Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bob, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. bob


    Jan 27, 2000
    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Just when I thought nothing else could go wrong this winter, something did. To wit:

    My bass was stolen in San Francisco, California on the night of March 3, 2003. The instrument was taken from a vehicle parked on the 500 block of Hayes Street between Laguna and Octavia streets between 10:45 pm and 11:45 pm.

    Description of the instrument:

    7/8-size violin shaped contrabass, made in 1982 by Horst Grünert, Penzberg, and bearing the maker’s label (Lott model).

    This bass has a yellow-orange spirit varnish giving the wood a medium orange-brown appearance, with lightly flamed back and ribs. Construction is of a medium grain two-piece spruce top, round (swell) back, and maple scroll with 3-turn volute. The button near the heel of the neck is stamped with the maker’s name, as are the inside faces of the top and back. The neck is fitted with a “C” extension that is stained medium-brown and is of funky and rather amateurish construction. The bass is also fitted with an adjustable bridge, a dark brown tailpiece shaped like a harp, and a machined brass endpin made by C. Malott. The bass has numerous marks and blemishes, and shows evidence of past work to repair a broken neck. The dimensions of the bass are approximately as follows (measured in inches): Body length-46 ½; top bouts- 21 ½; waist-15 7/8; bottom bouts-27 ¼; depth-9 1/8.

    When last seen, the bass was in a dark blue, padded Cordura case (bag) bearing the Messina label, which also held a black C. F. Durro composite bow with German-style frog.

    While it is highly unlikely that anyone on this list would encounter this instrument, well, ya' never know. Even though it is insured, I'd certainly appreciate a nod if she turns up somewhere.
    Please contact Bobby Todd at (415) 701-8633 or via email at cacophonic@mindspring.com, or contact the San Francisco Police Department at (415) 553-1392 and refer to Case Number 030-259-954.

    Thanks, and y'all be careful out there.
  2. Man, that s*cks.

    Good luck, Bob. I hope you get your bass back.

    I live in Wisconsin, but I know a sax player who gigs a lot in the Bay area. I'll give him a heads up.
  3. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I'm very sorry to hear that, Bob. Theft of something so personal can be very traumatic. Perhaps you can provide us with some details of the incident in order to mebbe help someone else to avoid such misfortune.
  4. Someone stole my backpack in 7th grade and it sucked... I cant even imagine getting a bass stolen.. My bass has been in the shop for 5-6 days, and ive had dreams about it twice already.. I wish the best of luck to you in finding your bass.
  5. bob


    Jan 27, 2000
    Thanks Mike, Jeff, and Rimus. It definitely does suck, but the support from the bass community is heartening (and makes me glad I don't play certain of those other instruments).

    In response to Jeff, and to all concerned, here are the details:

    I had left my bass in my old Buick wagon which was parked in a "clean, well-lighted place." I intended to meet the usual suspects for a brief post-rehearsal session of world-problem-solving and maybe a few random acts of debauchery. Although I normally take the bass with me in these situations, on this particular night I was satisfied that the location along with the extreme difficulty a would-be thief would encounter in getting the bass out of my rusty old wagon (the bass can only come out through the tailgate, which requires a key and absolutely perfect technique to open), would provide a safe environment in which I could leave the bass unattended for a short while. Unfortunately, the person who stole the bass must have watched enough episodes of McGuyver to figure out how to get the tailgate open by breaking into the car through a front door and using some sort of prybar to tear apart the tailgate from the INSIDE of the car and slink off into the night with bass in tow.

    We all realize that there is risk involved ANYtime we leave our instruments/gear unattended. In this case, I succumbed to complacency, underestimated the level of risk, and was frankly just too darn lazy to drag the bass out etc. one more time. And I learned a valuable lesson that I won't soon forget.

    Hope this is helpful to someone.
  6. I'm really sorry to hear that your bass got stolen. When I was gigging more I would bring the bass everywhere. It was, at times, a pain in the ass. But better than the alternative.

