Bohemian Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by delbass, Nov 18, 2003.

  1. delbass


    Sep 9, 2003
    Albany, NY
    I was over at my luthiers place checking out basses and noticed he had a beautiful Carved Bohemian Bass for sale, among a bunch of other Italian, German, and French basses. It was made in 1890. I can't remember the maker. When he started telling me prices, the Bohemian was by far the cheapest at $9,000.
    It plays and sounds great...loud, warm tone, and it is in near perfect condition. It has the old style wooden tuning pegs as well as the more modern machines. I am thinking of buying it, but I don't know too much about antique instruments like this one, so I was wondering if anyone could give me some info on Bohemian basses made in this time period. Why is it so cheap compared to instruments from other European areas?

  2. RED ALERT!! You're scaring the hell out of me here del! According to your profile, you're into jazz and have pretty damn good taste in bass players. Also, it looks like this will be your first attempt at purchasing a carved bass. Unless there's something you're not telling us, you need to do some more research. If you're under the impression that using the word "cheap" and $9,000 in the same sentence is cool...It's time to re-think your needs. I know what you're saying....that,compared to the other instruments in this shop, the Bohemian sounds attractive.
    You're in a pretty fertile area for bass shopping..Please check around some more. There really sould be a bigger scope in prices and instruments when their
    least expensive bass is $9,000. Be clear about what you want: string length, do you do any arco? size? shoulders (slope or no?) pattern-shape----violin corners, busetto, gamba? D neck, Eb neck and on and on. What do you mean when you say it has "Ths old style" wooden pegs as well as the more modern machines?
    Please check all our threads on buying a bass. There's a world of info. here and we're here to help you. DON'T BE IN A HURRY!
  3. delbass


    Sep 9, 2003
    Albany, NY
    Hey thanks for the reply/advice. I guess my post sounded like I was in a hurry....I'm not at all. I don't exactly have 9,000 just sitting around:) Instead of cheap, I should have said "least expensive." The bohemian is 3/4 and has gamba corners and an Eb neck. I played it for about an hour and loved its playability and tone. The reason I will be buying from this particular dealer is because he is my bass teacher from college. We are pretty good friends and he regularly does free work on my current bass. The deal we worked out with the bass is that I would put 3-4 thousand down, and then 250 a month for 24 interest. Thats the only way I could afford such an instrument, and I don't imagine any other dealer would do this. He has a bunch of other basses for sale too, including some newer carved basses going for 4-5000. Any info/things to check for on bohemian basses would be appreciated. Thanks!
  4. Hey, if this guys' your good friend and he has a good rep, it does sound like he'll stand behind the bass, then go for it.
    I can't give you any particulars on Bohemian basses in general...You know, some are big, some are little, some are flat backs and.......I've known some that were great and some that were not.
    All I suggest is take your time and play the bass under as many circumstances as possible. On gigs, with a pick-up, without. And again, check David Gages site on buying a bass as well as all our TBDB stuff on buying. Best of luck and keep us posted.
    One more thing I gotta know, what do you mean when you say this bass has the old fashioned wooden machines, as well as the more modern machines? Since i'm editing this post, I don't have the quote right in front of me.
  5. I'm not doing a very good job at making my point here.
    R2, I do know there's a difference between.
    I'm going now....
  6. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I'm with you, Paul. delbass said "wooden tuning pegs as well as the more modern machines". That confused me too...
  7. Demon & Paulie,
    I know you knew.
    What Delbass said confused me, too.
    I wanted him to see the pics, if it helps him to explain what kind of pegs/machines/whatever there are in the bass.
    You guys prolly know a helluva lot more about basses than I, so it was not for anyone´s education.
    Sorry if I insulted, no mean to underestimate your experiences...

  8. delbass


    Sep 9, 2003
    Albany, NY

    It doesn't have the tuning pegs, just the knobs. I was under the impression that the wooden knobs were originally used for tuning, then the machines were added later. Sorry for the confusion people, just shows how much I know about these instruments, though I'm definately obsessed now....if anyone has any more links to sites such as world of basses, etc., I would appreciate it. I'll try and post pictures of the bass soon. I'll hopefully be over there in a few weeks to pick up a 1920s German pernambuco(sp?) french bow he is restoring for me. You'll never believe this....I bought the bow at a tag sale for $30!! Take care.
  9. Just checking - You're saying "Bohemian", which denotes Czech, and not "Tyrolean", which would be southern Germany. Yes?
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
  11. [QUOTE[/url] is a Vienese Bass [/B][/QUOTE]

    Yep, i've always heard these type machines/peg worm,gear,cello type tuners/basses referred to as Vienese style basses.
    Have you ever seen a 5 stringer of this style?

