"This double bass is incredible, the sound is even on all 4 strings and every single note has sustain and depth of tone. It is the first bass on which I can use the whole Spirocore Medium set,  which gives me that much more pleasure to play. Moreover, it can be taken apart and put together in a few minutes, and weighing just 23.5 kg, can be put on planes as luggage without any extra charge. Traveling easy, being able to perform on my own instrument is a luxury these days. The bass also has the possibility of a lot of various adjustments, which is incredible. I was about to give up traveling but this creation will keep me on the road. I can't thank Patrick Charton enough for building this wonderful instrument for me. It is simply a marvel." George Mraz

See a slide show of the making of George's Charton Bass

Visit patrickcharton.com for more information about the George Mraz B21 signature model bass

The Evolution of the B21 model bass and the Signature B21 George Mraz Model
By Patrick Charton

The B21 model has been a two year project between 2001 and 2003. The idea was to create a modern double bass with functionalies and aesthetics that would match the 21st century, but with the sound of a very good sounding old Italian bass. I came out with a new design of a double bass, on one hand I had kept the overall measurements and architecture (3 different volumes, archings to fight against string pressure and to amplify vibrations etc.). On the other hand I renewed the style of the curves and above all I decided to try and solve the main problems that a bass always has had:

Too big. It was very hard to travel with : I made the B21 with a detachable neck (no screw, it only takes 12 seconds to put it together or to take it apart).
Too unstable. The action of the strings were often changing, the neck of the B21 rotates and the finger board goes down or up from the strings.
Too sensitive. The sound post was either too loose or too tense, the bass player can set up his sound post tension with a simple wrench.
Too fragile. The edges were wearing out quickly, I inlaid a rubber thread into the edges.
Too weak a sound. It was not projecting so well : the new FF holes and the general shape of the B21 allow the table to vibrate much more.
Too heavy for transportation. I created a one piece hard case that only weighs 46 lb (including bass and cover), measures 47 in x 30 in x 15 in, meaning no extra charge in national or international flights.

In April 2004 the B21 won the international “Grand Prix Musicora”.

Since then I have made 15 B21s for classical or jazz performers. The sound of this bass and the real convenient adjustments that it provides were asking for more ideas that I developed thanks to the bass players who supported me. Having met George Mraz opens other doors with new ideas on shape, sound, wear and a few others..

Specifics of the George Mraz model

Travel bass
George was looking for a travel bass with a nice sound. He had seen several systems (foldable necks, detachable necks with screws, etc…). My device is based on a clenchable neck using the tension of the strings to secure the system. George loved how the tail piece puts the strings into tension, only taking a few seconds to put the bass together or take it apart.

Secure sound post
He asked for a very secure system that would prevent the sound post from falling and I re-designed a brand new way to secure it from inside, to both the back and the top.

Shape
The detachable neck system works much easier when the bass stands up, and George chose that the bass could stand up by itself. For this I had designed the bottom of the bass to be hollow. He also loved my special pedal end-pin system and I managed to fit it into this hollow space. I added 4 rubber feet on which the bass stands up.

Sound
George likes a very warm and expressive type of tone, with a wide range of colours and nuances from soft sweet tone with lots of sustain to short loud attacks.In the choice of the spruce (with long warm sounding tap tones) as much as in the making of the archings of his bass (gentle slopes with great reactivity) I built a type of tone that should fulfil his wishes. (pictures GM 06 and GM 31)

Wear
George wants to be able to lay down his bass without risking to wear the edges. My previous system was to inlay rubber into the edges but it was weakening them. I chose to use a different type of rubber protection for him, one that will cover the edges completely in specific spots that will work for both protection and design. I combine the rubber edges with newly designed purflings which work as a belt and enhance the aesthetics of the instrument.

Travel case
George wants the bass + hard case to be as light as possible, and that all be in one. He chose to use a very light head with no scroll or carved head. I carved out several pieces of the instrument with no effect on sound or strength. The bass and hard case all together will only weigh 52 pounds.

A true "Signature" model
George’s bass is especially autographed for him. For those who will want the “G. Mraz model” there will be a special label that we shall both sign after he tries and approves each bass.

The G. Mraz model includes these unique features:
I invented a tail piece that puts the strings into tension in one second, and same for the other way around.

I added a device to work on string pressure, working on the string angle from the bottom of the string holder. This way the bassist can also use the bass as a 5 string bass, with a five string neck and bridge, releasing the pressure of the extra string. I designed a pedal end pin with no screw, that slides down or up to any length the player wishes, without laying down the bass. I created the removable peg-box which allows to change strings brand in less than one minute by changing for another peg box with new set of strings.] The system that locks the neck to the body allows to work on lateral orientation of the fingerboard, on string length, on general axis. Things you can never do with another bass.

Visit patrickcharton.com for more information about the George Mraz B21 signature model bass