Contrabass Conversations double bass life

526: Kristin Zoernig on early music

Oct. 1, 2018

Kristin Zoernig is one of the country’s most in-demand early music double bassists.  In addition to being the bassist for the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, Kristin performs with the American Bach Soloists, Oregon Bach Festival, Cantata Collective, and a wide range of other ensembles.

Kristin and I got together in person in Oakland, California to talk about her path through the music world and what it’s like being so heavily involved in the early music world.  We dig into the endlessly fascinating role of the continuo, the sonic complexities of gut strings, how Kristin first became enthralled with early music, and much more!

We also talked a lot about influences and a bit about gear.  Here’s Kristin in her own words on those two topics:

Lou Israel got me started, then I worked w John Grossman for a number of years. At Interlochen, I studied w Jack Budrow, Chris Brown, and Jeff Bradetich. Then stayed w Jeff at Northwestern. In Norway, I not only studied w Knut Guettler, but also Dan Styffe. After coming back to the U. S., I studied with Gary Karr.

My strings are hand made by Damian Dlugolecki, and Pirastro (Olives). I’m gonna try some Nikolas Baldock strings next, though I’m not displeased with my current setup. My Baroque and Classical/ Transitional bows are made by Ralph Ashmead.  I do have some additional bows, but the ones I use the most, are from Ralph.

Check out more early music-related podcast episodes here.

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Upton Bass String Instrument Company

Upton's Karr Model Upton Double Bass represents an evolution of our popular first Karr model, refined and enhanced with further input from Gary Karr. Since its introduction, the Karr Model with its combination of comfort and tone has gained a loyal following with jazz and roots players. The slim, long “Karr neck” has even become a favorite of crossover electric players.

D'Addario Strings

This episode is brought to you by D’Addario Strings! Check out their Zyex strings, which are synthetic core strings that produce an extremely warm, rich sound. Get the sound and feel of gut strings with more evenness, projection and stability than real gut.


Steve Swan String Bass

Steve Swan String Bass features the West Coast’s largest selection of double basses between Los Angeles and Canada.  Located in Burlingame, just south of San Francisco, their large retail showroom holds about 70 basses on display. Their new basses all feature professional setups and come with a cover at no additional cost. Used and consignment instruments receive any needed repairs and upgrades before getting a display position on the sales floor.


Kolstein Music

The Samuel Kolstein Violin Shop was founded by Samuel Kolstein in 1943 as a Violin and Bow making establishment in Brooklyn, New York. Now on Long Island, over 60 years later, Kolstein’s has built a proud reputation for quality, craftsmanship and expertise in both the manufacture and repair of a whole range of stringed instruments, and has expanded to a staff of twelve experts in restoration, marketing and production.

A440 Violin Shop

An institution in the Roscoe Village neighborhood for over 20 years, A440's commitment to fairness and value means that we have many satisfied customers from the local, national, and international string playing communities. Our clients include major symphony orchestras, professional orchestra and chamber music players, aspiring students, amateur adult players, all kinds of fiddlers, jazz and commercial musicians, university music departments, and public schools.

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