Rogeri bass story


Hello, and welcome to my new blog!

When I'm out performing, I get a lot of people asking about my acoustic bass. So I'd like to start by offering a little history about it and how I acquired it.

It's a Pietro Rogeri bass circa 1714. It was built in Brescia Italy over three hundred years ago.  Pietro was the son of Giacomo Rogeri.  Giacomo studied to be a luthier along with Stradivari under the grand teacher, Amati. Amati is the innovator of the modern violin pretty much as we know it today.  He knew all the secrets!

Stradivari did not make basses because it required too much wood. However, Rogeri did make basses. Back then, you had to go to the forest, find the perfect tree, cut it down and drag it home with a horse! Then it lays in the backyard for a hundred years before they use it to make an instrument. Wood stayed in the family business. It's been understood that my bass was made by the son, Pietro, and that he used his fathers label inside the bass.

I got the bass from Gordon Stevens. He was the bassist with the rock group, Moby Grape.  His family owned Stevens music in San Jose Ca. and Gordon became a collector of fine stringed instruments. In 1976 he made a trip to Italy to pick up 11 basses to bring to the states.  The Rogeri was the cream of the crop and so he kept it for himself for 20 years.

In 1995, I was in San Jose Ca. doing a recording session at the Stevens Music studio.  During one of the breaks, I wandered up to Gordon's shop to see his instruments.  I was playing different ones just checking them out then, I picked up one and played a single note (I remembered it was a low Ab!Ha!) and said, holy Jesus! this sounds like god! It had a sound that I had always tried to find and a lot more.  I asked the clerk about the bass and he said, Oh no, that one's not for sell, thats Gordon's bass. I was quite disappointed that It wasn't for sell but was happy to play it for sure.  I just kept coming up on my breaks to play this amazing bass!  After a while, Jim Edwards, an old bass teacher of mine happened to show up and was listening to me play. He eventually said, that bass is you, it's like butter in your hands!

Then Gordon showed up and was listening also. I couldn't stop playing and raving about this instrument! Gordon told me the story of how he acquired it and said it was the best of the batch he brought over from Italy. The second best one was sold to Stanley Clarke and at one point apparently, Gary Karr was interested in the Rogeri but it was not for sell.  Gary played etudes on it and had people in tears according to Gordon.

A few years passed by and Gordon decided to retire and remembered how I played the instrument and how much I loved it.  He called me in Las Vegas and said he'd decided that I should have it. At that point, I frankly didn't care what it cost. I was going to own it regardless and so I figured out a way to pay for it as Gordon worked with me on the terms. Now I've owned it for 23 years! It's called a "Lifetime Instrument."  And I was lucky enough to find mine!

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