Reinventing the Double Bass
30 Oct 2018
Local company to launch a product that could revolutionize the musical world
The double bass, with its ability to hit the lowest notes, plays a critical foundational role in orchestras and jazz bands. But lugging the massive stringed instrument around is not easy. The double bass can stand as tall as 6 feet and typically weighs about 25 pounds. Musicians can’t just put it in their carry-on bags when traveling.
Upton Bass has a solution to this problem. The local company, based in Mystic, has a product that could revolutionize the classical music industry. Founder Gary Upton has created a double bass that fits into a suitcase. A patent for the design is currently under review.
“I invented a new bass that collapses into numerous pieces. It takes just about 15 minutes to reassemble the double bass once you get where you’re going,” Upton explained. “We have a couple of prototypes that musicians are using on the road right now. I designed this collapsible double bass with their needs in mind.”
Upton says he would like to have the product available for sale beginning in 2019. “I’ve had calls from other makers and customers all over the world who want to use my product. The amount of interest has just blown us away.”
Collaborating With Professional Musicians to Build the Best Basses Possible
This collaboration with musicians is part of what has made Upton Bass successful over the past two decades. The company builds new instruments for clients all over the world, as well as repairs and restores existing double basses.
As a double bass player himself, Gary Upon already has an intimate understanding of the instrument and what his clients need from it. But he has always remained open to suggestions and improvements from customers.
“We have real bass players using the product. That includes symphony players and professional jazz musicians. If a customer comes to us with insight for how to make his double bass better, we’ll look into it,” Upton said.
“Since Upton Bass is a small team, we are very efficient and nimble. We can integrate new ideas much more quickly than a large corporation could. That has given us a great reputation among musicians because they know we are willing to work with them.”
So Why the Double Bass?
Gary Upton began playing the double bass in middle school. “The bass is the foundation of the band. The amount of power and sound that comes from a good bass is amazing,” Upton reflected. “I love the simplicity of the bass. It can go from a tiny little whisper to a smooth, full rich sound. A band can go without a drummer or a guitarist and still create a good rhythm. But the bass player is crucial.”
Upton was inspired to start his own company by a family friend. “During high school, I was working in a music shop. I had been playing the double bass for a few years and wanted my own instrument. My father’s friend suggested I go into business for myself and that would help me get my own bass.”
That led to the creation of Upton Bass in 1999. He relocated the company to Mystic in 2004.
Upton says he chose Mystic because he loved the area and all the activities it provides. “When I was a teenager, Mystic was the cool spot to hang out. Now as a business owner, I can also appreciate that the town provides a great overall experience for our visiting clients. The restaurants are unique and hip, there’s a lot to do on the water, and there’s plenty of options for people to stay.”
And Mystic could potentially see more visitors once Upton’s new invention hits the market. Upton Bass is one of the only double bass production facilities in the United States and has already built a solid reputation across the globe. The double bass that can fit into a suitcase has the potential to expand Upton Bass’ reputation and clientele even further than before. Click here to follow Upton Bass on Facebook for regular updates.