Review of 6 String Frettless Knooren Bass

BASS MAGAZINE, Nr. 8 August, 1996

(This review is translated from Japanese so there could be some strange sentences in it)

Mr. Knooren who made this bass is a Dutch bass player, who is a friend of my guitarist friend Mr. Yoshioka. Mr. Knooren is a good contrabass player who has performed with Chet Baker. He is also a special repair man for cello and contrabass for some concert orchestras. He studied contrabass at music conservatoire, had special know-how as a craftsman, he started his career not only as a repair man but also as a music instruments craftsman. I met him and gave him a short lesson when he came to Japan several years ago. I remember he had a very original looking bass. But unfortunately, 1 didn't ask him about his bass because I was interested in only old Fender bass at the time.

Some years later a the 6 strings fretted bass he made for my student, who didn`t seemed to know what he wanted to do with the bass, so he wanted to sell it. I bought it from him. At the time, I was looking for a good 6 strings bass because I wanted to expand possibilities of bass sound by using 6 strings bass. But all basses I checked didn't have good low B sound nor had a good balance with other strings. So, I almost gave up 6-string basses until my student showed me the Knooren bass. I was so surprised by sound of the bass, which had a great low B sound and the balance with other strings was perfect. I bought it immediately from him. I hear he regretted he sold it. Then I heard Mr. Knooren made a fretless 6 strings bass, I ordered this right away. I only told him I liked the old Fender jazz bass sound and I had been used it for 20 years. I told him I like alder but he could chose any wood that he thought was the best. He made this bass from one piece platanas. Probably you seldom hear platanas as a body of bass, but he has lots of knowledge of woods and their characters. This bass is great! This has an old wood sound. And the fretted 6 strings bass's top is made from Tochi that he bought at a wood shop for Buddhist sculptors in Kyoto. So, his instruments are made from carefully chosen wood and made one by one by his hands, real hand made, you can understand why only several can be produced a year.

By the way, people seem to have an idea that electric instruments are inferior to acoustic instruments. But I believe the sound of a old Fender bass, in a good condition, can be as good as a contrabass's sound. Of course, only a very limited number of Fenders can be like that and it is a 30 years old instrument so the neck is never perfect. I had some frustration about that. But this bass (Knooren bass) has an old Fender sound without any frustration, that is wonderful. I believe that the fact that Mr. Knooren is a excellent bass player makes his instruments even better. Which means, you know basses need a good body, a singing body, in order to make a good sound because I don't use effects. I think the technique of making good instruments that have a singing body comes from the fact he is a good contrabass player and has knowledge of the way to make a good sound. And more, his artistic sense of beauty. I mean the finish of his instrument is excellent, I almost get high.

At my age, because I got used to lots of things, I am not so sensitive about a joy or an impression. But when I see this bass, I feel "WOH!" Do you understand? I sense he is a real artist and at the same time, I realize the difference of history between Japan and Europe. I have prepared my educational articles (fingering of scale arpeggio) on this magazine easy to understand by using same pattern of many different materials. And I felt I had done all. But I found new discovery when I played the 6 string bass. That is like new pattern which I have not noticed. I know I should have noticed that even on the 4 strings bass but on the 6 strings bass, it is easier to find more new things. Any way I am so happy to meet this man and this bass. Because now I like to practice instead of hating it.