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bass dims and scale length- proportion?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Bibby, Nov 11, 2004.


  1. Bibby

    Bibby Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2000
    hey guys,

    a curious question from a lurker. first a little background. i am strictly a hobby player and i play along with cd's in the spare bedroom. i do have a nice bass, though, for what i do. it is an old carved pfretzschner that i got as a gift a few years ago and had restored. i mentioned it in this forum at the time. it is the only double bass i've ever played and the only one i know.

    i've never been to analytical about the thing, i just play it for fun. lately i've been reading through this forum and am amazed at the wealth of information here! it's been a lot of fun and after reading the technical details about so many basses it made me more interested in my own. so i pulled out the tape measure just to compare the dimensions to other basses just out of curiosity. the results prompted me to ask a few questions-

    upper 20"
    lower 25"
    rib depth 8"
    body length 44"
    scale 43"

    it seems the bass is a 3/4 size with an abnormally long scale length compared to others i've read about. i know there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to double bass dimensions, but i was curious if this was outside of standard specs? does scale length or body size determine bass size? in theory, what does a longer scale/ smaller body have to do with tone?

    any of you experts willing to humor my trivial questions? :)
    thanks!
     
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Hey Bibby, You Bass sounds like it's a Pre WWII Style Bass. They were longer that the post war Basses. Pre-war = Eb Necks and post-war = D necks.

    I have an early Pfretzschner as well about 80 years old or so in Restoration right now but it is a 7/8 Bass with huge dimentions in the length. Here is the link to my Bass; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MorelliBass/MorelliBass.htm

    I believe that they made various quality models for the Trade and used other labels depending on the Buyer. Mine is Labelled Morelli and looks Pfretzschner in every way. Morelli was an Import in USA and they must have contracted more than one maker to make the different models and price ranges to fill the demand. Juzek/Wilfer is another 'like story. They also were longer b4 WWII as that was the style. 3/4 Basses averaging 43" and 7/8 around 44" was not uncommon back then. That made these factory/shop-type Bass sound a little deeper or fuller with the longer string length.

    After WWII, the lost 1"-1 1/2" per size in string length to accomadate the playing styles and the 'D' neck became the standard.
     
  3. Bibby

    Bibby Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2000
    ken,

    thanks for the response. i had to do a little research to determine what an Eb neck is (thank you archives!), and you are correct- that is what i have.

    thanks for the link to your bass- i compared it to mine and the general shapes are nearly identical. i don't have a digital camera or i would post a pic of mine. mine doesn't have the loop purfling, but the tuners are exactly the same.

    i would love to find out more about my bass if possible. i tried some internet research but came up empty. did you get this info from a book or some other resource that i could look up or buy?

    the inside of my bass is stamped G.A. PFRETZSCHNER MARKNEUKIRCHEN and a small "made in Germany" sticker.
    i don't know if this means anything to you or not.

    thanks in advance for any further information.

    bill
     
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The book I have was $260.oo but is now out of print. G.A. Pf..... is just a brand. G.A. ONLY made bows according the the books... C.F Made Basses. It's a large family of Bow and Violin makers for over 200 years but made many commercial trade instruments in the 20th century rather than fully handmade.
     
  5. Bill welcome to TBDB! I just wanted to commend you on your use of the Search and Archive feature. Most people don't bother checking these before posing questions. As you can see, the time saving issue using these two features is amazing, plus the education you get is invaluable. Your questions become more centered and focused when you know what's going on.
    Why don't you post some pictures of your bass...I don't own own a digital either, but you can buy a Kodak disposable one that includes your sots in a CD! You can get them at most camera stores or Target for a few bucks.
     
  6. Bibby

    Bibby Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2000
    thanks for the welcome, paul. i just checked out that wild beast of a bass you play. that thing scares me! all those curves and bumps and strings...:) i'll post a pic of my bass soon.

    ken, i saw that hemhaw is selling a bass in the classifieds with the same branding inside, but slightly different. my questions must have been "deja vu all over again." i've learned a lot today- thanks!

    bill