Setup and Repair of the Double Bass for Optimum Sound
by Chuck Traeger with David Brownell and William Merchant
Coda to Setup and Repair of the Double Bass -- New Sound Setup Discoveries & Repair Tips
by Chuck Traeger
Over the years, we got many requests for this popular, seriously in-depth book, which covers nearly every aspect of the repair and maintenance of your upright bass. For many, this big book is the bible for maintaining and optimizing the bass - chock full of detailed information and tips that you will not find anywhere else. It's a great resource for the player who wants bigger and better sound, as well as for the maker and repairperson. 375 pages of detailed, clear, and efficient techniques for practically any repair. Lots of illustrations throughout.
Who? Principal author Chuck Traeger was an artist, bassist and expert repairer who operated a top professional bass shop in New York City for many years. In the 40s and 50s he performed with the who's who of jazz in NYC - Sidney Bechet, Marian McPartland, Bunk Johnson, Bob Wilber, Eddie Condon, etc. He later became a highly respected bass repairman in New York City with clients from the NY Philharmonic to Ron Carter. He and his beloved wife June, his wife of over fifty years, both passed away in late 2016. David Brownell is an expert repairer, bassist, and long-time editor of the Michigan Violinmakers Association Journal. Bill Merchant is a bassist and repairer in NYC who apprenticed with Chuck a long time ago. He provided the photos throughout the book.
This can be a very useful book for just about anyone who plays - or works on - upright basses. It offers suggestions for "fine-tuning" your bass for your specific playing style and tonal requirements. Repair and maintenance tips abound, with help for fixing problems both minor and major. Whether you're just looking to optimize your instrument, or bringing a total wreck back from the dead, you'll find this book to be helpful.
All of that said, even if you're only interested in the setup help, this book is a very useful addition to your library. It "pulls back the curtain" on the specifics of most major repairs; so even if some (or all) of those repairs are outside your skill set -- or confidence level -- you'll know what is involved, what questions to ask of your luthier, and so on.
CODA TO SETUP and REPAIR of the DOUBLE BASS, New Sound Setup Discoveries & Repair Tips
NEW - Part II! This newer add-on volume serves as an update to the original; Chuck Traeger has continued his research into what makes a double bass sound and play at its maximum potential The book contains all new sound setup discoveries and repair tips. The book also features pictures of ten signed instruments by name makers, photographed by Bill Merchant. It's the perfect complement to the original book, with lots more tidbits and useful tips. 64pp, paperback.
While these books are seriously comprehensive, I have to say it out loud: They do not take the place of an apprenticeship with a master luthier, and do not substitute for years of experience working on stringed instruments. So - to be blunt, owning Chuck's book doesn't make you a luthier.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out that: in the ever-changing and "non-standardized" world of stringed instruments and their care, there can be differences of opinion as to what way is "best" to acheive certain goals for your instrument. So just know that sometimes "Chuck's way" may not be the only way. In fact, co-authors David Brownell and Bill Merchant even have chapters in the original book where they offer alternative approaches to the ones Traeger uses in the earlier chapters.