Double Bass value

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by mbass, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. mbass


    Sep 6, 2002
    Please help

    I have come across a bass I am considering buying (but the price is not high enough to warrant a professional appraisal), the following is what I have been told about the bass (I can trust the seller) and some of the following I have seen.

    It was hand made in Hungary in 1945 by a Master builder (there is a label).
    Solid wood, 3/4 size, violin corners, flame maple back, and a hand rubed dark oil (varnish?) finish.
    It was brought over from Hungary (to Canada) by an excellent builder/repair luthier (the seller).
    The luthier took off the front and back and repaired a few cracks and checked out the entire inside.
    A new good quality ebony finger board was put on, a new end pin, a new auger? bridge with adjusters, a new nut, a new sound post (old wood), he took 2 millimeters off the neck thickness as he said it felt too thick for him, and put on helicore orchestral strings (I think).
    The bass is set up, playable, and has no major damage other than 58 years worth of niks and scratches.

    It sounds good but not very loud, it probably could use other strings for pizz jazz. There were no buzzes up and down the neck.

    He was previously selling it for $7,000 or 8,000 US, but apperently now needs some money for home renos.

    I can have it for $4,300 US ??????????:confused:

    Any opinions, I know its tough without seeing it but please help. Thanks.
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Sounds like a good deal to me-especially if he as the repairer is willing to stand behind its structural integrity.
  3. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    I've been looking and the opinion I've gotten is a good,serious beginner instrument should cost about $3000, that sound like a good deal.
  4. JPBass


    Aug 31, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    Why not? How much does an appraisal cost?

  5. I would think an instrument in that price range would be worth getting an appraisal, or at least a second opinion from a well known luthier.
  6. Gufenov


    Jun 8, 2003
    I can't see dropping that kind of money without an appraisal, if only for peace of mind. But I certainly disagree that an you have to spend $3,000 to get a "good, serious, beginner instrument." If price is the criteria, why not leave a large price tag hanging from the scroll so everyone can see how "serious" you are?
  7. lbanks


    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    If I pay $3000 on an instrument, there will a small sign in front it, at all times, stating price, circumstance and penalties for touching said instrument. (Possibly followed by a police investigation into circumstance of the $3000.):)
  8. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Just some extra info to cornfuse things...

    An instrument can be handmade, with a Master label, and still be made in a factory. Hungarian mid-40s basses are not uncommon. (True, we haven't seen any pics of your bass...) All I'm saying is don't get too excited about what the label says. The factories of years ago didn't have CNC routers, but they did have multiple employees. The Master label designates (usually) better quality wood, workmanship, and finish than the other models that factory produced at that time. I really doubt, though, that this instrument was made by one guy.

    $4,300 is a good deal for a solid wood bass that doesn't have any major structural problems i.e
    sinking bass bar, broken neck, soundpost crack. However, it is always nice to get a second visual opinion. If there isn't anyone else in your area (a teacher or professional player) post some pics of this instrument. I'm sure we could help you more...
  9. Sounds ok to me, but, as Nicklloyd suggested, take some shots of the scroll, the F holes, the purfling ( the inlay that follows the edges of the top and usually the back) If you have access to a scanner of course.
    What's with the "auger"? Sounds dangerous! It sounds like you're into jazz, so ask if you can slip on a set of Thomastik or whatever jazz type string you like or are familiar with. This is the only way, for me, to tell what the bass really sounds like.
    If you want to be really thorough. go to an auto supply place and buy an inspection mirror. A round mirror mounted on a long, extendable rod that you can stick inside the F holes to look at repairs, bass bar, blocks, and dead mice and alot of interesting stuff. Of course use a flash light. That's about all i can come up with...The posting of pictures being our best shot......