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Die Kröte kauft einen neuen alten deutschen Bass cela pourrait être en fait français

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Uncletoad, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    It is done.

    I bought an old German Bass.

    I just got home from a 1000 mile trek so I'm toast.

    Pics and explanations coming soon....
  2. bribass


    Jan 25, 2006
    Northern NJ
    Endorsing Artist; Arnold Schnitzer/ Wil DeSola New Standard RN DB
    Phil, CONGRATS!!
  3. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Congratulations Phil, I hope its everything you wanted! :)
  4. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Congrats! Gosh, we gotta wait till tomorrow for the story! :eek:
  5. You big tease.
  6. mattfong


    Jan 14, 2008
    Toronto, Canada

    I expect much from this progris riport. This thread/bass search of yours has been really interesting!
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    (This is an edited quote from Phil's/Uncletoad's initial post of this Thread.)

    I just wanted to point out that this man stated out on a mission with a specific goal set as quoted a little over 3 months ago and has stuck basically with his initial plan.

    I will not rain on his parade but did want to acknowledge his diligence in following thru with an idea he had to get to his new 'grail'.

    Congrat's Phil.. Oh and yeah.. where are those pictures?.. lol..:bag:
  8. peterpalmieri

    peterpalmieri Supporting Member

    Apr 19, 2005
    Babylon, NY
    Congrats man! Can't wait for the detail and some pictures.
  9. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    I think I figured it out, if I'm right, it's a beauty! Congratulations!!
  10. Tick, tick, tick,.............
    Hello? Phil?
    It's been 17 hours....
  11. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    I'm getting there. I gotta fix some guitars to pay for the damn gasoline bill. Gigs for the next three days, all outside.


    Still using mr. plywood til next week.

    I'll try to post it all up tonight.
  12. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Well for starters some of you may have guessed I got this bass from Ken Smith's place. He was marketing it for a friend of his. It's a late 19th Century German Bass that was made to look like a French Bass. Several people have looked at it and a few say it's French. Most people who have lots of bass experience think it's German with a high level of construction and really fantastic lumber.

    I don't care all that much. I think it looks cool no matter where it comes from.


    The grain on that top is really something. The top is two pieces that if you could find them today would be stupid money.

    The Back is screaming flame maple as are the sides and neck graft.



    The tuners are earlier 20th century French keys with bakalite knobs. Not all that practical but really good looking with the rest of the aesthetic. I dig them, they are kinda deco which as you may guess I'm a sucker for.


    And here is a comparison shot with it standing next to my Cleveland Bass. You can see how the proportions are different but overall similar in size and capacity.


    It's a 150 year old. It was made around the time Lincoln was president in the USA and we were embroiled in the civil war. It has lived through all the events of the 20the century including both World Wars. It's older than all the written history of my favorite sport Baseball. It was made before my Great Grandparents were born in Italy, in fact it was made before any member of the family I ever met was born.

    That's the kind of thing that made me want a really old bass over something that was new. It's just more me.

    My wife's first comment after "where the hell have you been" was "that bass looks like you."

    So why this bass? Well, it felt really comfortable when I played it first of all. The way its proportioned allowed me to get around it better than most of the basses I auditioned. It has that big fat punchy sound I was hunting for. Only a handfull of the basses I played had that thing. Think Ray Brown.

    It's the same string length as the Cleveland with the same D neck and similar carve so it felt immediately familiar. It's proportioned a little differently with a 1/2" smaller upper bout, a longer but thinner waist with a bit more room for the bow in the C bouts. The total body is a bit smaller and the overall bass a tad shorter. The lower bout flares like a fat bottom girl to a big 28" vs the Cleveland's 26". The ribs are 8" wide but still taper down an inch by the neck. So the center of gravity is nice and low, the bass balances pretty well all on it's own and I can reach the upper register without struggling.

    The mojo factor is off the charts. The shape is sexy. I love that rounded purfling.

    It is very light. About the same as the plywood bass or even a bit lighter. That's pretty odd but very important to me. I play tons of gigs and carry the bass around alot. Lighter weight is very friendly for that. I think it also helps that big sound. Now if I can keep from busting it up.....

    When I first encountered it the thing was strung with old dead flexocors and it was still pretty punchy pizz. When I went to revisit it I strung it up with a Spirocore Stark E and Mittel A/D/G. My first pulls on it sounded like a gun going off. The thing is a cannon. It projects big loud deep bass across the room and has really deep sounding notes that with spiros have power and girth. Way more than most of the basses in the price point had.

    I played a bunch of basses over the last several months and have learned many things from that. I set out to buy as large a bass as I could play thinking that would give me the big cannon sound I was looking for.

    I wanted loud, rich, deep and fat. I've learned that size of the bass has less to do with that sound than the way it's made and the lumber it contains.

    Moreover I realized that what I needed was a combination of richness and midrange to get power. The larger basses were sometimes swampy and got lost when I was playing even with just another bass. I now understand that I need tight bottom with a projecting midrange rather than just a big subwoofer.

    Thats in this box.

    When Kevin, the fellow that owned the bass started playing the thing arco with my modest price light Prochownik bow over those spirocores it was loud as hell, clean and projected all around the room. I wouldn't call it sweet like a cello but I'd say its rich and thick with tons of low end and a midrange push that cuts.

    Nnick Lloyd told me a long time ago that when I find a bass that sounds great arco with Spirocores on it that I should buy that bass.

    So it's not exactly the bass I set out looking for in my head but between my hands, my ears and my ass I found the bass I'm supposed to play.

    It needs a bunch of setup work for my style. I'll need to have it in the shop for a bit to make a soundpost and nut and saddle and plane the board to my feel but after that it should be good to go.

    There is the potential need for some more expensive and extensive rebuild later in it's life but that could be put off for quite a long time if ever in my time with the bass.

    I'm fortunate in that I had Arnold Schnitzer, Nick Lloyd, and Ken Smith's heads in the box giving me opinions before I plunked down the dough. Nice way to buy a bass if you can do it.

    Between them I got a pretty solid picture of the health of the bass and what kinds of costs I was going to encounter down the road. I felt pretty confident by the time I ponied up the dough.

    That's nice.

    There's more to the story but it's late.

    I'll finish it in the next couple days including pics of the runners up that somebody needs to go buy.
  13. mattfong


    Jan 14, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    Wow, congrats again! It must feel great finding -the- bass. It sure is a looker!

    By the way, is that a capo hanging off the scroll? What happened to the extension/why is the capo still there?
  14. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Oh Phil, that's a beautiful bass! Nice to see you found 'the one'. I'm really happy for you. :)
  15. Hey Toad Congrats .... I really don't give a ratZZ-Ass .... How it looks (which seems to be mostly OK ;) & mighty sweet) .... Or How it plays (which I'm certain you have figgered out already) ... Or How much friggin' MoJo that Fine Bass has or is a'sposed to have (which has to be OK and more mojo to be injected forthwith ..... since Yer The Toad AfterAll :D )

    What I'm mostly concerned about is ..... "Are You Happy" and can you play the ever-livin' stuffin' outta-it :D ? Sorry ... Dumm Question ... Have Fun .... Post some sound clips of you wailin' away on some Steve Earle live rockin'-ass song sometime (sans bow :p ) . No Sh&t .... Good Luck .... Good $$ spent there. Good Form Duuuude:D !! Call Up The Great Lebowski ... He would fer-sure-approve :D !
  16. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    It has an extension that was not properly executed. Some of it is the scroll graft was done with a bit more forward pitch scrollside than it should have. That makes not so much room for the extension to play well. It also sucked the life out of the E string. When it was taken off the whole bass opened up.

    I'm not sure what to do about all that yet. For the time being there is a temporary nut for the E. Nick will eventually take it off and make a normal nut but we'll hang on to the extension until I figure out what to do.

    I fear a neck/scroll graft would be required to make an extension work properly and I'm not ready to pay for that just yet.
  17. Uncletoad


    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Funny thing is I dunno if it's "the one". I had a very different experience buying this bass. This price point is funny. Lots of junk for what to me is a whole lotta dough but in the land of old basses is the entry level price.

    I think I found "the one" a couple times in the $50 to $150K range but that was so far away from practical for me.

    This is "the one" I could afford. Its a rat bike that needs a bunch of work in my book--which is such a weird thing to say about something that costs that much.

    It's not a perfect bass. I'm taking on faith that the G string will sound better once Nick gets the cracked soundpost out of there and makes a new one. It pretty much sucks at the moment.

    Nick said something very wise while we were talking about this bass. He said he thinks that owning a bass is in part about developing a relationship with it; Spending time playing it and getting to know what it can and cannot do. That relationship takes lots of time; Several years in fact. He suggested I dedicate 3 or 4 years in getting to know this bass, learning what it can do, tweaking the little things that push it closer towards whatever it is I like a bass to do. If after that time it's not doing what I want, sell it and move on. If it settles into my best musical friend then I'm lucky.

    Either way my time with it will be brief in comparison to it's already long time on the planet.

    Owning an old bass is like spending 20 years with Yoda after he's 100 years old. Buying a new bass is like bringing up Baby Vincent for a journey that will carry on through several lifetimes after I'm dead.
  18. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Congrats on your find. It may not be "the one" but, for now, you'll be lovin' the one you're with.
  19. Congrats, Phil. It's certainly a looker. If nothing else I would think you'll be spending more time with the bow. I know I would.

    You don't really have to tell us of course but I wonder what the payments are? I need to get this idea out of my head, for my own good.
  20. I've owned many basses. The best ones I bought from the gut rather than the brain. I knew within minutes. The key is to have someone who can stop your gut from making you blind. For me, that's Arnold.
    Having seen you in a room full of basses, just seeing the top half of the first picture, I could see your knees buckling. Congratulations.
    Oh, one last thing - was the teddy bear part of the deal?