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New Standard Cleveland Double Bass for sale - excellent condition - NEW PICS ADDED
Near Salisbury

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PLEASE NOTE - The last four pics were taken last weekend (the rain finally stopped for a bit...) - as you can see, excellent condition, mellowing nicely.

For sale is my New Standard Cleveland double bass.  I had this bass built for me in 2008 in the USA, and imported it to the UK.  I asked Wil DeSola & Arnold Schnitzer to shade the bass lighter than standard, & to fit a Fishman Full Circle pickup & mixed guts & steels.  This is an amazing bass, absolutely THE bass for bluegrass, jazz, old-time…indeed any style that is plucked.  Unfortunately for me, rheumatoid arthritis has robbed me of finger strength, & so after 12 years I find myself having to part with it.

The bass is currently strung with Spirocores (E & A) and Gut-a-Like deluxe synthetics (D & G - which I prefer over plain guts).   Supplied with soft case, and many strings in good order (full plain Lenzner guts, various steels & synthetics).  If wanted, I’ll include K&K fingerboard pickup and pre-amp - no extra.

I’ve attached 5 pics taken when I first got the bass - the bass has been well cared for, and looks essentially the same, bar some patina on the tuners, and a few small edge marks.  Overall, this bass is in excellent condition.  I’ve also attached a couple of links - one is a thread I started in Talkbass just after receiving the bass, and the other a link to the New Standard site.  Below is the text from my 1st TB post.  Reading these will give a good perspective on this bass - this is a bass held in very high regard in the States (there are many pages of posts on the NS Cleveland) - you won’t find many in the UK, as it is a lengthy & costly process to have made and imported.

Today, including shipping, import/customs charges and vat, you’d be looking at just over £6K.  At £3,500 this bass is a little over half price, without all the aggravation!

All questions welcome.  This bass will not be freighted, so collection only, or can meet half-way, depending on distance.  Thank you for viewing this advert.   



Hi all,

I posted a while back on Bluegrass Bass Place asking for advice on just what sort of New Standard I should get (ply/hybrid/carved/cleveland/la scala). Based partly (but probably mostly) on their good advice I ordered a ply Cleveland. The crate arrived in the UK early August - being October now, I guess I'm qualified to pass comment - I LOVE THIS BASS (and I'm English, so I don't say this sort of thing lightly).

Where do I start...just over a year ago I imported a Upton Bass/Swingmaster ('cos I couldn't find a decent DB at a reasonable price in the UK). This was my first encounter with a 'real' Double Bass (Brief player history - bass guitar: 37 years / EUB:1 year / Double Bass:1 year). When I opened the (Upton Bass/Swingmaster) crate, I thought "this plays fine, but it doesn't sound much like a musical instrument"...I was not aware of how much the tone of a double bass is affected by just playing it - one year on, and the Englehardt had developed a nice round tone. I've owned many new electric basses, but the effect of playing-in has been nowhere so pronounced - quite an eye opener.

Don't get me wrong - the Swingmaster was (eventually) a good bass - but by way of comparison, straight out of the crate, the New Standard was just wonderful - I'd heard all
these tales on the boards & they were all true - what a fine instrument this is!

I had the bass strung with Pirastro Evah's on the bottom, and Lenzner plain guts on the top - this seems to be a good combination (for me anyway) - warm & balanced.

So. how can I describe the sound of the Cleveland? - big, warm, sweet, mellow, tight, crisp - every adjective I'd use to describe the best bass I've heard in my 38 years of playing experience. I can't recommend this bass highly enough - the same goes for the guys that make these wonderful instruments - thank you Wil & Arnold - you will not deal with better people.

I'm attempting to post some pics of this beautiful bass (I said to Wil "make it look like a piece of washed-up driftwood" - and he did). All in all, a fine, fine bass.


Edited by htb
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Oh my.......I've actually started selling my old basses already , if they sell before this goes, I'll be planning a trip down from Glasgow. Beautiful bass !!!! 

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15 hours ago, Beedster said:

That is rather lovely :) 

Thank you - it is indeed!

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On 21/02/2021 at 08:19, sunneyboy said:

Can't believe this is still here. This is the holy grail of laminate basses. If I had the dough it would be mine. 

Thank you - someone who recognises this bass for what it is!

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12 hours ago, symcbass said:

It wouldn't still be here if I could travel........... 

That's OK now - I've just lifted the lockdown...

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Posted (edited)

I've played the actual instrument that's for sale here, and maybe it would be interesting and/or helpful if I give my thoughts on it.

The bass is even more attractive-looking 'in the flesh' than the photos posted by the vendor would suggest. I like a darker stain finish on my basses, generally speaking, but this NS Cleveland looks very good in the lighter shade, and has matured nicely over the last 13 years or so since arriving in the UK.

