King Acoustic Bass 3/4 Size 1939


Henderson N. White (d.1940) was an engraver and instrument repairman. He founded the instrument-making H. N. White Company in 1893 in Cleveland, Ohio, originally focusing on brass instruments. White wanted to give the same care and attention to a stringed bass instrument and the first “King Mortone” double bass was produced in 1934. After White’s death his brother Hugh and widow Edna each held the position of president for a time. In 1965 the company changed hands and the name was changed to King Musical Instruments. The string department of H. N. White was eventually sold to Kay Double Basses at which point production was switched from King Mortone to Kay branded double basses.

King Mortone double basses are crafted from the finest straight-grain spruce and curly maple. Improved geared key mechanisms ensured rigidity and sensitive tuning. The King Mortone models measure longer than similar double basses, which gives them their characteristic sound. White’s flagship bass gained a solid reputation in his day as the best double bass for jazz musicians working in the slap bass style. Today it continues to be widely used by rockabilly, bluegrass, and country musicians. This model is typical of the King Mortone style and is a reliable and robust performer.