NBD: EH Roth 3/4

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by shrigg, Feb 4, 2013.


  1. shrigg

    shrigg Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Traverse City, MI
    Just got home with this EH Roth hybrid. It sounds great and plays easily with action height at the fingerboard end of 2.75mm (G) to 4.75mm (E). It came strung with Spirocore Weichs which is a happy coincidence: I was searching the classifieds for the last few days for a set because I figured it would have something else on it. There is a headstock repair, an extra hole near the endpin and a crude but functional tailpiece wire fashioned from electrical wire. This is my first upright and I think I found a good one!


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  2. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2001
    Location:
    SE Wisconsin
    Nice find! I use a Roth hybrid as my studio bass at the university where I teach. That thing can holler!

    If you can swing it, I would recommend replacing the entire endpin assembly for something a bit more substantial. For some reason, Roth put that flimsy l'il deal on it (blew their budget on red varnish, apparently).

    That, plus have a good luthier check the setup out...those bridge feet should be perfectly flush with the top of the bass.
  3. StoBro

    StoBro

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    That extra hole in front of the endpin is where the plug should be that the tailgut attaches to. Roths have separate pins for the tailgut and the endpin. At least mine did.
  4. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Location:
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    Nice find! I have a fully carved E.H. Roth bass from 1960 and I have done a little research on the company and their basses.

    You can read about them here and here. The US based company Scherl & Roth was founded by Ernst Heinrich Roth II (I have a letter signed by him that came with my bass) and they imported instruments for the student market. The E.H. Roth labelled instruments were the top of their line and violins built in E.H. Roth's original workshop are somewhat coveted. Some are of the opinion that Roth's basses were made for them by another German shop like Wilfer or Hofner who specialized in double basses, but the company's website says that they make all of their own instruments in Bubenreuth.

    As others have pointed out, the bridge on your bass needs some attention and the button for the tailpiece wire has been removed (my bass does not have a separate button). A trip to a qualified bass luthier is in order. I recently replaced the original flimsy endpin on my bass with a Onyx model from Lemur Music and I can recommend this upgrade, along with a stranded steel tailpiece wire. The string height you posted sound very low. This might make it a breeze to play, but you will get more sound if you raise it a bit. Since you have adjusters you can always experiment until you find the right balance between playability and comfort.

    Congrats, and best of luck with your new bass!

    - Steve
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  6. shrigg

    shrigg Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Traverse City, MI
    I'm glad it's not an "extra" hole as I first thought. Cool, another thing for the luthier to do. Guess he can make an appropriate plug. Any chance someone could take a close up photo of their plug?
  7. kscbass

    kscbass Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Location:
    Miami
    +1 on everything Steve said. Get that hole plugged etc etc...
    I have a 1963 Carved Roth, and I also have the plugged hole right by the endpin, I'll get a pic tomorrow. I have spiro weichs on it, after playing Mittels for a few months I realized they were choking the bass. With weichs the bass is louder, clearer and has more sustain.
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  8. shrigg

    shrigg Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Traverse City, MI
    Thanks guys, what excellent information!
  9. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Madison WI
    Disclosures:
    HPF Technology: Protecting the Pocket since 2007
    Congrats!

    In my view a copper tail wire is enough of an "unknown" that it would be risky to trust it for the long term. Getting a proper wire installed won't break the bank, and would be a chance for a luthier to look things over and walk you through raising the bridge a skosh. Something in the ballpark of 5 mm on the G will probably get you to where the bass is producing most of the sound that it's capable of, without being too uncomfortable to play.

    Such a bass is worth bringing up to its best possible tone and playability!
  10. shrigg

    shrigg Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Traverse City, MI
    Yes indeed, I am making a to-do list for when I take it to my luthier. Again, I am very grateful for all the insights shared!
    This is the first quality double bass I've ever played let alone *owned* ...so I am definitely in full, eyes-wide-open learning mode! :cool:
  11. KUNGfuSHERIFF

    KUNGfuSHERIFF

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    That bass looks familiar. Did you get it from an eBay auction?
  12. shrigg

    shrigg Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Traverse City, MI
    I bought it in person from a boutique guitar amp maker in Michigan. He had bought it from someone who purchased it from a High School in the Chicago area along with some plywood Scherl & Roth 1/2 size models.
  13. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Location:
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    With the plethora of URB newbies who buy cheap Chinese basses and seek approval here, it's actually quite refreshing to see someone obtain a quality instrument who is open to advice and plans to take it to a luthier. I'm sure this instrument will provide many years of enjoyment.

    By the way, the "N49" scratched on the button by the neck heel indicates that this instrument was part of public school's inventory which is were many Roth hybrid basses found their home. It may have had a rough life up until now.

    - Steve
  14. Mike Arnopol

    Mike Arnopol Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    Disclosures:
    Owner of MAS Soundworks
    you guys don't want to know what a great deal it was!
  15. shrigg

    shrigg Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Traverse City, MI
    I just want to give this instrument the respect it deserves. I pulled it out of a wood-heated workshop so I'm busily humidifying it now. I have a luthier appointment Friday to get the bridge and tailpiece wire sorted out and a setup. We'll see what can be done about the missing bridge pin... I'm hoping to find a photo to refer to if we need to turn something out.

    It was a great deal indeed! :cool:
  16. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Location:
    The Great Midwest
    Wow nice I really want one
  17. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Location:
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    Here's a a thought on that: if you have a better endpin installed it will have a groove to accommodate the tailpiece wire, making the separate button unnecessary. It might make more sense to go this route and have the extra hole filled and finished flush with the ribs rather than trying to reproduce the original button. Your luthier, if he knows double basses, can probably advise you on this.

    - Steve
  18. shrigg

    shrigg Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Traverse City, MI
    I may tackle the endpin later as I'm financially tender at the moment... We will see.
  19. shrigg

    shrigg Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Traverse City, MI
    Now I need to get an inexpensive German bow. I'm looking for a used Gollihur, Upton or Lemur. Anyone have one they'd part with, or other quality starter suggestions?
  20. Steve Boisen

    Steve Boisen Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2003
    Location:
    Tarpon Springs, FL
    I have a Gollihur German bow and I think it's a good bow for bow for the price. I think they are a little nicer than the inexpensive Upton bow.

    - Steve
  21. shrigg

    shrigg Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Location:
    Traverse City, MI
    Thanks Steve. I gave Mr. Gollihur my business and ordered a new brazilwood German bow with a couple types of rosin ...and a K&K Bassmax while I was at it. :cool:

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