Barry Guy / Dawson Travelbass

A travel-friendly double bass designed to take up less space and sustain less damage during transit than conventional basses has been developed in the UK.

The Guy-Dawson Travel Bass, commissioned by UK bassist and composer Barry Guy and made originally by UK luthier Roger Dawson, but these days by the London based luthier Laurence Dixon, is suited to bassists who frequently travel and who may be familiar with the difficulties and risk of damage in transporting a conventional bass. 'One of the biggest risks to a bass when travelling is the neck breaking.' explains Guy. 'Tension is often what breaks basses at airports as the instrument is thrown around.'

The instrument is flat-backed and has the same neck height, string length and shoulder profile as a conventional 3/4 size bass, but is thinner in depth, making it slimmer and lighter. A neck pivot block allows the neck to tip forwards to an upright position, creating a straighter profile, and a wedge is then inserted to hold the neck in this position during transit.

'The great thing about this bass is that everything is already in place.
It's only a matter of readjusting and putting the strings back on.' explains Dawson. 'Magically, the instrument has great resonance and full sound,' adds Guy.

At 8.30 kg the bass is roughly half the weight of an average 3/4 size instrument. The total weight, including soundware, cover and Stevenson trunk is under 25kgs – the standard airline baggage allowance. Its front and sides are made from spruce and maple respectively, with a plywood back. Orders are already being taken for the instrument, which is currently at the prototype stage. Further developments are planned, including a convenient bag to store the bridge in during transit, a lighter, metal neck pivot block, and lighter materials are also being considered. Both four- and five-string versions are available.

Chloe Cutts – Bassist Magazine, Autumn 2002

Packing the Travelbass – picture sequence

For further information contact Barry Guy at or

Laurence Dixon, luthier in London

Stevenson Trunks Ltd (flight case)