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Help identify this unnamed Double-Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Anton Johannes, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. Anton Johannes

    Anton Johannes

    Sep 25, 2007
    Link to pictures of my 4/4 roundback which has been expertly restored by Erik Hoffmann in Copenhagen:


    Would be interesting if users of this forum recognize details on the bass - like the interesting "smiling frog" design of the plates on the headstock.

  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Run it by Ken Smith at www.smithbassforums.com

    Nice looking bass! What are the dimensions? Full on front and side shots would be nice, too.
  3. Backwoodsman


    Mar 17, 2014
    Its beautiful!! I have no idea who made it :)
  4. Anton Johannes

    Anton Johannes

    Sep 25, 2007
  5. basic74


    Dec 28, 2012
    the shape looks like the two relatively new rubner basses I have seen in person...
    but I am no expert and have no idea how long rubner has been making basses.
  6. Gorgeous. The neck set and gears say Saxon to me. What did your restorer think?
  7. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
  8. The outline is similar, but the Bass Cellar instrument's neck is set into the block where the OP's bass' neck is set on top of the block, probably by the use of a big blocky tenon.
  9. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Nice looking bass. I would think the large bottom, smaller upper bouts would work well on a larger bass like that.
  10. Anton Johannes

    Anton Johannes

    Sep 25, 2007
    Yes the bass does not feel like a 4/4 at all because of the shoulders. The wide bottom works like a subwoofer - You can actually hear the thunder from below :)

    To me it looks similar to basses built by Joseph Rubner around 1900. But this is only going on pictures I have found on the Internet.

    The restorer said Markneukirchen around 1900.

    - Johs
  11. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Kung Fu Sherrif makes a good point about the neck block.

    Here is a brief detail about Rubner and Markneukirchen:

    RUBNER, Josef Born 1864, died 1927 Markneukirchen Germany. Specialist in cellos and double basses, in two classes: ‘Concert’ and ‘Solo’. Double basses of both viol and violin form. Fine materials and good workmanship.

  12. Anton Johannes

    Anton Johannes

    Sep 25, 2007
    Link to pictures of a 1900 Johan Braun (Mittenwald) bass.
    It is for sale at Nahrmann Bass Shop.


    It seems to have the same neck block as my bass...?

    - Johs
  13. I'd say so. Good detective work.
  14. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    The body shape is similar but the scroll is completely different. The Braun also doesn't have the squared-off button...
  15. MR PC

    MR PC

    Dec 1, 2007
    It's a beautiful instrument! Love the pattern. Yes, run it by Ken Smith, he likely will have a lot of accurate information to share.
  16. Anton Johannes

    Anton Johannes

    Sep 25, 2007
    Ken Smith says Saxon area 1890-1930, which is the same conclusion as the restorer Erik Hoffmann made. He wrote Markneukirchen 1900 on the receipt.

    Neuner & Hornsteiner, A. Meyer and J. Rubner have also been mentioned as possible builders of my bass.

    Would be fun though if anybody had seen the design of the plates on the scroll before. To me it looks like a smiling frog :)

    - Johs
  17. What do I win? :D

    My bass is believed to be of similar provenance; the plates are nothing like yours, but the gears and handles have a lot in common. Like yours, mine is made with pretty strongly figured maple throughout, which I haven't seen on many basses from that place and time.

    Now for the real question...how does it sound?
  18. Anton Johannes

    Anton Johannes

    Sep 25, 2007
    Kungfu, you win kudos for adding "Saxon" to my vocabulary :)

    Soundwise, Coming from a regular gamba flatback 3/4 to this beast, is like going from a regular floor tom to a Brazilian Surdu.

    I have tried many basses before buying this 4/4. I like the fact that the bass feels sturdy, well built, light weight and vibrant.

    The low fundamental vibrates the floor, and the high notes tickle my arm (if I touch the shoulder of the bass).

    It is not a charming, dark and hollow tone. There is plenty of deep midrange and a punchy attack.

    Although the bass speaks well with gut strings (good note definition because of the long scale length), I like the sonic muscle power I get from higher tension strings (on this bass). So far I have settled for Spirocore E,A and Oliv D,G

    The instrument responds to even small changes in setup, which has led me to start reading about the theories behind violin/bass building. In many ways this bass feels like a huge violin, only set up to give a nice pizz growl on the low strings.

    - Johs
  19. Anton Johannes

    Anton Johannes

    Sep 25, 2007
    Link to two pictures: http://imgur.com/a/T9MMl/embed

    1. Is a 1924 3/4 bass by Josef Rubner (for sale at GEBA-online, Germany).
    2. is a scroll from a 1900 Josef Rubner (for sale at The Bass Church).

    The neck joint and laquer (on 1.) resembles my bass. It is therefore my impression that my bass is very likely to have been built by Josef Rubner.

    Pictures of my bass: http://imgur.com/a/MwlQ1/embed

    Any comments?

    - Johs
  20. Why not try and contact GEWA in Germany? They now own the Rubner brand and make the current Rubner basses. They might know something on the basses made by the old Rubner generations.