The overall condition is exceptionally good by any standards, but particularly so since this instrument has a generous sized body (not huge, but bigger than a standard 3/4, for instance) and has actually been out gigging rather than sitting in the house as a display item. The tuners keys have mellowed slightly and there are a few insignificant cosmetic marks here and there on the body. I saw no cracks, dings or scrapes, however, and the edges are all intact and undamaged. The fingerboard is like new (looks like ebony, and of good quality), and tailpiece, nut and saddle are in excellent condition.

The bridge was well fitted and properly shaped for the fingerboard. It has height adjusters and there is a Fishman Full Circle pickup fitted. I did not try the bass plugged in, but apparently all is working as it should be.

As far as I could see, there was absolutely no luthier work required on this bass. My personal preference would perhaps to have the fingerboard scooped out a little more to accommodate my slapping requirements (to avoid string rattle), but this probably wouldn't have been a problem if I'd  raised the action using the bridge adjusters to the height I usually use. I should point out that although I use slap technique as part of my playing style, I'm not a Rockabilly musician, or similar. I am an old school Swing and New Orleans player. I use gut strings (since 1987-ish) and like a high action, but not silly high like some of the guys! I mostly play straight ahead pizzicato. I use the bow a little, but not enough to harm anyone. And, as a point of reference, I don't like thuddy basses that don't really produce a discernible note but are handy to jump on.....! That's not my thing.

This is a very comfortable bass to play, even considering its wide shoulders. The reason for this is to be seen round the back of the instrument. The neck joint is deliberately short which means the back has a fairly extreme curvature towards the button. The upper bout, where it meets the neck, tapers down to something like 6.5 inches (I didn't measure this, but it looked about right). This means that the player's arm is unhindered when approaching the upper reaches of the instrument. You might say to yourself ''Oh, ok. But I never go up high on my fingerboard. No thumb position for me. I'm not that kind of player", but I don't mean that. A bass with really broad shoulders and deep upper bouts can make life hard anywhere above Eb on the G string. I had a cello-shouldered bass (an old 'church bass' as they are sometimes known) that was beautiful and sounded great, but was quite unmanageable above half way up the neck. It was hilarious! Anyway, this is not the case with the NSC. It's really nicely thought out. 

The neck is fairly big, but nicely shaped. I have medium sized hands and would perhaps consider having the bass neck made slightly shallower, for full comfort. Lots of other players probably wouldn't feel the need. The scale felt very manageable at 42", and I didn't have to make any discernable adjustments to my technique to play this bass.

The neck overstand is also very generous, as befits a modern instrument, so no problem with bowing access etc. 

The bass is beautifully put together and doesn't weigh a great deal considering its overall size. This is a strong instrument that should last a lifetime or two and will put up with all sorts of road travel and humidity changes etc.

The strings fitted suited the bass quite well. Spiro Weichs for E and A, and Gut-A-Like D and G on top. The Gut-A-Like strings are not my favourite and were typically dull sounding on the Cleveland. However, things really brightened up when I tried a Lenzner gut G string on this bass.  I think a full set of guts with wound E and A would be very good indeed. I think the original set up, as ordered from new, was Lenzner gut G and D, with Pirastro Pirazzi A and E, which I reckon would have suited this bass very well.

The sound was very well balanced across the whole range of the instrument (as you'd expect from a good quality plywood bass), making it an excellent bass for studio or live recording situations. [My carved bass sounds lovely, but is a real pain in the studio compared to my plywood with regard to mic choice and placement. Similarly, in live gig settings, my plywood basses amplify nicely without any imbalance, regardless of which pickup system I use. The carved bass is very fickle and usually slightly unbalanced-sounding.]

This NS Cleveland has typical plywood 'punch' to it, but with added 'puffiness' and, most significantly, a much more complex sound than any plywood bass I've played (plys, although useful beasts, can be very one-dimensional in their sound, hence my comments in the previous paragraph). I was hearing a very pleasing harmonic overtone that made me want to play the bass a bit more. I played it over a 3 hour period, so this gives you an idea of how I felt about it. Cutting through a band when playing acoustically with this bass will not be a problem, but it's not some sort of blunt instrument either. Best of both worlds, I'd say.

I'd say this instrument has a very pleasant voice which is unmistakably old Americana. With the Thomastik weich strings, I could hear the potential for a more sustaining sound, but not one that would ever be considered very modern. For those of you concerned with such things, vibrato was quickly reproduced and the subtle nuances were conveyed very nicely. 

I've played a few basses that 'do the rounds' (some at prices similar to this particular NSC) and there's just no comparison between any of those basses and this one in my opinion. My summing up of many of those other basses would be 'Heavy, unresponsive and dead-sounding'. This bass isn't that. Not even a bit.

If you're looking for a top quality bass that will long outlive even the youngest amongst us, will require very little maintenance, looks fantastic and sounds equally so, I'd look no further than htb's New Standard Cleveland.

And, by the way, the price is a bargain. 

Edited by Lodekka
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And Lodekka knows about basses, he is a wonderful player, professional and man, so please consider his comment as very true indeed. I do not unfortunately possess a spare £3,5 grand, but otherwise I’d be seriously thinking about it. Roberto.

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