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Bohmann basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Paul Warburton, Aug 19, 2003.


  1. My name is Paul Warburton, i'm new to this forum and am a jazz double bassist in the Denver area.
    I'm trying to find other owners of basses made by a luthier who lived in Chicago in the late 1800s-early 1900s named Joseph Bohmann. This is the most beautifully bizarre bass i've ever seen. It has mother of pearl inlays on the tips of the scroll. The machines are laid into etched cast iron full plates that are capped over the brass cogs and worm gears. The tuner shafts and turners are very large wuth three decorative holes in each turner. Five tuners. The scroll and neck are carved out of two pieces of ebony sanwiched in between three pieces of curly maple. The ebony fingerboard has channels carved into it under the G and B strings. On another thread of this forum, people are talking about 5 string low B basses and concerns about the lack of sound from the B string. This bass was made as a 5 string and has alot of added support designed into the inside of the top. The B sounds like a growling E on a 4 stringer and sounds like a pipe organ with the bow! The fingerboard is laid over the B side of the neck to accomodate the extra string and keeps the neck fairly thin. It has double shoulders, similar to some violones i've seen. It has triple purfling, including purfling in the edges where you lay it down. And yes, i use bumpers on the edges! The f/holes have lips carved around them. Double ebony inlays go from the button down the highly figured curly maple back and join the purfling in the bottom bout in a carved design. The ribs are laminated.
    This instrument was aquired in Chicago in 1978 from the old Kagan and Gaines store on Wabash Street down town. It was tied up in an estate squabble and long story short, i'm the firstplayer/owner of this bass.
    This is my first post and i'm sorry about the length, but i'm looking for anyone else who might own one of Bohmanns basses. He made almost every stringed instrument imaginable, including many stringed guitars with many drone strings and mandolins of his own invention. I will post some pictures when i learn how. All respect, Paul
     
  2. I'm an old friend of Paul Warburton. The bass he describes is truely a unique instrument. What is really unique about it is that it sounds fabulous all the way from the low B to the end of the fingerboard on the G string. It doesn't hurt that Paul is a world class player capable of using everything this marvelous bass can put out. Welcome to TalkBass Paul!
     
  3. Bob, Thanks for the kind words and it's good to be on TalkBass! Paul
     
  4. Sorry I don't have any info on the bass, but I must say it sounds like a fascinating instrument. I'd love to see some picures of it!
     
  5. Ehuwiko

    Ehuwiko

    Aug 18, 2003
    Gardiner, Maine
    As would I. Five string basses have always fascinated me, and this one sounds particularly interesting.
     
  6. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    The entry for Bohman in the Henley book is most interesting-this man was no shrinking violet! However it makes no mention of his having built basses. I've also not seen any of his basses in my 20 years in the biz. Perhaps he made only a few or maybe yours is the only one? Your desription certainly matches the style outlined in Henley. I'll ask the question on the Tobi list[unless Bob gets to it first!]
     
  7. Since you thought of it first, it's all yours.
     
  8. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Done. BTW I read the Henley entry again-this time with my reading glasses-lol. The line I missed was[Five grades of double-basses] Sorry.
     
  9. You guys are great! Jeff, you're right about Bohmann (2 Ns) being no Shrinking Violet. There's a small label, where labels usually are, on the inside of the back, bass side, with a likeness of Bohmann with his shop apron on, a little shop hat, his arms crossed with a wood working tool in each hand. The exclamation " He challenges the universe to equal the tone of this instrument" Then, once when we took off the top to fix the neck block, we were able to see a huge replica of the regular label that almost fills the inside of the upper bass side rib! There was an article about Bohmanns guitars in a 1996 Vintage Guitar magazine. I bought two more of his basses later on, but they had been varnished by Kagan and Gains where I purchased them. They didn't have the fantastic machines, double shoulders, fifth string and the five piece neck on one had rosewood in the middle rather than ebony. One, I sold to a bassist here in the Denver area, and the other to a bassist in the Bay area. The owner of the store told me there ARE more of Bohmanns basses out there and he had a picture of one with the original machines.
    Jeff i'm not familiar with the resources you mentioned...Tobi list and the Henley book.
    If someone on the forum can tell me how to post pictures, I have a scanner and many pictures of my bass. As Bob Branstetter can attest, this bass is something to see! Thanks again for your interest. Paul
     
  10. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Hi Paul,
    You have a few options for attaching images. If your pics are already uploaded to a server somewhere, you can choose Reply, then the IMG button, and paste the address to your pic in the dialogue box that pops up.

