Jeff Bollbach
"Pallotta Lion's Head" ~ NY, 2003

This one-of-a-kind work of art was made for the 2003 ISB makers competition held bi-annually in USA. The Bass was actually started in 2002 and completed in 2003. We supplied the beautiful piece of flamed Claro Walnut used to make the Tailpiece. Who would be able to predict that 4 years later, we would actually aquire this same Bass? This is one of the most beautifully detailed Lions Head in modern Violin making as quoted by one of todays leading Violin Makers.

Pallotta Model 7/8ths Master Grade Double Bass
Upper Bout: 19 1/4" Belly Length: 44 3/4" (Back: 46")
Center Bout: 13 3/4" String Length: 41 1/2"
Bottom Bout: 26 7/8" Varnish: Red Amber Oil
Rib Depth: 8 1/4" tapering to 6 1/4" at the Neck
Top: Engleman Spruce of extreemly fine grain
Back / Ribs: Exhibition grade Flamed Maple from British Columbia
Neck / Scroll: European Pearwood
Features: A unique detailed 'one-of-a-kind' Hand Carved Lion's Head topping off a beautifuly made Double Bass

Note: This 'Master Grade' Bass functions equally for Orchestral playing, Solo works or even for Jazz & Commercial jobs acoustically or amplified as it has gone thru the test of all of these styles professionally.

** Endorsement from Leon Bosch, Double Bass Virtuoso and Principal Bassist of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble:

"It is only thanks to the generosity of Ken Smith that I was able to make the unexpected and particularly gratifying contact with the work of the luthier Jeff Bollbach.

I arrived in Philadelphia (3/20/12) a day before having to perform a recital at Rowan University, but without a double bass. Ken Smith offered me the opportunity to try every single bass in his shop and to use whichever bass took my fancy.

It probably took me an hour or more to work my way through Marconcini, Hart, Tarr, Mougenot amongst others, before I unexpectedly, and much to Ken’s surprise, decided on the Bollbach.

A beautiful quality of sound, exceptional clarity, huge volume and enormous projection combined to great effect and the instrument quickly endeared itself to me.

By the time I had completed my first rehearsal with piano, I knew that everything was going to be just fine, especially when Douglas Mapp, who popped in to hear us, frequently found it necessary to ask the pianist to play up!

The performance was truly enjoyable and the Bollbach performed equally well in the music of Jenő Takács, Pedro Valls, David Ellis and of course Bottesini.

This remarkable instrument embodies all the qualities of a great instrument and is one of the finest ‘modern’ instruments I have had the pleasure of performing on, and whoever gets to own it will be a very lucky person indeed. Leon Bosch – July 2012"


This model was inspired by a Pietro Pallotta Double Bass Jeff restored many years ago that belonged to David Walters (NYC Ballet) and continues to provide inspiration for Jeff's new Basses. Since then each new Bass has been an evoloution based on that original theme. Genuine Pallotta Basses besides being rare are highly esteemed and date from about 1789 to 1820 made in Perugia, Italy.

Featuring one of the most beautiful and detailed carved heads in modern times. The Tuning Gears are Jeff's own design and are custom made for his Basses. The Tuner handles on this Bass are laminated with beautifully figured Rhododendron root burl grown on his own property.

More details of the Pallotta Lion. Can we call him 'Simba'?

The beautifully carved Button is a Bollbach trademark topped off with stippling

The Purfling was handmade by Bollbach as well using Quilted Maple (Western Big Leaf) for the center. The Shoulders are lined with tapered Ebony Strips.

These pictures show the 'Bee Stings' in each Corner artistically done with no two being exactly alike.


The unique custom designed Tailpiece was made from highly figured Claro Walnut which we actually supplied sometime around 2002 when Jeff was searching for the best materials available for his 4th and most important Bass of his career as a Luthier and Bass Maker.

The Bass has a shallow Round Back but also employs a center Cross Bar making this style somewhat of a hybrid between a Round Back and a Flat Back. The Back is hand carved rather than being bent. The Top shares a similar shallow carving contributing to the fine even tone which is colorful and projecting..

Copyright 1998-2012  Ken Smith Basses, LTD.
(All rights reserved)
ALL PRICES AND SPECS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE