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Help with double bass history

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by bassbmx, Oct 11, 2005.

  1. Hey, I have a very important school assignment that needs to be done and I need help. It's on the modern history of the double bass (from late 19th century to now) and the differences/similarities with the bass guitar. So, could you recommend me some helpful websites. Thanks, Joe.
  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    www.isbworldoffice.com is a start. they could point you in the right direction regarding doublebass history.
  3. http://www.doublebassguide.com/

    This is a page put together by one of our European members. I thought it had some good general information on DB and bass recent history. For the really rich old history, there are several in depth pages and sites that are great:

    Earlybass.com is no longer active. Look for some cached pages if you can googling vienna double bass, violone, etc. The information was very detailed and well researched there. For example here is one of these:

    Also make sure you check the bass links at Bob (URBbob.com) Gollihur's site for more history links.
    Google Leo Fender (http://leo-fender.biography.ms/) for the history of the bass guitar. It starts with him, pretty much.
  4. Thanks you so much
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That last part is going to be easy for the first half of the 20th century - i.e. None!! ;)
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    This is the period of our current school of making and playing as well as tuning was developed. Tuning was settled in 4ths with the 4-string model. 3 and 5 were used as well as various tunings. England and France were the last to go 100% to the 4-string. In the 1920s Hawkes & Son still advertised the 3-string model. France had already gone to 4-strings. Italy as well played 3 or 4 string. It was in the east from Germany to Vienna where they played 4 and even 5 string for much of the 19th century. I have a Batchelder (1875) and a Prescott (c.1840-44) both made in New Hampshire in the 19th century. The American school was in full swing. It was too expensive to ship Basses from Germany so they made them here.

    I have a 1919 Martini that looks 100 years older as he still made in the classic style. I am also specing out an 1883 J. Tarr as well where one can see the Sloaping Shoulders previously not used in the earlier English Basses. France too started the Sloaped Shoulder model as much of this was influenced by the great Dragonetti. Our first Soloist of the Double Bass. Rossini wrote a Bass and Cello Duo for Dragonetti. Beethovan wrote Bass parts to challenge his friend Dragonetti as they often performed together when Ludwig still giged on Piano in his earlier years. The Bass was coming out of the closet. The Prague School of Players from the late 18th century dominated the ranks as this was the style we learned from. The Italian and French School taking a back seat. Simandl became the Bible for all Bassists. Bille method was 2nd with Nanny trailing in 3rd. Now we have open eyes, free shifting, Pivots and 5ths tuning is back by a few players after over 100 years in the closet. The closet is fine for 5ths as most will agree..lol.. Ouch!

    In Bass making we have 450 years of Basses to study and choose from. Many German Basses within the 100 or less age range have been improved to sound more Italian be removing wood in the Top and Back to mimic the plates of the old Italian models.

    Where factories for Basses were in Germany, Czech and France, England, Italy and Vienna mainly did it one-on-one for domestic orders and not for export. Today with have Shops and Factories in Hungary, Romania, China and Korea as well. The Great Plywoods were made in USA due to the War in Europe mainly but a few came in the mid 1930s. Kay, Cleveland-Standard, Epiphone and King were amongst the most popular for Dance Music and Schools as the Carved imports were too costly in the war years. Robert Juzek with his brother John and a 3rd brother in the US started an Export business from Prague with Basses, Cellos, Violas, Violins and even Band and other instruments from the 1920s on. They suppied many Schools in the USA and put their label in all they sold. Most of the Basses being made by the various generations of teh Wilfer family over the years (Anton, Wenzel and Emannuel). I have heard of Basses from the 20s but the earilest I have seen was 1936 labelled. I have one more locally to look at that seems older. I'll add that if I learn more. The Shop of C.F Pfretchner II and III made instruments for various labels as well for export as did other German and Czech Shops. Even the Monzino Bros. in Italy (1890-1920?) had various makers of their time make instruments for them labelled Monzino but to a much smaller scale than the Germans. The French as well had shops and brands as the great Vuillaume did not make the Basses but many exhist with his label.

    The Bass is OUT of the Closet. Move over, Bass player comming thru!!
  7. jstiel

    jstiel Jim Stiel

    Jun 5, 2004
    Lake Orion, MI
    Ken, I'd say you get a gold star for that one. Now, how about helping my son with his math homework.
  8. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

    Please, please.. No math.......
  9. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Left is Right

    Feb 26, 2005
    Blacksburg, Virginia
    If it's partial differential equations homework he should try this
  10. jstiel

    jstiel Jim Stiel

    Jun 5, 2004
    Lake Orion, MI
    Forget about partial differential equations, he'd better do the whole d*** thing!
  11. jstiel

    jstiel Jim Stiel

    Jun 5, 2004
    Lake Orion, MI
    That's your book! What's a smart guy like you doing playing bass?