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Help evaluating this bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Akito, Aug 13, 2012.


  1. Akito

    Akito

    Dec 1, 2003
    Spokane
    Hey guys! I am looking at a pretty old upright on consignment at a local store. I am trying to figure out a way to upload the pics from my phone. The tag inside says mittenwalder and someone's name and los angeles. It has a pickup installed in the bridge. Again I'll post pics asap.
     
  2. Akito

    Akito

    Dec 1, 2003
    Spokane
  3. Akito

    Akito

    Dec 1, 2003
    Spokane
    the tag says
    Mittenwalder
    Handarbeit
    Spezial Anfertigung fur
    Hans Weishaar, Los Angeles
     
  4. From what I can see, it appears to be a student-grade German, probably plywood, possibly 1960s. What do they want for it?
     
  5. Akito

    Akito

    Dec 1, 2003
    Spokane
    They used to have it marked at 3k but at some point they changed it to 4200. I can get it for around $1500, I'm pretty sure. Any ideas on what a good price should be? Thanks for your reply!
     
  6. $1500 is fair-ish. To make it a safer bet, have a professional bass luthier examine it before you finalize the sale.
     
  7. Akito

    Akito

    Dec 1, 2003
    Spokane
    Thanks for the help!
     
  8. Herbie 80's

    Herbie 80's

    Dec 15, 2008
    That bass looks carved to me. Especially the top. You can easily see the grain in several of the pictures. The back looks carved to my eyes as well.

    If you can get it for $1,500, and also have a bass luthier check it out, that's a steal.
     
  9. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    That's a very nice German shop bass from the early fifties or so. If I'd seen it for $1500... :)
     
  10. That is a carved bass for sure, and also German for sure. $1500 is a steal if it doesn't need anything major done to it (and it doesn't sound like a turd, which it probably doesn't).
     
  11. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Just what is a "shop bass?" I tried Googling the term but it always thinks I'm shopping for a bass :) Some one suggested that my bass, which looks similar and which I posted pics a few days ago, was a German shop bass. Shop bass as opposed to factory bass? Plywood? Assembly line bass?
    My next task will be pics of my no name French "shop bow." :)
     
  12. Al Lever

    Al Lever

    Aug 2, 2012
    Germany
    Mittenwalder Handarbeit means: Made by hand in the german area of Mittenwald. That is in the very south of Germany, near Austria. BUT there is no name of the maker. So I believe it is just another factory "hand" built bass. The tag looks very fresh for an older bass, maybe even someone did a fake....
    If you like the sound and it does not have serious damage, 1500 maybe okay....who cares if it is plywood or solid wood as long as it sounds good to you?

    Shop bass? Yes, maybe they think of an very old man with a beard who is sitting in his little shop in the dark German woods.
    He builds the basses entirely with his own hands. The wood he uses was stored by his grand-grand father in 1885.
    All he needs is a saw, a knive, human bone glue, and a secret laquer made from the blood of an alpha wolf.
    He builds one double bass in every year, not knowing that he produces some of the greatest instrument that will be very expensive fifty or hundred fifty years later...and now you have the chance to get one of this rare "German Shop Basses" for 1500 Dollars... ;-)
     
  13. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    That's a lovely picture. The chances that it bears any resemblance to the way this instrument was built are slim.

    Picture a medium-sized German factory in the post-WW2 era. A worker takes the wood which is near his bench there and carves a back. If he takes longer than a couple of hours he has the opportunity to seek new employment. The factory produces hundreds of carved basses every year, and many more plywood basses. There might be someone in the factory who has built a complete bass.

    Lots of them sound pretty good. A few sound really good.

    Some of the tops cave in, like the top in this pic.

    Oh - I forgot. At the factory the pecking-order is that the master luthiers work almost exclusively on violins. Behind their backs they refer to the bass-builders as "the carpenters."

    Carry on . . .
     
  14. Hans Weishaar Violins is a shop that is still in business in CA:

    323-466-6293
    627 N. Larchmont Blvd.
    Los Angeles, CA 90004

    Had my bow rehaired there recently, but did not notice any basses around though, mostly violins.
     
  15. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Sam, thanks for straightening out what a shop bass is. You got there before I did. Al Lever, welcome to Talkbass! How 'bout filling out your profile so that we can get to know you a bit better?
     
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    The only thing missing from Sam's "picture" is that it was probably Communist East Germany..? :p
     
  17. Al Lever

    Al Lever

    Aug 2, 2012
    Germany
    No, it is in the extreme south of Germany, Bavaria, not in the east (like Markneukirchen, famous for instruments) Mittenwald means: in the middle of the forrest. How do you call it: Hillbilly? Backwoods?
    Very nice place for holidays and I am sure it is what you might call a typical German landscape.
    So let us hope the old man is still sitting there in the middle of nothing, making his basses.
     
  18. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    ...which will not be called "shop basses." :)
     
  19. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Nov 9, 2010
    Thanks for the colorful description. For a moment I thought you were writing about bow makers. And we all know that's exactly how they are made :D
    But, back to reality: Sam's description is more on line with what I suspected. To my untrained, non-luthier eye, these basses all look the same. If you check out the postings of my bass's pics "Yet Another Identity" from August 10 they seem very similar to Akito's bass. Did these "shops" have a set of plans or blueprints that they shared? Also, some of the "extras" like the ebony strips at the neck joint or the double (carved) purfling (on my bass) and intricate button designs seem to belie Sam's contention that they were rushed through a mill.
    Thanks to both of you for the info.
     
  20. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Sam appears to be confusing the violin making shops of Markneukirchen and Mittenwald with the assembly line floors at Saginaw and Dearborn.

    The towns where the violin factories were located were smaller places, usually with a Guild that regulated who could and couldn't be an instrument maker.

    In the way of small towns, you wouldn't just chop a guy because he was a little slower than someone else, you'd find a more suitable task for him because he was your neighbour or your brother-in-law's nephew or whatever.
     

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