Bass Of The Week: Nick Lloyd Basses #55

Nick Lloyd #55 Copy of Meyer’s Giovanni Battista Gabrielli Bass

Edgar Meyer’s double bass, made by Giovanni Battista Gabrielli in 1769, is an amazing instrument with a natural clarity and projection that helps it have a singing quality. He has used the bass extensively throughout his career, including his album Uncommon Ritual, which planted a seed in luthier Nick Lloyd’s brain over two decades ago.

“That album changed everything for a lot of people in the industry. I would listen to it every day for weeks and months. That’s when I decided that if I ever got a chance to understand his double bass and his playing… I would love to copy this instrument.”

Even back then, Lloyd knew he would need to get more experience under his belt before such an undertaking. Just a few years ago, the stars aligned when Punch Brothers and Hawktail bassist Paul Kowert commissioned him to make a copy of the Gabrielli bass. The two borrowed Meyer’s bass to take measurements and spend time with it.

Lloyd was interviewed about the bass’s creation on a recent episode of the Bluegrass Jam Along podcast. It’s a fascinating talk on how it all came together, including some interesting details on double bass making in general.

The luthier crafted it with a spruce top and maple for its back and sides. It has a 41-inch string length with a C-extension to reach extra low notes. Lloyd notes that the recreation is a bench copy and not a museum copy, as he made a few adjustments, such as a removable travel neck.

“This bass was immediately singing, and I have always enjoyed playing it in a room, alone or in an ensemble,” Kowert says. “For years, I searched for a viable instrument with this clarity and focus, and now I have one because Nick made it.”

You can hear it on the track “Updraft” from Hawktail’s latest album, Place of Growth.

Nick Lloyd #55 Copy of Meyer’s Giovanni Battista Gabrielli Features:

41″ string length
Spruce top
Maple roundback and sides
Travel neck
Chromatic C-extension

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