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Help ID this bass - unusual f-holes, over 200 years old (?) Origin?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by douglas81, May 19, 2011.


  1. douglas81

    douglas81

    Sep 24, 2006
    Poland
    Hello,

    Could anyone help me with some info/opinions on this bass. The seller doesn't seem to have much info, but says it underwent restoration 7 years ago.

    Anyone any idea of origin/age? The seller reckons it's Italian and over 200 years old. But, of course, he would hope for that, wouldn't he! He he.

    I've never seen those type of f-holes before - any ideas?

    Thanks,

    Douglas.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. douglas81

    douglas81

    Sep 24, 2006
    Poland
    more photos
     

    Attached Files:

  3. douglas81

    douglas81

    Sep 24, 2006
    Poland
    even more photos
     

    Attached Files:

  4. douglas81

    douglas81

    Sep 24, 2006
    Poland
    still more photos
     

    Attached Files:

  5. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    That is absolutely German. The shape, scroll, angle break in the back, and other features are pretty unmistakable. The attached f-holes were something Abraham Prescott and other U.S. Yankee makers did in the early 19th century. My guess is that the top may have been replaced, and made by someone who was enamored with those Prescott-style f-holes. Nothing Italian about it at all.
     
  6. douglas81

    douglas81

    Sep 24, 2006
    Poland
    My hunch was German, if only for the outline. Also, wondered why the front seemed at odds with the ribs/back. A replacement top would make sense. Considering the condition and patchy restoration, I'm guessing it can't be worth more than 6000 USD.
     
  7. The real question is, how does it play?
     
  8. Rob Thompson

    Rob Thompson Supporting Member

    6000 might be selling it quite a bit short if all the repairs are quality and the (probably) replaced top is well made. If it is a nice sounding and playing instrument some would probably pay more.

    How big is it? What is the string length?
     
  9. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    Interesting case!

    Looks like a long string length, judging by the previous bridge position marks high up on the belly. Unless someone was trying to make it look older than it is.

    Visible evidence of the recent restoration would be the new back brace. The top and back repairs look well executed, but I wonder why choose such a badly-matching wood for the back and the lower top bout? Looks like the purfling has been replaced across that back repair, but if I was going to that much trouble, i'd try to match the repair a little better than that. Unless I was trying to make it look older than it is.

    Could this be the work of a clever Hungarian?
     
  10. eh_train

    eh_train Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    I'm thinking "clever Hungarian" as well. If the top were a replacement, and presumably newer, why such heavy antiquing? Seems to be screaming "I'm old; really, really old!"

    Likewise, the repairs seem designed to highlight the new/ "old" contrast.

    Paul / Eh_train
     
  11. eh_train

    eh_train Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    Just re-read the OP, and this also makes me pause: "The seller doesn't seem to have much info".

    I know the pics aren't great quality, but if you check the one of the back it seems rather pristine for a truly old bass. Except for the one repair, which seems like an unusual angle for a bit of damage...
     
  12. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    The "clever Hungarians" don't fake Germanic instruments. They have much higher aspirations.
     
  13. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Maybe these ones are extra clever . . . :)
     
  14. Nagrom

    Nagrom

    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    or clever hungarian apprentices...
     
  15. Haha
     
  16. douglas81

    douglas81

    Sep 24, 2006
    Poland
    Thanks for all your interesting thoughts. The buyer is asking for $14000, which seems like too much me. I haven't tried it out yet, but I'll see if I can... it's quite local.
     

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