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The Accomplishment of Gary Karr

The Accomplishment of Gary Karr

by Frederick C. Lyman, Jr

Originally published in Guild of American Luthiers Quarterly, Volume 11 ,#4, 1983

Gary Karr’s great achievement, which brought him world renown in the late 1960s, was that he performed on the double bass, in a completely fluent melodic manner. He had perfected a technique that employed the entire register of the bass with complete freedom, with perfect intonation, with consistency of tone-quality, with complete expressive control over dynamics, attack, and shading, and with a big, rich, full sound that would carry over an entire symphony orchestra as a solo voice.

Gary was the first recognized artist to achieve this mastery of the bass, and, years later, when there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of very good bassists, he is still a uniquely great performer, a genuine unmitigated virtuoso who can dazzle the audiences like no one else. The immediate response to his work was wonder and delight, as it still is.

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