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3/4 bass for sale

Discussion in 'DB Classifieds Archive' started by superjew, Jun 10, 2002.

  1. superjew


    May 29, 2002
    I'm putting my bass up for sale:

    3/4 size, carved table and back/ribs, gamba shape, flat back with bevel. I bought it in Holland, and was told it is of hungarian origin, but it is unlabeled. I have had it for 4 years. I do not know its age, but because of the very few cracks (except the ones I made, doing something really stupid ;) ), I would say it is not older than 100 years, although it was made to look old. I'll add pictures when I have them ready.

    contact me at: srosner@ucsd.edu
    telephone: (858) 587 0749


    string length - 41.125" (104.5 cm)
    body length - 41.75" (106 cm)
    rib depth - 9" (22.8 cm)
    lower bout - 24" (61 cm)
    C bout - 13.75" (34.9 cm)
    upper bout - 19" (48.3 cm)

    The table is a two-piece of very nice vertical grain (looks like spruce, but I might be mistaken). It is very unusual in that it has a very high arching concentrated in the middle to create a kind of ridge. I have never seen any other bass with that kind of arching. The table was very thick, so I had my luthier take some wood off it (Jeff bollenbach is probably going to kill me :) ) and install a new bass bar last summer.

    back and ribs
    The back is a two-piece, flat with a bevel towards the neck. The ribs look to be of matching wood to the back. It doesn't look like maple, but I'm not an expert so I can't tell for sure. The ribs are very deep, which make it a very loud bass. The back has what looks like a knot towards the edge of the right lower bout.

    neck and scroll
    A neck graft has been made by a previous owner (I don't know how long ago), the neck is an excellent piece of lighly flamed maple, very comfortable. The scroll looks to be original. After an idiot that I lent my bass to didn't know how to change strings, the graft came apart at the scroll and I had it reglued and strengthened with wooden screws. It keeps its tuning very well, even with the occasional santa-anas we have here.

    The machines on the scroll have very special custom made wooden pegs, out of prime-quality ebony, that were made especially for me. I also repalced the machines (not the highest quality, but the best I could find that work with wooden pegs.)

    I replaced all the "accessories" on the bass except the fingerboard. The fingerboard is a very fine piece of ebony. I had to had it trued only once in 4 years of very intensive playing, and this when I had a new bridge made to make the action a bit lower. So a new bridge made of excellent wood, a new tail-piece of fine-quality ebony, a new end-pin (the finest goetz type), new tail-wire, new tuning machines. I really spoiled my baby.

    varnish and look
    The craftsmanship is very rough (especially the back and the edges of the table, and also the purfling), although the arching of the table seems to be expertly done. This bass is very handsome (I'll put pictures here as soon as I have them in digital format). The varnish is a nice golden-brown, with a bit of red in it. The bass was made to look old, so it means there are a lot of black marks and scuffs on it. The extremely high arching, the deep ribs and the special tuning pegs give it a very striking appearance.

    The bass is 100% healthy. All cracks are fixed. I have had the soundpost re-set twice a year. No buzzes. The fingerboard is true. Only thing that still disturbs me a bit is the nut, which is a bit too low to my taste. (I had to play some pieces in which you bow above the left hand, and with the nut that low, it doesn't work).

    sound and playability
    The bass has served me well in all kinds of musical situations: in Jazz (which I don't do anymore), chamber music, orchestra, and solo. A word of warning, though: this bass has a bit of a "temperament". You have to know how to make it work. It's just the way it is. Like any bass that is well-seasoned, it has a very pronounced character, but that also means you can't teach it any new tricks. This bass is not for beginners. The fingerboard and neck are very comfortable, and allow you to play highly virtuosic pieces. I have been using it in the last two years mainly for playing solo contemporary ("ugly") music, which requires virtuoso playing and a lot of extended techniques, but also for a lot of chamber music and chamber orchestra music (playing bach, handel, schubert, beethoven, feldman, cage, etc.), for which it is very suitable.

    It does have a wolf-tone, around G#, but if your'e a good bass player you know how to get around those.

    The bridge is relatively high (if you're a Jazz player, you'll probably want it much lower), but this is something that I personally prefer. This bass is really f***ing loud. It also seems to like quite a bit of tension on the strings. I haven't tried it with gut strings. This might require a different setup.

    The sound is very sweet and somewhat bitter at the same time, which is something I enjoy very much. Going up on the E, A, and D strings gives you a reedy quality which in my opinion is superb. Very good crisp, throaty bass, and a singing, ringing treble.

    Another warning: it likes a warm acoustic environment. I have had a lot of trouble using it in a small sound-proof studio booth, although since I had the bass-bar replaced, it behaves much better in that situation. But put it in a church, or a good hall, and it sings like Maria Callas.

    All in all, a bass that works very well for the professional musician, and that will probably appreciate in value in years to come, if you take good care of it.

    Did I forget anything? I hope not.

    The reason I'm selling is that I'm getting a new instrument built for me. I would like this bass to get a really good home with an experienced bass player. This bass likes to be played, and likes its owner to treat it with a lot of love and respect. I hate to part with it, because we have a relationship going on here :) , but I have to, otherwise I would not be able to afford the new instrument.

    Asking price: $10000. I'm located in San Diego, so if your'e not to far away you can come and try it. Please let me know if there's anything else you want to know about the bass.

    (will post pictures soon)

  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    No Sharon, I'm not going to kill you-even though you messed up my name pretty good. Regraduation is not without its merits. I just feel it is a last resort and should only be done when all else has been tried. Many basses [especially those intended for institutional use] were made on the heavy side for durability and can benefit from thinning. One also has to look at the historical importance of an instrument in choosing to regraduate.

    Congrats on getting a new bass made for you-can you tell us something about it? No doubt more than myself would be interested.
  3. superjew


    May 29, 2002
    Dear Jeff,

    I apologize for mispelling your name. I hope you won't hold it against me. Thinning the table and putting a new bass bar made a very big difference for the better in my case.

    I have ordered a violone (6 strings italian model) from a luthier in Italy. It's going to be at least 8 months before it is ready. I'm concentrating more and more towards renaissance and baroque music, so I prefer an instrument that is made expressely for that purpose, rather than converting my bass to a baroque contrabass (although some people do it with great success). The model he is building is loosely based on italian pero-shaped (guitar shaped) models with a string length of 100cm.

    I was looking for ordering a small bass (I think I also contacted you, Jeff, about it), but finally decided a violone would serve me better as I really want to concentrate on renaissance music.

    I also looked at buying an old instrument, but prices are just outrageous. Paying $40000 for an old bass is way beyond my means. These days you can get a bass or violone built for you by a good luthier for around $10000 (and sometimes less), which I think is very reasonable.

  4. superjew


    May 29, 2002
    Here's a not so good picture I found now on my computer. Notice the big tuning pegs and the very broad f-holes. I'll try to get the other pictures ready as soon as possible.


  5. superjew


    May 29, 2002

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