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Dominico Montagnana copy?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Stradosfella, May 2, 2005.

  1. http://www.kolstein.com/instruments/bass/b2373/index.shtml

    I was goin through Barries website, and this bass jumped out at me. I emailed him about it, and he said he builds it for 28K. Does this sound reasonable? Is it probably a bass well worth the money? It's stunning, but how far does that get ya?

  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    That's a beautiful bass, but I don't see the resemblance to Montagnana's instruments.
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I prefer to put my own scratches and let the Bass age naturally. The best makers, Montagnana included, never left so many Scratches and File marks. They used Knives and Scrapers to clean them up. Sandpaper was not yet invented. I love the look of an Older Bass with Natural 'Patina'. I don't like seeing the Patina faked. It could also be used to cover thinks up. I prefer a new Bass to be made clean and accuratly nowadays.
  4. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    Barrie sold a Montagnana a few years back -- my guess is that this is a copy of the one he sold.

    On the issue of "antiquing" basses, I don't have strong feelings. My Arvi is not antiqued, and I don't mind; my Kolstein Fendt is antiqued, and I don't mind that either.

    Someone I know with a Pollman five-string was told by Ralph Krahmer that Ralph antiques basses so that the owner won't be so upset the first time a standmate whacks the bass with his bow. :)

    Since this particular model is made by Barrie only on commission, my guess is that he would be willing to do it without antiquing for anyone to whom that is an important issue.
  5. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    I'm with you Ken, but this is the fashion these days. I was surprised at how many new competition instruments were antiqued at the VSA competition. The best antiqued instrument I saw there (imho) included a scroll graft. Brand new instrument, scroll graft. You had to admire the maker's commitment to authenticity.
  6. Mudfuzz


    Apr 3, 2004
    Personally. I feel that they should have a picture of the bass they copied along with the pictures of the copy. If you go by [pictures of] the Prescott "LaFaro" Bass and it's copy they are similar but no more to me.
  7. My Fendt is antiqued, and I think its kinda cool, but he almost went overboard with it. The bass is so beautiful, that I'm not sure the antiquing would bother me that much, if I got an older bass it would be there anyway. The real thing that matters is how it plays, I imagine it would sound similar to a Montagnana, so Pete, how does yours sound? Although, it could easily be a completly diffrent animal.
    Oh, It is returnable withen a period.
  8. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I got my Fendt in a 5-string configuration, and I think it's really good, especially for the money. The sound is huge, even on the E and B strings, which are noticeably wimpy on some other fives that I've played. The G, D, and A are terrific.

    I've decided to buy the bass, though I'm new to fives and may decide to cash it in on a four string at some point down the road after I've given the five-string thing a real try. But my goal is to make it work.
  9. I have to agree with Ken Smith 100%.

    The size is impressive and perhaps the only wood available for that size without breaking the bank is slab cut fir. But my take is that slab cut antique basses acquired their value through their sound, not because of the rustic quality of the material. Since this is a knock-off (pardon my vulgarism, but a copy is a copy), it has none of that acquired value, and they are asking you to break the bank anyway. I know of at least 4 or 5 contemporary luthiers who bust my chops quite frequently here who I would gladly turn more money over to to make a virtually perfectly finished symphony quality 4/4 bass and I think (though some would tack on a PITA premium just for me) the instruments that they are producing would be originals well worth the money. Not that Kolstein isn't making a fine instrument, but they are pricing to a market that I don't understand and would not encourage one to speculate in. :rollno:
  10. P.S. Silversorcerer is off to a 3 hr. rehearsal with his shiny new 4/4 5-string, still holding at least an extra zero. Interesting that I now merit the distinction of a warning with a post. COOL! :smug:
  11. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    (some general thoughts on antiquing, not on this particular bass)

    Antiquing has been going on since the late 1800s and plenty of Juzeks (for example) are antiqued; it's nothing new. Sometimes it comes down to the sale: an instrument that looks brand-spankin' new can take longer to sell than an antiqued one. There are different levels of antiquing. Some makers will copy ALL the scratches, grafts, and dings. Others prefer some light shading and grain-enhancement; it gives the bass a 20-30 year old look, and is a little more "inviting" to the player.

    Also, really good antiquing can represent the maker's knowledge of varnish materials and techniques. It reminds me of musical improvisation. Looking at an antiqued instrument, for me, is like hearing a live jazz performance. (Except I don't have to pay a cover charge and buy two drinks per set...)
  12. Antiquing is like fishing...fun, frustrating, exciting, addicting...