    Looks like a serious marital aid.
  12. delbass


    Sep 9, 2003
    Albany, NY
    Yes, the bass I'm talking about is Bohemian. It has the typical European Pegs as illustrated on the Teufelsdorfer bass on the link above. Hopefully I'll be able to get some photos of it soon. When I do, I'll post them here so you all can check it out. Once I get finished selling the rest of my personal belongings, I should be able to afford the down payment, so I may have to go to the library to use the computer.....bear with me :D
    nine Grand is a lotta dough,
    we´re all waiting for your pictures...
    hope everything goes smooth, ´cause you gonna have to play a lot of bass fo´ that money.
    Good luck,
    and welcome to TB, by the way...

  14. At the risk of sounding snobbish, I don't see $9,000 as so terribly much to pay for a bass. If it's worth it, it's worth it.
  15. This thread is timely: I just returned from Prague on a Bass Hunt, and am now trying to decide on a purchase similar to the aforementioned.
    The seller says the maker was Antonin Holy (circa 1880). Does that name ring any bells (or sirens)?
    Google search reveals nil, except that a Czech chap with that name is today a prominent biochemist noted for research into anti-Hepatitis drugs. O Holy knight...
    The bass is full-sounding and in good condition, with one caveat: the saddle is set low (or there was an unfortunate neck replacement), so there's only about a 1-inch hump--necessitating some re-learning of "anchored" notes from Eb on up.
    Would that alone be of concern to you?
    Price-wise, after crating & shipping, it'll come close to the cost of the previously-mentioned Bohemian.
    Will be played w/pickup & amp--no time to test it in that mode over there--so that aspect, too, makes it a bit of a crapshoot. But my Pfretzschner & Norelli just ain't cuttin' it, the new breed of Roumanians is too young-sounding,and LA prices for mature basses are unfeasible.
    If I bought it and hated it, I could probably recover my investment here.
    Any advice or suggestion is appreciated.
  16. I don't understand what you're saying here..Do you mean a one inch hump on the FB? What are "anchored" notes? Do you mean fingered notes?
    By the way, Richard, I just checked out your site...very impressive! We have some mutual friends. Also I see you have a Morelli...I'm just getting ready to sell one which I truly love. If it's ok, i'd like to ask you a couple questions about your Morelli...I'll PM or email you.
  17. Paul,
    Your name is familiar to me--you're often referred to as the "best bassist in Colorado," and "one of the best, period." You probably knew Ronnell Bright (p) when he lived, played and led a church in Denver.
    Meanwhile, back to our mutual obsession.
    This Czech item has what might be called a thin neck block (pardon my imprecise use of the nomenclature); consequently, there's not the usual degree of "rise" of saddle, where we conveniently "anchor" or place the thumb and fingers to derive D, Eb & F. If this signifies a construction flaw or poor workmanship, I'd rather not be "saddled" with it; if it's just a quirk, the sound of the bass might compensate for the amount of practicing I'll have to do to reconfigure those positions.

    I, too, am reluctant to part with my Morelli, but it just isn't a responsive ax for jazz playing. Lately two classical players have been by to play it, and I've never heard it sound so good. It was sold to me by my first teacher & guru, Red Callender, just as he ws retiring, so it obviously has sentimental value as well.
    I should do a search for your recordings--I'm overdue for inspiration (and material to steal...)
    Take care, and thanks for your input.
  18. sean p

    sean p

    Mar 7, 2002
    eugene, oregon
    richard - if i'm understanding you correctly, you've been referring to the curve in the neck (where we place our thumbs for notes on the g string like d-eb-e) as the saddle. if i'm not mistaken, 'saddle' refers to a different part of the bass entirely: the little piece of wood (on most basses) under the tailpiece wire where it breaks over the corner at the bottom of the bass's top/table.

    i think that's the source of some of our semantic confusion around your original post. :)

    sean p
  19. Richard, you can check a couple of my things on our TBDB Sampler under Recordings...I'll be checking you as well. Ronnell and Art Hillary right? You must have played some jazz parties, because I noticed some names like Spike Robinson who I played with for years.
    Sean, thanks for clarifing what Richard was talking about there...I was confused too. I don't know what the hell you call that.." the place you rest your left hand on when you're not playing."
    I heard someone call it the "ducktail" Anyway the base of the neck? But now I know what you're talking about.
    So, does this bass have a D neck or an Eb neck?