I had been shopping for an upright bass for a while. A good bass player friend of mine sent me a craigslist add. There wasn't much info. I was very skeptical and almost passed it up.
The add read: Acoustic Bass - 5 string - carved hollow wood body 1920's?
In good vintage condition had been serviced by John Chapin in San Francisco unique green color.
It was a crazy green color. Like I have never seen. See pictures below.
I had been looking for an old plywood Kay. This looked like everything I didn't want. I want plywood because I use a pick-up and play loud. Plus I was skeptical that it was actually from the 1920's.
My friend convinced me to go check it out. Couldn't hurt.
It was love at first pluck! It plays so nice and sounds incredible.
The person who owned it didn't know much about it. Where it came from. What brand it was. It's origin.
I have a blue LED light that I used to look inside to see if I could find a label or anything. There was a sticker inside that had a logo and read: Oakland Quality Amps
885 Athens Avenue Oakland California 94607-3427
That didn't tell me much except that I was even more skeptical about the age of the instrument.
I figured at that price she was offering the only thing that mattered is that it plays well and sounds good. So I bought it.
I went home and tried some Googling with Oakland Quality Amps and with John Chapin the man she said serviced it. No luck.
I looked again inside with my blue light to see if I could find anymore information. This time I saw something that looked like faint handwriting. So I grabbed a flashlight to see if I could get a better look at it.
There was handwritten information all over the label that I couldn't see before because my blue light was making the blue ink disappear.
Above the logo the writing says: 52 Patches - August 1944 - John Chapin -Bass Bar JC 1944
Neck Attachment and Dovetailing 5 string conversion unknown.
To the right of the Oakland Amp Company it's handwritten: Origin Unknown
Below the logo it says: 18 Patches - Summer 1997 - Jay Qureshi
Neck Splint - Jay Qureshi 1997 - New soundpost and bridge.
Signiture discovered under tailstock, under a layer of black paint.
Under protective layer of tape (Visible by detection mirror)
They replicated the signiture. The first two initials I think are H.J. I cant make out the last name. Looks to be 4 or 5 letters long. First letter might be M.
There is also another sticker that looks much older and very faded. The top part says: Serviced By John Chapin.
(printed) Aug 1944
I cant read the printing on the bottom of the old sticker.
I'm looking to find any information I can about this bass. I'm hoping someone knows about the luthiers who worked on the bass. It would be really amazing if someone recognized the signature.