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1960s Juzek

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Jacob Bartfield, Feb 25, 2002.

  1. I'm in the market for an upright bass, and this local instrument repair guy recently got three 5/8 scale Juzek basses that were either made in the 1960s or 70s. They had all been sitting in an attic for the past 30 years, and haven't been played at all. They look to be in perfect condition, even though he had to fix up the seems. The one I'm interested in is $4,500. What do you think? Is that a good price?
    Also, I'm still debating between a 5/8 and a 3/4. I'm gonna be playing mostly jazz type music, probobly amplified, so I'm thinking that I could get away with a 5/8. Any thoughts?:confused:
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    A 5/8 Juzek good be fun if you are five foot two-eyes of blue [or if you have a hernia]

    If it had a drop dead set-up $3000 would be a premium price.
  3. That's interesting. Most people have told me that $4500 is a good price. Did I mention it's made of real, hand-carved wood?
  4. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I know this bass quite well. The smaller size severely limits its resale value and the more modern Juzeks are the least desirable ones. Within this price range you have much better options.
  5. Guess what bass I saw Sunday? (Hint: Steve McIntyre).
    That back is just beautiful.
  6. Thanks for your responses. I didn't mean to question your credibility or your knowledge as a luthier. I've been trying to look around, and basses of good quality in my price range seem hard to find. Do you have any recomendations?
  7. I know a local teacher here in the Twin Cities that just bought one of those from a person in Brooklyn that is selling them for a school system that discontinued their string program. I think he paid 2K for it.
  8. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    That's OK-I didn't feel you questioned my credibility at all [I have credibility?!]. Just spend some time wading through [All Hail] Bob Gollihur's website-you'll find plenty of info.

    Cool, and thanks. How did that come to pass-are you a friend of Steve?

  9. Well, my parents bought me the Juzek without telling me as an early 18th birthday present, so I didn't even have to pay for it, even if it was a bad deal. Oh well, their loss. It may take it a few months to break in, because it bassically has never been played, but I think once it warms up it will sound great. By the way, I'm a wimpy electric bass/cello player, so that's why I got the 5/8 scale.
  10. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    "Bad deal" is all relative (no pun intended). Nobody (including me) has 'too much money' but it's only money. Now, you have a bass -- say thanks, eh?



    b) You will notice the bass "opening up" as you play it more. Bowed long tones in all registers will help.

    c) Practice up and enjoy!
  11. Thanks, Samuel. So bowed long notes will help the bass open up? I'll keep that in mind.
  12. At least 3 good things come from long, slow scales ( as in 3 seconds per note):
    1. Your intonation will improve.
    2. It will strengthen your left hand.
    3. It develops the resonance of the bass.

    For what it's worth, Lyn Christie is a top notch jazz bassist who plays a Juzek 5/8 all the time. So if you already have one, the world will not end.
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    FWIW, the bass the Gary Karr just had built, pictured in the current issue of DB mag, looks pretty tiny. Anyway, the best bass is a free one...someone once asked Paul McCartney which basses were his favorites, and he answered "the one that they (Yamaha, at the time) gave me...I think it's blue"....
  14. I understand Karr's 'Amati' is on the small side, which may have something to do with his 4 finger technique.
  15. Does anyone know why Gary Karr may prefer a smaller bass?
  16. Well, when someone offers you an Amati for free, you sort of take it.
  17. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I believe there's several reasons Gary plays this bass:

    a) Gary's not a big guy -- I'd guess under 5' 6". His hands aren't huge, either.

    b) The "Amati" bass is the Koussevitsky (sp?) bass -- Madame Koussevitsky and her foundation have let Gary use it for many years. It's packed with history.

    c) It's a mighty fine instrument, irrespective of its provenance. If you've ever played an instrument that has "object power" -- anything, a great old Martin or Gibson, a real 50's Strat, a fine Mark VI tenor, a beautiful Turkish "K" cymbal -- you know what I mean.

    d) Gary plays solos, in "solo" tuning. He wants an instrument that will carry over an orchestra rather than a low-C woofer.
  18. So the sound of smaller instruments carries better?
  19. This reminds me of some stories Barrie Kolstein was telling me a couple of weeks ago. It's amazing how over just the last few decades bass prices have soared.

    Fred Zimmerman and David Walter were playing on a tour of Europe sometime in the '50's and heard Bille was selling his basses, an Amati and others the makers of which I can't remember. The Amati was purchased for $500 or something. All three were purchased for under $2000.

    At around the same time Sam Kolstein sold a Vincenzo Panormo for something like $1500!
  20. No.