Here is a wonderful alternative for bassists who travel. These Electric Upright Basses (EUB) sound remarkably like a regular upright bass that is amplified with a pick-up, but are much more transportable. There are two models - the babySOLID and the BASSO. The babySOLID has a solid maple body with a dual polymer film transducer that fits under both feet of a special Despiau bridge and a Schertler Stat-B pickup with preamp that allows you to blend the sounds of both pickups. The BASSO has a maple body with an arched spruce top (pictured below) and the same pickup configuration as the babySOLID. The BASSO utilizes a "soundpost" that is a small wedge of wood that is inserted between the top and back by the player and can be moved and adjusted to get the sound you want. With the BASSO you have a wider range of tonal colors to choose and a more sophisticated tonal palate. The instruments also have upper "bouts" in the form of a body rest and shoulder that is easily adjusted to your liking, as well as an optional knee rest. Also available is an adjustable tripod that can be used so the instrument can be left standing. All instruments have removable necks that allow you to fit everything into a compact bag small enough to take as a carry-on in an airplane. All of the instruments have fingerboards that are properly dressed with a scoop under each string that is appropriate for its dimension and pitch. The neck adjusts to change string height - no bridge adjusters are needed. The BASSO has an adjustable string length while the babySOLID has a fixed string length of 40".

I have a new Contrabbasso in stock. It comes with a pickup with buffered line-out. The bass comes with a high quality padded cover. This instrument has a removable neck that, after removing the upper right rib, fits inside the body and attaches to a fixture that connects to the neck block. Setting the soundpost is done by simply reaching through the open rib and placing the soundpost on the registration marks. The bass can be packed away in a durable and light flight case. Assembly and disassembly takes minutes. This bass has a newly designed tailpiece (patent pending) that allows you to easily tune the after length of each string. You can also choose a traditional tailpiece if desired. This bass is currently set up with Velvet 180 strings.

Pictured above is a Contrabbasso surrounded by a Basso on the left and a babySOLID on the right. Because of a favorable exchange rate with the Euro we are able to sell these at a lower price.


Travel bag (when removing the neck) for babySOLID is reduced - $245

Contrabbasso - $12,000, a demo case is being offered at $590 (normally $890)

Gary Karr and his Contrabbasso

In May of 2014 the founder of Alter-Ego USA, Valentina Nardo, and I visited Gary Karr at his winter home in Las Vegas to talk to him about his Alter-Ego EUB and his new Contrabbasso. Here is the start of that conversation and a sample of he and his partner, Harmon Lewis, performing with Gary playing the Contrabbasso.

Interview part 1

Gary and Harmon performing Rachmaninov's Vocalise