Patrick Charton
Doublebass B21

To Double bass lovers about my new "B 21" model

Thank you for your response to my "B 21" model that I just presented in the Paris MUSICORA music fair with great success. I have won the "Prix de la Facture Instrumentale for 2004" with this project and my best reward was that the great French double-bass virtuoso Daniel MARILLIER has ordered one "B 21" from me. He immediately felt the changes in tone and playability that I wanted to occur in such a new model : "it reacts as a cello" he said "but with
the sound of a deep old bass"...

Richness of tone, loudness, ease of playing : these were my main concerns. All of you noticed the F holes' new design which do have a part in the result, along with a new type of archings and the overall design meant to enhance the vibration of the strings. I designed this whole instrument to be in perfect balance. This way the bow or pizz don't have to fight untill proper pressure is reached : all the energy given by the player is transformed into sound. The resonance leads one note to the other with no cut.

The whole design of this bass came from these different ideas on sound production, to which I added my knowledge of bassists wishes as far as confort, setting up functionnalities and everyday transportation problems are concerned :

- No need of any more bridge ajustors : the finger board raises and goes down in a second with a slight turn of a screw in the back. That sets your string hights without cutting the bridge (which does affect the tone a great deal)

-27 seconds to take off the neck when you need to travel in a plane. I am having the flight case made to the proportions of the body without the neck and the bridge : this will really be small.

Of course the strings will take a few minutes to sound good again but they won't be ruined if you tune them back up smoothly (I've done it about 65 times during the fair and the bass still sounded wonderfully).

The other amazing thing about removing the neck is that you can have a 5 string neck and change your bass to a 5 stringer within 2 minutes. I have imagined a very simple way to release the extra tention by changing the angle of the strings on the bridge. You want to play gut strings too ? : have another neck with strings allready set, then sharpen the angle in just 5 seconds and play...

The sound post is of course a source of worry : if it is well adjusted it should not fall (I've travelled in trains for hours with no problem). However you do need to feel secure about it. I have found two easy ways to take care of that : one is not patented yet an I'll keep it secret untill then. The other one is a simple (big) rubber band set to replace the bridge pressure once removed.

- No more worn out edges with the B 21 bass : I have inlayed a rubber lace all around the bass, back and top. You may have not noticed it on pictures but it is very efficient and cute... You will be able to replace it very easily when worn out.

- at the end the aesthetics turned into a new design, though inspired by my knowledge of how the great Italian makers used to work and to conceive their instruments.

I am very proud as a luthier (winner of several international prizes) to be making double basses because only in this field of action did I find the openess of mind and the wish of changes that lead me to conceive for over two years the "B 21" model.

B 21 stands for "a Bass for the 21st century". I hope I have opened a door to honnest research in the field of classical instruments.

Patrick Charton

  • new design
  • b21

P.S. The bridge I very carefully designed too : the legs won't open any more and it carries and amplifies vibrations very accurately. It's sharp look doesn't affect the bowing : you could add this sharp edge on your usual bridge without even removing the strings.

  • ZOOM on B21
    Click upon picture