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The NeoBass: Our Newest Project

The work I’ve done tuning basses and forcing them to play with a relatively consistent timbre makes me really interested in getting one of these Asian basses and start tearing it apart. I’m fairly certain that it will not be a profitable venture but it sure sounds like fun. Apparently there are only 2 Asian companies in the world that make a bass saxophone. I tried several of their basses with mixed results, but I’ve never fixed one.

With NeoSax and the ProShop behind me, I’m going to try to make a great new bass. A NeoBass.

Well not “new”, but better. Here’s the plan and yet another NeoProject is born:

I am going to Shanghai in October with a satchel of bass reeds and mouthpieces. I will set up a time with each company that makes basses, so I can sit, talk to them, and play their bass. I’m hoping that the one that plays better is also made better! But we’ll see. None the less, my goal is to choose one of these babies and buy a few (or at least one for a start), fix them, and figure them out. After I choose one, I’ll talk to the company that is making it. I’ll try and work out some of the details of delivery. Luckily, I have a working relationship with the companies already so I know how these guys are to work with.

Once I have the things playing great, I can figure out how much work I should have the factory do. If changing the taper of things or excessive key work is needed, maybe I’ll get the tubes only? If the bodies are straight and things just need a bit of tweaking, maybe I can get them almost done. Of course, the less work we do in the states the cheaper it will be. But we’ll have to let the horn and the factory decide that. My goal is to make a great playing bass from whatever I find in China.

The reason I’m considering this project is that the basses out there I have played were often not great, they require a good deal of work to get them playing and, because of poor manufacture and assembly, they are really not serviceable.

My goal with this project is to get an instrument made and set up extremely well, for a price that is as low as possible while having an instrument that is very serviceable.

Some of the things I’m considering include:

1. How much will it cost to transport?
2. In what condition will I get the instrument?
3. What can I reasonably improve on this already manufactured instrument?

I’ll be in Shanghai mid October. I’ll let you know what I find when I get there. If its possible to have a factory tour then I’ll do that, too.

I’ll keep you posted as things progress!!