    If you look at the back of the bass in question it has wood that has not so much been antiqued, but has flaws. I would imagine that the maker (Kolstien) stabalized those flaws. beautiful in some ways, but can you picture the back with flawless AAA maple with a snakewood center strip covered with some transparent varnish. :cool:
  13. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Ugh... it's those fugly tuners again. I hate those tuners lol. Imagine trying to put new strings on and bring them up to pitch, with those crescent moon pieces of metal digging into your thumbs. Although since the instrument is only through special commission, I'm sure you could have whatever tuner you wanted.
  14. I like both antiqued basses and clean ones. I think both can demonstrate a makers talent, and I would think a maker would want to be able to do either, to satisfy his customers. I wouldn't base my decision to purchase an instrument on the issue though, but if I were to have a bass comissioned I'd sure have a tough time deciding. I'd probably go antiqued though, at least to some extent, because I love the look of a bass that is well worn or even beat. My basses definately get used, and antiquing would just get a new bass off to a good start.
  15. At least Kolstein includes a nice padded case to help prevent any new nicks and dings ..... :p
  16. I wouldn't argue that this is not true, the buying public spends in ways that are often difficult to fathom. Imagine the difference between a bass showroom and a car dealership. You buy a "new" bass and the value is enhanced by faux damage to the extent that it definitely doesn't look like the previous owner was a "little old lady" but more like a brawling, clumsy, abuser of a precious work of art.
    I don't think I have any problem with an antique looking finish. That will look nice and like an older instrument that was cared for. I guess what bugs me most is the glorification of damage, or any odd obsession with these cosmetic treatments over the sound. As far as the authenticity of the damage that is copied into the bass, neck grafts and such, that seems totally counter to common sense. None of these makers whose instruments are copied pre-damaged the basses they made. It's a small point, and in the end, to each his own. I would think this type of "authenticity" would be more prized in the movie set design field. But hey, what do I know ...
  17. While it's not something I'd probably purchase, I think a new bass that was an exact copy of a significant old bass, down to the damage and reparis, would be pretty interesteing. That strikes me as more like model building or something than instrument making, but if I were a maker I think I'd give it a shot.
  18. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Not all Cracks in a Bass would be considered Damage if they happened from either un-seasoned wood or Top Splits from the Back Shrinking and the Top not able to 'give' so it splits when the Ribs pull on it.

    I believe many makers made Basses as needed and aged their woods mainly for Violins and Cellos. Most old Basses have a ton of cracks in the top. The Violins and Cellos do not. I attribute this to the two reasons above but maily the seasoning or lack of it.

    Not until my recent purchase of an 1811 Gilkes English masterpiece did I have this viewpoint. The Gilkes does not have a single crack in the top after over 195 years of it being completed. This Bass took awhile to complete so the top is easily older than that. I had a later (1859?) Bernadel years ago and it too had no cracks but the Top was VERY thick. Maybe 8mm at the ff hole edge and much more in the center I'm sure. The Gilkes is a Copy of a Strad Cello and has normal thickness dimentions and No sinking in at the Top or FFs at all either.

    The Wood quality and Aging plays a huge role in how a Bass will age and remain healthy. I have also one other very old Bass, likely English and the Top on that is as well shaped as the day it was made and without any sinking at all either. The Bass Bar on that is Tiny but the Top has ultra tight grain making it extra strong. This Bass has only two long cracks under the FF hole Wings on each side with looks evident of Back shrinkage pulling the Top as the Ribs are stretched outwards splitting it apart in it's earilier years.

    My point is this; If you are going to copy a Master, do as he would do on his best day. When you copy a song, do you play wrong notes or make mistakes on purpose as an Artist might have done in concert?.. No, you do your best to play it perfect.

    Aging the Bass slightly with the Varnish or shading is one thing, but leaving and making nicks and scratches and creating crudeness within the design is not how that master would have performed today. My old Basses look old naturally now. How will a new Bass like these "antiqued" ones be after 200 years.
  19. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    Not to wax sentimental too much, but to me, every scratch has a story. My bass, slabs and acoustic guitar were all new or mostly new mint when I got them. Every scratch, nick or otherwise relates to something, be it funny, angering or sad. I can explain them all. They all have story.

    I was in the basement the other day cleaning up, as we are moving soon. I was looking at the old crib and noticed the chew marks along the top rails. It sparked a whole series of memories about my sons and where they were babies. It was sweet.

    I have worn out ball gloves, toys, furniture and everything else laying around the house. They all have their own stories.

    When you come upon a genuine article that has spent it's life elsewhere, even that has respect. I love to look at old instruments and see how every wear mark, ding and scratch reflects who and how it was played. Did it live a rough life or a sheltered one?

    To me, faking an antique bass is like faking someone's life. It just feels wrong.

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