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Mark Carlsen - Luthier (978) 851-4499

Bass Example    Mark Carlsen--Biography

    I am a native of Minneapolis, MN. My first instrument was a clarinet that my Grandfather purchased for me. I played in the clarinet in the school band until 1970.

    I have always loved the sound of the bass. While others were singing lyrics, I found myself singing bass lines. So in 1970, I switched from clarinet to bass guitar. I played in my High School Band, Pop Group, and Choir along with various basement and garage bands with friends.

    For 3 years after High School I worked for the most part with a top 40 band named “Melisma”.

    In 1977 I moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. It was at Berklee that I began to play the double bass. I have been fortunate to study with: John Repucci, Bruce Gertz, Bill Curtis, and John Lockwood. I have attended Master classes lead by Dave Holland and Richard Davis.

    In 1981 I was hired to play with the Tommy Dorsey Band, led by trombonist Buddy Morrow. For 3 ˝ years I traveled around the U.S., Canada, South America, and Japan. In this venue I was fortunate to back many singers and groups including; Cab Calloway, Jimmy Witherspoon, Vic Damone, Helen, Forrest, Helen O’Connell, Urbie Green, and many others.

    Upon my return to the Boston scene, I jumped right in gigging with various groups that including some fine artists like; Herb Pomeroy, Ray Santisi, John Laporta, Phil Wilson, George Garzone, Gray Sargent, Alan Dawson, Dick Johnson, Dave McKenna to mention a few.

    I have also backed numerous instrumentalists and vocalists like, Jim Porcella, Carol O’Shaughnessy, Rebecca Paris, Paul Broadnax, Al Grey, Joel Grey, Joe Hunt, Greg Hopkins, Billy Novak, Dave Whitney, Richie Cole, Ed Saindon. These are just a few of the artists that I have been lucky to work with.

    In 2004 I joined the Ryles Jazz Orchestra led by Frank Vardaros. In this setting I worked with Bobby Shew, Marvin Stamm, Jerry Bergonzi, Slide Hampton, Jon Faddis, and Arturo Sandoval.

    More recently I have had the incredible pleasure of producing and releasing a duo CD with Jon Wheatley, featuring the following artists: Arnie Krakowsky, Gary Johnson, and Jeff Stout. The CD is named 50/50 as Jon and I celebrated our 50th birthdays together.

    I have taught privately for many years.

    The Set Up Shop was born in 1996 with encouragement from family and friends. Primarily self-taught, my main Luthier teacher has been arch top builder Carl Mesrobian. After 13 years and having Carl on board to do some restoration work, the Set Up Shop is continuing to thrive.