    How many folks here insure their instrument? And through who? I've been considering it but it seemed pretty expensive. Everytime I leave the house overnight I start getting worried (I have a rider for one of my basses on my renters insurance but the 2nd bass is worth too much for that to work).

    Good idea about the sekrit sticker inside the bass. I'll have to work on getting that in there.
  7. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    That's terrible news! I hope you get it back!

    On the other hand, this brings up a question: Since DB's tend to have more, shall we say, "identifiable characteristics" than a Slab, for instance, do they tend to be recovered more often, when they are stolen?
  8. bob


    Jan 27, 2000
    Thanks to Ed, Gideon, and thrash_jazz (Adam M); and apologies to Rimas for the earlier misspelling.

    I've contacted a LOT of people and organizations in the past few days and still more to go. I had affixed a label such as Ed suggests to every instrument and piece of gear I own except for one, and guess which one that was. MaestroNet charges $50 for listing a stolen instrument, so I will forego that option on general principle (in$ult to injury); and also forego MaestroNet altogether as I begin shopping for a replacement bass. Everyone else I have contacted has been absolutely wonderful, however

    As for insurance, my bass is covered for loss under my homeowner's policy. Doesn't cover repairs, but does cover total loss due to theft, fire, etc. Another bassist I spoke with today told me that his insurance company plans to deny claims for theft from automobiles due to the extremely high number of such losses.

    thrash_jazz raises an interesting question. The bass community isn't that big, and a distinctive instrument is likely to be recognized eventually.

    It took me over a year to find this one, so I'm not looking forward to shopping again. But I just know there is a bass out there that will make me sound like Edgar Meyer. Has to be. Somewhere.
  9. Bob,
    Just like to add my word of support from the other side of the world....No matter what part of the planet you call home ther is always some Mongrel on your block who will take you down.
    I was interested to note that you are covered by your home and contents policy... We here in Aussie land are not so lucky. I have about 35K worth of gear with my DB / GK / Mackie System / Stands and outboard gear etc..... In other words I supply everything for my Trio and I ALWAYS have a security system when UNLOADING and PULLING DOWN after a gig.... I had a Warwick Bass walk from the inside of my Van about 8 years back while I went inside the venue to bring out the last of the PA. Never saw it again! And OUR insurance companies here WILL NOT give you insurance outside of your home...unless taken as a SEPERATE Policy and for a cover of $35.000 I would be be looking at $1500.00 a year plus an excess on the first $500.00.

    So NOT many Muso's in Australia Get Insurance on their gear!

    Anyway Bob .... Thinking of you! Best Wishes.

  10. Sorry to hear about your loss, I am constantly worried about things like theft. I don't even like leaving my bass out of my sight on breaks at my gig. I don't know what I would do if that happened to me.
    Best of luck,
  11. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    There should be a gig bag that has a serious backpacking arrangement built into it, so you have fewer excuses not to take it with you while you're gone for just a bit. I know I've left mine and crossed my fingers. I've been in some situations, too, that are kind of like those old fables about getting the fox, the chicken and the grain (or was it the raven, the mink, and the cheese? Muskrat, otter, loaf of rye??) where you're stuck for a moment, damned if you do or if you don't. Basically there's no such thing as 100% security; sadly paranoid vigilance might be the best shot.

    But a way to make it easier to take it with you would help.

    The thing that really gets me about a thing like this is, what do you suppose the chances are that this rotten thief plays DB? Knows anyone that plays DB? That he stole it for art and a higher purpose?

    Around my parts thieves might fence a DB for a couple cases of beer. That's the part that really sickens me...

    Best luck, man, gettin' it back. The guy who took it's got his karma WAY screwed, remember that.
  12. bob


    Jan 27, 2000
    Thank you Mick, Mike, and Damon.

    Mick wrote, "No matter what part of the planet you call home ther is always some Mongrel on your block who will take you down." Quite so. Fortunately, there'll be a local bassist (or several) who will offer to help you get back on your feet again. Thaks for the support, powermans.

    Mike mused, "I don't know what I would do if that happened to me." You'd get another bass and keep playing--especially in Brooklyn.