    You can also include them in your post as an attachment, see the FAQ at top right of this page for directions. It does require that the file size be pretty small though, and most images come out of the scanner a bit on the heavy side. Almost all photo manipulation programs come with the ability to optimize for the web, you should do that first. Your scanner probably came with a suitable program to do this with if you don't have Photoshop or similar.

    Or, since we're all jones-ing to see the bass, if you email me the pics I will put them in a nice viewer tonight and host it on my server for you. I'll take care of optimizing the pics and give them a little retouching if necessary to bring out the best in them. Email them to johngs@rochester.rr.com , that's where my comp is that I do that kind of work on.

    G/L!
    John
     
  11. John, I think I will take you up on posting the Bohmann pics. Now, all i have to do is find them. I kind of doubt that I can get them to you by tonight. If i can't find them here, i'll have to get them from a friend who took them. I do promise to get this done as soon as possible though. Luckily for me, Bob Branstetter has already backed me up on the bass' existence!
    I'm in the process of selling my house, so things are a little confused.
    Change of plans....in a couple of days, another friend who's out of town will take digitals of the bass and i'll email them to you.
    Thanks again! Paul
     
  12. Jeff, I just came from your site. I'll have to get use to who i'm dealing with on this forum! Talk about heavy weights! Man, your work is just beautiful. I'd love to play one of your basses.

    All respect.
     
  13. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Sounds good Paul, I now have it in my head that it would be cool to make a gallery on our server that features some of the great instruments that pass through this board, like yours, Jeff's lion head, Arnold's ISB competition bass (swoon!), and such.

    Let me give you a couple of tips on photographing basses with digital, home-style. Your enemy is glare and reflection. So first, no flash. Next, park the bass in a stand almost directly under the room light. Next, place some bright lamps to either side, low to the ground. Look thru the viewfinder of the camera and see if there are any big white spots of light reflecting off the instrument. Move the light further back until it stops offending. A little glare on the edge is ok, but nothing on the top or back is good. Set the camera to the highest resolution it will shoot at, and click!

    Here's an example of what you want to accomplish, no hard glare though I did pick up some reflections from objects in the room:
    http://www.cscproducts.com/pics/SB100_angled_opt.jpg

    Here's what you don't want:
    http://www.cscproducts.com/pics/7_8ths_back.jpg

    If the pics you take appear too dark, which is common, I can adjust that no problem. Time wise, whatever is convenient for you is fine with me.
     
  14. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Paul, I'd like to add my welcome to TalkBass' forums. We haven't met yet, but I work regularly with some guys who speak very highly of you, including John Zangrando and Michael Buono among many others. To those of you who don't yet know Paul's work, he's the Real Deal.
     
  15. Thanks alot Marcus!
     
  16. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Don't be fooled, Paul-most basses look good on the internet. And there are no "heavyweights"here-just plain folk with nothing better to do than talk bass.
    BTW I notice on your profile that you don't mention your Ross bass-do you still have it?
     
  17. Jeff, Bob and I had a partnership, Ross/Warburton Double Basses. We did a few basses under that name, then my wife of 26 years, Barbara, was stricken with ovarian cancer. I had to pull out of the bass making because I was her care giver. This lasted for 3 years and she lost the battle last September. Losing her had a great impact on me, and i'm just now climbing back in the saddle. I even gave up playing, haven't played a gig since her passing. Bob continues to make fine basses under his own name...www.rossdoublebass.com I'm getting back into it though and also deal in basses. Bob is one of my best friends and is a brilliant luthier.
     
  18. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Wow. I'm sorry. Even though this is the internet we at TB try as hard as we can to facsimilate a community. I know people here would be honored to be a tiny part of your "saddle".
     
  19. I've been told that losing my passion for playing is just another manifestation of grief. It hits you where you live and playing the bass is where I lived. Joining this forum has been a big step for me because you all live in the same place! Also, I just became a supporting member...Thanks to everyone.
     
  20. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Welcome to the motley collection of bass playing DUFI (prounounced, "doo-fie") that is TB. :)