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Help ID'ing an old German Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by beobass, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    Hello Everyone,

    I am looking at trading for a German bass. It is a 5/8ths size, laminated, and dates to pre-WWII. The label reads:

    Produkiivgenossenschaft e.G.m.b.H.
    Der ehemallgen
    Schonbacher Musikinstrumentenarzeuger
    Made in Western Germany

    From what I can see... the label basically says it is from the that the Produk-Genossenschaft, formally of Schonbacker Musical Instrument Makers, made in Western Germany.

    Does anyone know anything about bass from this period and area??
  2. gumtown


    May 7, 2007
    New Zealand
    i know absolutely nothing about anything, but can tell you if it says "made in West Germany" then it must have been made after 1945.
  3. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    Um, I feel a bit silly... you are 100% right about that... it makes sense the label would say 'formerly of Schonbacher' as well considering... hmmm, the plot thickens...
  4. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Schoenbach is the former name of Luby, Czech Republic, present-day site of the Strunal factory.
  5. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    Thank you so much!!
  6. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    It is probably a half-sized bass. The nomenclature "5/8" is a recent thing. All those Juzeks folks call "5/8" were bought primarily by school systems as half-sized. I suspect the same is true of your intended purchase. Please post measurements.
  7. Yes . . . but he says the label says Western Germany, not West Germany. According to Wikipedia--which I do not hold out as the paragon of authorities--the term "Western Germany" refers to a loosely-circumscribed area that includes North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse, and sometimes even The Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate to the south.

    If the term "Western Germany" was used in the 1930s, maybe this bass does predate WWII. (I dunno.)

    Also, according to a certain online translator: "schonbacher" means "already streams" while "schoenbach" means "beautiful stream." (Again, I dunno. I don't read German.)

    But a question: Why does it say "Made in Western Germany" in English?
  8. It's intended market either was/or included an English-speaking consumer base.
  9. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    After a little research, the note of the difference between "West" and "Western" Germany is key... also the fact that the label DOES have English and German. We believe the bass was made by the luthiers of Schonmach in Western Germany before the division of West and East Germany was made. Schonmach was destroyed in the war, so the bass was constructed by the "Produkiivgenossenschaft" company of "e.G.m.b.H." who were formally the instrument makers of Schoenmacher. This likely dates the bass around 1946-47. The note about "Juzek" is also interesting as Juzek originated from this area before migrating to the US before the war. The measurements on the bass make it 5/8's to us today, but it was likely constructed for American schools in its contemporary period as a half size bass (considering Europe and Britain were pretty beat up). Either way the bass fits me perfectly (being 5' 5" with smaller hands) and man does it sing!! I used it for a production of "The Secret Garden" and had many many compliments!

    Thanks for the info gents. We will be putting together a more in depth analysis for insurance in the near future. I will post the information up here for others to use as well!
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Interesting link here:


    "Produktivgenossenschaft" means something like "production cooperative" and "e.G.m.b.H." is analogous to our "incorporated."

    It is quite possible that there was one business with the same name, e.g., the luthiers could have gotten together and formed their own cooperative.
  11. James19


    Jun 16, 2009
    Aarhus, Denmark
    First of all, sorry for gravedigging a bit.

    I'd like to find out if any of you can tell me something about this bass I've inherited.
    I don't know anything about uprights, and there aren't any labels on it. All I know is that it hasn't been played for 25 years, since my grandfather died, and I'm not sure how long he's had it before then.
    Purchased in Denmark :)

  12. beobass


    Nov 26, 2005
    Here are pictures of the bass... hopefully we can figure this one out...





  13. AcidFripp


    Jul 12, 2010
    Man, that does look like a fine bass!
    I'll be reading this thread! Hope the investigation continues!

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