    Damon refers to an old tale "...kind of like those old fables about getting the fox, the chicken and the grain (or was it the raven, the mink, and the cheese? Muskrat, otter, loaf of rye??)." Actually, I think it was Moby, Ahab, and a bottle of Jack. Even better than a good backpack arrangement, I'd be down with a George Jetson briefcase bass rig. I mean, we put a man on the moon 34 years ago, so what's taking so long?

    I seriously doubt that the thief was a bassist. But the art angle is intriguing. Maybe the thief was a performance artist just "keeping it real" in the street: "I feel I can best express myself through random acts of mayhem."

    That the thief has his karma "way screwed" is probably true. Unfortunately, it begs an unsettling question about my own karma.

    Thanks again,to all.

  13. This is how George Mraz got his bass back when it was stolen. He filed a full police report, and had an accurate description of the bass. Maybe 2 years later, a guy came into David Gage's shop for repairs. David knew the bass, because he had woked on it when Mraz had it. The police were called, and Mraz was reunited with his bass. The guy who brought it in had bought it from someone else, and was just plain out of luck.
  14. BrandonEssex


    Feb 21, 2003
    Berkeley, CA
    I think the only thing worse than losing your bass may be losing a loved one, what a drag. I have made a policy for myself ever since I got a real axe, and I never ever leave it in the car. As a rule I don't leave anything in the car that's worth more than a car window, and I leave the doors unlocked (my car isn't worth anything, and if it were stolen I'd consider it a personal favor, so I don't suggest this to everybody). About insurance, the ISB offers commercial insurance for 200 a year, which will cover up to 20,000 I think. It also covers you anywhere, gigs, home, transport, I don't know about international. I should go get some myself come to think of it...... Once agian, sorry about your bass Bob, and by the way, the Contra I bought from you last year is great, it's changed my life.
  15. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    For Damon:
    We used to carry a huge bag that was heavily padded, had serious backpack straps, and wheels. It's heavy, but it works. We stopped carrying them, but I believe Eastman stocks it.

    Bob, I'm sorry to hear about your bass. We're the only bass shop in the Rochester area, and I've printed off the details and passed it around. We'll certainly let you know if it comes to town.

    p.s. a pic wouldn't hurt, may help spot it at a show or something, you never know.
  16. bob


    Jan 27, 2000
    Thank you Don, Brandon, and John.

    Don, your account of Mraz's story is encouraging. He had one important thing going for him that I don't: He's George Mraz; and therefore, his bass got a lot more exposure than mine. Still, I'm hopeful.

    Brandon, I have always tried to avoid getting too attached to "things." Unfortunately, a good musical instrument has an insidious way of becoming much more than just another thing, and I really miss my bass. Fortunately, insurance will cover the instrument. Lastly, I think you have mistaken me for that *other* Bob, the one that sells A.I. gear. I just recently purchased a brannew Clarus and agree completely with your rave.

    John, I can't thank you enough for your interest and efforts on my behalf. As I mentioned in earlier posts, the support from the bass community has been wonderful. If my bass makes it as far north as Rochester, it'll certainly be needing a new soundpost! I can't believe that I don't have a picture of my bass...I could even have had it put on the sides of milk cartons. But alas.

    Thanks again, gentlemen, for the support, tips, and encouragement.

  17. BrandonEssex


    Feb 21, 2003
    Berkeley, CA
    You're right, I did confuse you with Bob Gollihur, my mistake. I'll be in SF soon, so I'll make sure to keep my eyes open for your axe.......
  18. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    When I was about 17, I bought a bass from a local guy I knew a little bit. The next day, my Mother's reading the newspaper and comes across an article titled "String Bass Stolen From _______ School". Well, you can guess the rest of the story. The detective was there in minutes, and I was briefly in the "doghouse" (excuse the poor pun) because they assumed my complicity. But all ended well and I was absolved.

    So yes, get the police involved and keep networking...I'd be surprised if it doesn't show up. Assume that the person who snatched it is not a bassist--he'll want to unload it ASAP. I would get info to every music store and pawnshop in the Western U.S. And of course offer a reward.