Customized Fine Art Finishes for Your Instruments

The Story Behind The Indigo/Copper Double Bass

Gildaxe finished indigo and etched/copper leaf bass by Geo Kitta




While developing electric guitar and bass prototypes for Gildaxe, a serendipitous occurrence was developing in the Rockies.  My friends Catherine and Konstantine were traveling and playing music when a Romanian carved double bass, that had been rescued by Catherine’s sister Nancy, hitched a ride with them back from Denver to San Francisco!

Konstantine Baranov in Colorado







the bass as it was unwrapped in Catherine & Konstantine's loft








When they returned back to their new loft, Catherine wrapped the piece to avoid breathing in the charred wood.  I loved the way she wrapped it - it was like a cocoon or some ancient unearthed relic.

the bass after Catherine Conlin wrapped it (shown with Duct Tape Teddy by L.G. Williams and Elektra Bikes)






Once home, I walked it a half block to the Pacific Ocean to take some pictures before I unwrapped it.

Geo Kitta's artful depiction of the bass as it still remained shrink-wrapped (Pacifica, CA--Photo by Geo Kitta)








The bass had survived a fire but the varnish was very blistered and the table had opened up from the heat.  I convinced them that this instrument would provide an excellent canvas for a very unique Gildaxe finish, and they generously left it in my hands.

Once uncovered, the smell of the singed bass filled the room.  The headstock was the most affected and I figure it was sitting on it's side with the scroll facing the fire. 


charred headstock as Geo Kitta unveiled it for the first time






I stripped the varnish off, did the necessary repairs and the brass tuning keys/rods were brought back from the dead.

refurbished brass tuning machine  (note: singed headstock edge)




I needed to respect the unrestricted resonance of the wood, and I also wanted to create a beautiful exotic look for the bass.  I love the Arts and Crafts Decorative Arts period of Art Nouveau and wanted what I did to reflect this wonderful nature-inspired movement.  So since the neck and scroll are solid maple and less dependent on exterior resonance, I completely gilded that section and 'sprinkled' copper leafing over the shoulders like flower pedals or hanging vines.



Geo Kitta's original concept of the Colin Wultur Double Bass


After much research and inquiries for my artistic approach, I dyed the bass indigo blue and applied copper leaf that was subsequently etched to give it a molten patina.



the base layer of indigo



the copper leaf over cobalt base color reflects Geo Kitta's appreciation for the Arts and Crafts period






Multiple hand-applied tung-oil sealer coats later and it was ready to be re-assembled.  The Wulter has a new lease on life, and reenters the music world on a high note! (pretty special for a bass!) Thanks again Catherine and Konstantine!  Enjoy your beautiful new instrument! Can't wait to hear it live and on record!


Geo Kitta's Gildaxe finish on the upright bass


Gildaxe copper leafing by Geo Kitta




finished headstock by Geo Kitta



close-up of scroll finish by Geo Kitta of Gildaxe




Save the Date, November 3rd, 2012 from 11am-7pm for Gildaxe Launch Party


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