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German shop bass?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Martin Beer, Mar 29, 2014.

  1. I have played this bass for around six years now, which was sold to me as German circa 1900. There is no makers name, and it is in rough cosmetic condition but is stable and sounds great. I had the fingerboard, bridge and soundpost replaced shortly after I bought the bass. The neck has been replaced at some point, as the neck is maple but the scroll is beech. It has inlaid purfling and appears to have been built as a four-string as there are no plugged holes in the scroll cheeks. The hatpeg tuners seem original too, though the G-string peg is a replacement. It has an integral bass bar, which I'm aware is a mark of a less expensive instrument.
    I'm curious about its origins, as I keep reading that external linings are a hallmark of older German basses and mine doesn't have them, though everything else seems to point towards there. So, would you call it German or some other European region? I'm taking out a new insurance policy, so I want to be sure I've described it reasonably.
    Here are some pictures of the bass:
  2. sq105

    sq105 Country Squire

    Jan 19, 2013
    Owen Sound, Ontario
    Nice bass - there's an area close to the German-Czech border full of beech trees which helps explain why a bunch of basses from this area have beech scrolls.
    Is this a hybrid bass? If the back is ply then it could have been made a little later. Perhaps someone else in this forum knows when laminates were first used (?).
  3. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    That looks remarkably similar to my bass, which also has no label in it. I was sold mine as German, late 19th century
  4. It's all solid woods and the inside is quite darkened looking, so it certainly has the look of an older bass. Also, I realise that borders moved around a lot in this area over the years, so perhaps "Germanic" is as close as anyone will get.
  5. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Ask Ken Smith at www.smithbassforums.com. He may have something to say about the bass and lack of outer linings.
  6. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Does the bass sound as good as it looks? ;)

    It has all the hallmarks of a bass from the Saxony/Bohemia region. I'd be comfortable calling it a Saxon bass.

    As someone mentioned, there are vast ancient beech forests in the region, and consequently, beech was used for necks and fingerboards on many of the violin family instruments made in Schoenbach and Luby.
  7. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    This is almost identical to my bass. I agree with the other opinions regarding its origin. Nice bass!
  8. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    That's a pretty little spot you've got it sitting in in the first picture.
  9. Yeah, I miss that garden! It was outside the little basement studio place I lived in when I bought the bass, but I've since moved on.

    Thanks for the informed opinions, guys. I've seen the thread on Ken Smith's forum about Greg's bass, and it does look very close to mine. It looks like a slightly different style of instrument from both the blockless wonder bass (belonging to a friend) that I've borrowed a few times and the 20th century German student basses (the ones with the thick tops and the orange/reddish lacquer) that I've seen.
    I've got quite attached to this bass over the few years I've been playing it and I suspect it may be my bass for a long time to come...
  10. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    +1 Ken has an encyclopedic knowledge of these things.
  11. I did think about posting there, but somehow I find the vibe over there a little intimidating. I realise this is probably irrational of me and I should just get on with it...

    KUNGfuSHERIFF Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2002
    Upstate NY
    He does tend to lash out from time to time...
  13. mlz77096


    Oct 16, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Ken was a great help to me when I was trying to decide whether or not to buy a no name bass said to be German. Pictures were all we had to go on.
  14. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Setup and repair/KRUTZ Strings
    I have played a few basses like this and they have all been nice basses, more appropriate for jazz/pizz than suited for an orchestra IMO. My bass underwent a full restoration before I bought it, getting a new bass bar, scroll graft and new finish. I would have preferred the original finish but was told it was too far gone. It has full length sound post and bass bar cracks to go with all the other ones, but it's been absolutely stable and I love it. Gitta and I are very happy together.;)