Help on valuation - 1950 Juzek?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Chris Wilke, Jun 23, 2021.


  1. Chris Wilke

    Chris Wilke

    May 28, 2015
    Seattle
    Hi all- This is my first (I think) DB forum post, though I have been playing for over 50 years. Lately I have been focused on electric bass, but I am wanting to get DB chops back up soon.

    I have not used my 1950 Juzek plywood 3/4 ("Made in Germany, formerly of Prague") very much for the last few years, and it is clearly in need of a setup and sound post adjustment. Maybe more work will be needed if the luthier recommends it, which has me a little worried (financially) though I am not opposed to doing it if it gets me to a good place with this instrument. Last time it was in the shop was over 10 years ago, and it got some minor body repairs, a new bridge, new end pin, new soundpost, Thomastik strings, and more (about $1500 altogether)

    I am hoping to get an approximate reference on the value of this bass before making any major decisions on repair. A rough estimate of this bass in good working order is all I am looking for.

    Body/finish is in decent condition, with signs of age/character, but currently in the well-maintained/ recently-restored window. Action is good for most of the range, except a bit high/not great for anyone inclined to use thumb position on D G strings (this is the part that has me worried).

    Bass sounds solid, fairly bright and warm (ie not boomy), and seems to work well for jazz, with its Underwood pickup and through a quality amp- although it is the only bass I have owned in 35 years or so, so I don't really know what I am missing out on.

    Thoughts on evaluating this bass for repair/setup potential vs doing a quick sound post positioning and selling it/trading for another?

    Thanks for any help!

    View attachment 4311864
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2021
  2. zootsaxes

    zootsaxes Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2015
    Memphis, TN
    Values on upright basses seem all over the place. Estimated $3-5k, closer to 3, imho, without seeing the picture… I would adjust the sound post and bridge to your liking yourself then take it to a bass shop like Upton or somewhere with a decent selection and try it against a bunch of other basses. They’ll be able to tell you if your setup is ok and you’ll be able to hear/feel if it’s time to upgrade. I think you’re wise to stick with one bass for so long - gear schmear, that’s what I say…
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
  3. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    I guess I don't understand why your D & G string action would be so high after a new bridge and $1500 luthier bill 10 years ago. Is the bridge adjustable? Are you taking it to the same luthier who did that work?
     
  4. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I paid $2000 for a similar Juzek 20 years ago, so I'd guess $3K, maybe more.

    P.S. Your attachment didn't open for me.
     
    Winoman and Chris Wilke like this.
  5. Ed S

    Ed S

    Nov 14, 2019
    Yeah - I couldn't open it either.

    If you aren't hearing any buzzes, nothing feels loose, and if the edges all sound solid when you rap around them, I wonder why you think anything major would be required? From what you describe, it sounds like it would just benefit from a bit of a tune-up. Shouldn't be more than $500 or so.

    Personally, I consider thumb position to be a myth, so I don't know what you are talking about re: the D-G strings! ;)

    It has served you well for 35 years - no reason it shouldn't continue to do so for a good while longer. Should be able to sell it for at least a couple grand. But then, the question is, how much would you want to pay to replace it? What would you want in a new bass that this one doesn't give you?

    As suggested upthread, have you played a bunch of other basses? Have you found ones that you like considerably better? At what price? IMO, that would be a major factor to consider in valuing your current axe. My old ply is probably not worth more than a grand. But I was unable to find anything I liked considerably better for less than $4k. Played several I liked as well in the $3-3.5k range, but couldn't justify paying 3 times as much just for the mojo of an old bass. Ended up paying $6k for a new hybrid - which I LOVE. But I enjoy having both as my old ply does some things the new bass can't.
     
    Chris Wilke likes this.
  6. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    I owned the identical laminate Juzek a couple of years ago. I paid $1250 with an adequate bag, put some time and money into setup (didn't need repairs, just bridge, nut, and fingerboard work), enjoyed it as my main playing-out bass for a year, then stupidly sold it for just under $2k in a fit of decluttering. It was a nice, solid, good-sounding bass - given the chance, I'd buy it back in a second.
     
    Chris Wilke likes this.
  7. Chris Wilke

    Chris Wilke

    May 28, 2015
    Seattle
    Thanks for the replies. This is good info to have before I bring it to the shop (a trusted luthier). It looks like the value might be around 2k-3k? Close enough for me to weigh the maintenance/repair costs against the value and maybe even play some other basses while I am there. It looks like there may be an issue with the fingerboard - it veers slightly to the bass side which, due to the radius, makes it's surface closer to the E and further from the G and D above the first octave.
     
  8. Chris Wilke

    Chris Wilke

    May 28, 2015
    Seattle
    That is the exact price I paid for mine in 1984!
     
  9. Chris Wilke

    Chris Wilke

    May 28, 2015
    Seattle
    Here is a recent pic of the bass: You can see how the FB is warped toward the bass side.

    CW-Juzek.jpg
     
  10. Seanto

    Seanto

    Dec 29, 2005
    USA
    10 years is why.
     
  11. BobDeRosa

    BobDeRosa Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 16, 2012
    Finger Lakes area of New York State
    Owner, Tritone Jazz Fantasy Camps
    I still don't get it. I've never owned a bass that unstable. Even my busted-up Juzek holds on better than that.
     
  12. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    That warpage would definitely put the D+G strings at a ridiculous height!
     
    Chris Wilke likes this.
  13. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn

    Feb 25, 2004
    Seattle
    Is it possible that it's just the bridge that has moved sideways and not the fingerboard itself? That would be an easy fix.
     
    misterbadger and Chris Wilke like this.
  14. Chris Wilke

    Chris Wilke

    May 28, 2015
    Seattle
    I’ve actually tried to compensate by sliding the bridge toward the treble side. Unfortunately this results in a non-straight line between the nut and the tail piece. It works somewhat (30-40% fix) it also then wants to walk back to the center. This may also lead to my sound post problems.

    This is the crux of my question - if it’s an expensive fix is it worth it?
     
  15. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Valuation really depends upon your location. Around here, I see some great old European ply basses that blow away the US made classics but they still can only get half the price of an old Kay because that brand is what all of the old cronies recognize....
     
    AGCurry and zootsaxes like this.
  16. misterbadger

    misterbadger Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2012
    Northern California
    It's difficult to tell from your picture, but it looks as though the strings are pretty well centered on the fingerboard up to the neck joint, which would indicate a warped fingerboard rather than a warped or poorly-set neck. It would seem to me that if the neck is true and the joint's solid, it would just be a matter of a new board - not cheap, but a lot easier on the wallet than adding a reset to the bill. With limited pictures and even more limited experience, I'm way out of my depth here.
     
    Chris Wilke likes this.
  17. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Aug 2, 2021

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