted to the bass!
- Your bass contains quality components (tuning machines, endpin) so there are no parts you'll need to upgrade.
- Real Ebony fingerboard and tailpiece - not "ebonized" (painted or stained) hardwoods.
What are "Violin Corners" and "Gamba Corners?"
The corners are the edges of the "C-Bout" - the cutout in the middle of the body to allow for a bow to be used without hitting the body. "Violin" corners are more ornate, traditional looking edges which come to a point, "Gamba" corners are simpler, cleaner corners. They are purely aesthetic and do not affect tone or playability. The photos of the 3/4 sized bass (above) are of the "Gamba" style, which is all we currently have available.
What is a "Set Up?"
Many basses bought elsewhere come with a "factory set up", which simply means that the strings and bridge have been installed, but those basses have not been optimized for the player. Bridge and nut heights are high, and those components, and the fingerboard, may require some work to make the bass truly playable for that particular bassist. Our Estle Louis bass, as detailed above, comes fully optimized with comfortable action - ready to play as soon as it arrives!
What strings come installed on the bass? And can I upgrade to something else?
The bass comes with inexpensive, no-name hybrid strings installed (hybrid means that they are designed for both arco/bowing and pizzicato/plucking). If you are an experienced player and have a favorite string, during its setup we can install, at no cost, any strings that we carry (you just pay for the strings). However, if you're a new bassist, I'd advise you to try the "stock" strings first -- and here's why: since you are new to the instrument, you don't really KNOW what sound you're going to prefer, so you (and we) would be "guessing" at what strings you might like to "upgrade" to. Since talking about tone, and string feel, is a bit like "dancing about architecture," there's a good chance that we may not get it right the first time, and at $120-$250 a set, on average, that's an expensive gamble. We are quite familiar with how the stock strings play and sound, though. So we suggest that you spend a little time with them, since they're included in the price of the bass; you can then come back to me in a couple months, and tell me, "I like how they feel, but I wish they were brighter/darker/more sustain-y/thumpier/etc." Or, "I like the tone, but they're a little too heavy/light/thick/thin/stiff/etc." With the common ground of a string we're both familiar with, we can then move forward and make a more informed decision together about what string you might like better.
Where are they manufactured?
Our basses are made in a true musical instrument manufacturing facility in China. I emphasize the type of facility for a reason, because there are scores of "you spec it, we make it" factories in Asia (and that's where those $400 eBay basses come from). The basses are fully inspected and set up in the USA.
There is an understandable hesitation from some people to buy a bass made in China, but I just ask you to consider this: some people can be amazing craftsmen, and some people can make junk - but the soil they happen to be standing on as they do it doesn't necessarily have to be a contributing factor. The important thing to be aware of with foreign factories in any country is to ensure that you're dealing with a company with a reputation for excellent, consistent quality. The Estle Louis basses are truly wonderful basses, even before you factor in the great price. As you might expect from us (if you've shopped with us before), these basses are made by a reputable maker with very high quality control. If they weren't we would not put our name on them OR offer a 10 day trial period.
Why aren't they full size?
You'll find 3/4 to be the normal bass size; 4/4 is pretty unusual! See my FAQ on Bass Sizes, along with all the other Upright Bass FAQs we offer, under BASS RESOURCES AND HELP in the menu above.
Special Return Policy
To exhibit our confidence in these basses we will allow a ten day trial period (from receipt of bass) during which you may return the bass no questions asked. Contact us first; buyer is responsible for shipping both ways, and the bass must be in like new condition.
Basses are too large for regular UPS and FedEx delivery services, so they are shipped by freight truck. Sorry, I cannot ship these basses outside of the US and Canada at this time. Costs for shipping a bass in the continental USA usually range between $250-400, depending on location.
However, we SHIP THESE BASSES for FREE in the continental USA (aka lower 48). So you don't have to worry about it!
Basses are almost always IN STOCK, but plan ahead - the basses are set up for you to order, and our setup shop spents an appropriate level of attention to ensure a great bass for you (and other customers). That sort of personalized care takes time. As of early 2022, we expect to be able to ship your bass within 2-4 weeks of order placement, but we will touch base with you to give you realistic expectations. We'll also send you tip sheets and other information for receiving the bass safely and without undue stress or anxiety. We'll answer all your questions!