Any musician knows that transporting musical equipment is not the easiest or most fun part of the job. However, most bluegrass pickers will agree that upright bass players have it the worst. Carrying an instrument taller and wider than you through a packed hotel lobby or muddy festival field would make almost anyone decide to give it up and switch to fiddle, or at least change over to electric. For those bass players out there tempted to do so, however, the RC Williams Company has an awesome and convenient solution.
The Amazing dbl Bass Buggie, a compact and lightweight bass transport system created by Rick Williams (owner of the RC Williams Company) is truly one of the best music-related items I have ever used, and arguably the most useful as well. Due to the sheer aggravation of maneuvering an upright bass, I often choose to play electric bass instead (which has its own shortcomings). However, after a weekend spent trying out the dbl Bass Buggie at the recent Bluegrass in the Bluegrass festival in Lexington, KY, I’ll likely be sporting the upright much more often.
The dbl Bass Buggie seems extremely simple: it’s basically a flat, hard plastic platform with two sturdy six-inch wheels. Bungee cords and seatbelt-like straps attach it to your bass (with or without a gig bag), and within five minutes or less, you’re literally ready to roll. I was honestly (and happily) surprised at how easy the setup was, and how much easier it made it to transport my bass through mazes of parking lots and hotel hallways. It helps to balance the weight of the bass, and can even allow the bass to stand upright on its own for brief time periods. It also rolled fairly smoothly and easily on my gravel driveway at the house as I was taking the bass out to load it in the car. In fact, the wheels are specially designed to work as well on outside surfaces as they are on even, indoor floors, and to allow for ease of movement between indoors and outdoors.
To make it a little safer to use while my bass wasn’t in a bag, I also ordered the company’s dbl Bass Buggie Cushion, a thin layer of neoprene that can be attached to the surface of the Bass Buggie to help absorb shock and keep scratches to a minimum. This did seem to make the “ride” smoother, though I didn’t test it out over a far distance before adding the cushion. Bass players who plan to be using a Bass Buggie at festivals a large percentage of the time may be more interested in this addition than those who tend to perform indoors.
Also part of the RC Williams Company’s line of products for upright basses is the Amazing Bass Stand, a combination seat/instrument stand that is excellent for both storage and rehearsal. The stand comes in several heights, ranging from 24 to 30 inches, and is easily assembled in just four pieces. My upright bass usually dwells in the far corner of a closet, and is a struggle to haul out and back in, but for the past month has been sitting in an Amazing Bass Stand in my living room. It takes up the same amount of space the bass would on its own, and is very convenient to grab when I need to practice. This would be an awesome investment for the many colleges and universities with bluegrass programs – one of these in each teaching or band room would eliminate the struggle of finding places to store upright basses.
The Amazing Bass Stand is also advertised as a chair on which musicians can sit while playing the bass. Both me and my wife tried the chair out, and agreed it probably was not the best for bluegrass playing, especially for those who like to move around a bit while playing, but would be great for those playing with bows or in a more classical style. It could also be good for children who are just learning or who are too small to hold up a larger bass. Be careful which size you order, however; mine is a 28-inch and it was too high for my wife, who is about 5’6”. The foam seat was surprisingly comfortable, though, and the stand is extremely sturdy with an advertised weight limit of 500 pounds.
The Amazing dbl Bass Buggie sells for $145, and Amazing Bass Stand for $180.
With a summer of bluegrass festivals and fiddlers conventions ahead of me, I’m sure the dbl Bass Buggie will make my experience much easier and much less aggravating. For more information on both the dbl Bass Buggie and Amazing Bass Stand, visit the RC Williams Company online.