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Conrad A. Gotz (Goetz?)

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Bass Barrister, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. Bass Barrister

    Bass Barrister

    Nov 4, 2004
    I spent wome time at a440 in Chicago yesterday helping a friend select a german bow. They have quite a selection of bows right now, including a bunch that formerly belonged to a retired Pittsburg Symphony player. My friend purchased a very nice pernambucco stick made by the Brazilian maker Muniz (Arcos Brasil I think). Runner-up was a Codabow. Both were in the $650 range.

    While he was trying bows, I checked out several basses. My favorite was a Lombardi, but, at $29k, that won't happen. There's a Martin Sheridan there which is very nice but a tad too big for me.

    The one I am most interested in is this one by Conrad A. Gotz:


    I did not have a chance to spend a lot of time with this bass (I'll be back to play it some more) but it seemed to be well built and, based on my brief trial, very even and warm. It's No. 556 from 1974. My one concern is the two repaired cracks: one running down the middle of the treble side rib from the neck joint for about 10", and the second on the treble side of the top plane towards the bottom and running about six inches. The luthier assured me that these are well repaired and stable.

    After all this narrative, I'm wondering if any Chicago area, or other folks, have played this bass and would like to share their comments. Please feel free to PM me if you would rather not post. If I become seriously interested, I'll ask for a trial and take the bass to another luthier for a second opinion.

    I'm also curious as to what the general opinion of Gotz basses is. My limited research, both here and on the 'net, does not yield a lot other than the knowledge that Gotz is mostly German based distributor of products made by others.

    Thanks for the help.
  2. msw


    Aug 21, 2003
    I have a 1960 #554. It is 7/8ths and is of amazingly similar flamed maple compared to the one you tried out.
    I have really enjoyed playing mine. It is powerful, deep, and despite the 42 1/2" string length, relatively easy to play. It was overhauled this past December which I posted about in the thread about Boston based luthiers.
  3. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Curious-- is the Gotz a Wilfer-related instrument? I ask because of the inlaid pattern on the back just below the neck button.
  4. Bass Barrister

    Bass Barrister

    Nov 4, 2004
    I'm also curious about this. According to the string catalog on the Gotz website - www.gotzviolins.de - Model 556 continues to be made and, with the 557, represents their "Master" basses. Apparently, Gotz does not make them but gets them from somewhere else. Wilfer? Gill? It does look Wilfer-esque.

    There are two more Gotz for sale around here at the moment. Kagan & Gaines has a 3/4 Gamba and a 7/8s thin-body. I've seen neither of those.

    So many basses . . .

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