"We are very
fortunate to have Jim Ham here in Victoria. When I moved here
from Toronto, 22 years ago, I was so pleased to discover Jim -
then at Old Town Strings - and have entrusted my bow rehairs
and violin repairs to him ever since. He also did a major
overhaul on my 1918 Gambino violin, and I have always admired
how careful and painstaking he is with every detail of his work.
has made an international name for himself as a bass maker with
his own personal design to make the instrument more ďuser
friendlyĒ and it was fascinating for me to learn more about his
innovation when I interviewed him for an article in the
Doublebassist magazine. Jim has a waiting list (from all over
the world) for these handcrafted double basses, but I have a
hunch that he also still loves to see kids and families, and to
have them visit his workshop. I never hesitate to recommend Jim
to my students and colleagues for repairs and bow re-hairs - and,
you can always count on Jim in an emergency!"
|"Since 1967, I have
commissioned over twenty doublebasses from various luthiers throughout
the world. With each instrument I had strong hopes that it would satisfy
my dream of the perfect doublebass. However, that dream did not become a
reality until 1995 when James Ham presented me with his opus one. With
this instrument, I found the perfect partner for which I had been
waiting for more than four decades.
Because of James Ham's remarkable innovations, his doublebass proved to
be the most user friendly instrument I had ever played. Also, it has a
soaring voice that could be heard above the thickest accompaniment of a
symphony orchestra. Because of the full range of color that could be
drawn from my Ham bass, I stopped using my famed Amati in favor of the
Ham for all my recordings and concerts since 1995. I feel truly blessed
to have had the Ham bass as part of my life during the past 13 years. It
has had a powerful influence on my playing that I have not witnessed
with any of the other great instruments I have owned throughout my
career. For me, James Ham is the most important luthier in the history
of the doublebass."
- Gary Karr
"My James Ham double bass has been a fantastic asset in both my orchestral, chamber, and recording work. It is a versatile instrument that blends very well within an orchestral bass section, yet provides the clear and clean tone and quick reaction necessary for smaller ensembles and solo passages. The James Ham bass also provides a unique advantage with it's ergonomic design, the dramatically sloped shoulders offer effortless access to the high register and a reduction
of back and shoulder tension. Also this bass eliminates many of the travel problems I have had with other basses. Finally, the adjustable neck block has eliminated the need for sound-reducing bridge adjusters or traveling with multiple bridges. I would recommend James Ham double basses for any professional bassist."
- Matthew Baker
"I commissioned my double
bass from Jim Ham after I had the opportunity to play one of his brand
new instruments. I was blown away by the powerful sound I heard in all
registers of the
combined with its incredible playabilty. I knew right away that this was
the instrument for me! I ordered the gamba-shaped model, and throughout
the construction process it was clear that Jimís sole intention was to
build the best instrument for me personally, and he was very happy to
work with me to that end. Jimís virtuosic craftsmanship, obsessive
attention to detail, and advanced ergonomic design concepts make his
instruments the finest in the world. I couldnít imagine playing another
instrument. I wholeheartedly recommend Jim Hamís double basses to any
musicians seeking the highest quality double basses available."
I bought my James Ham double bass, his second creation, eleven years
ago. The velvety sound and feel of his first bass, commissioned, owned
and loved by Gary Karr, made me drool... almost immediately I decided to
commission one of my own. Having enjoyed the strengths and endured the
weaknesses of seven basses during my career as Principal Bass of the
Victoria Symphony, I was ready for my final choice in instruments and I
took the plunge.
Seven months later I received my beautiful, dark, sloped-shouldered bass. Jim Ham, a genius in instrument design, had kindly allowed me to be involved with the varnishing process and together we had decided on a simple E string extension (senza mechanical fingers!) for the demands of orchestral repertoire. I love this bass every time I play it, for its ease of tone production, both in orchestra and in chamber music, and its ability to project in solos. The strings are closer together and the tuning pegs are designed for precision in tuning. The fabulous feature of a moveable neck that does not change the pitch when adjusted, makes different performing styles so easy, from Bach to Brahms with a simple turn of a key. Finally, the sloping shoulders make the high register easy to reach. I have never looked at another bass since and I endorse the Ham bass whole-heartedly.
- Mary Rannie, Prinicipal Bass
Victoria Symphony Orchestra