Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Herman Lowendall?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Andy Allen, Nov 26, 2005.


  1. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    While my bass is at the luthiers for the week having repairs, service and set-up I have an old German Bass on loan. It's rather nice, despite being "well worn," and plays and sounds very well.

    Inside is stamped "Herman Lowendall" in a crescent over the word "BERLIN." (And, just in case there's any doubt where Berlin is, there's a tiny little paper sticker next to that which says "Made in Germany").

    It looks pretty old - as if it only just survived both world wars :eek: - but repairs seem to have been properly made, and it has a full sound even with spiro weichs on it.

    I picked it up this afternoon and will be playing a gig with it tonight, and since I'll be living with it (or it with me) for a week I thought I'd try to find out more about it.
     
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Can you post pics of the Lowendall Bass. I have seen pics of two of them but each were different. Both though were Violin Shaped Basses with high shoulders. One was cut down a bit and the other was as-is. Lowendall travelled to England and USA alot in his time. He seems to have liked English Basses as his are not the typical German outline.

    Edit: I may be referring to Louis Lowendall and not Hermann but I think it is the same firm but earlier. I will look it up next week and clear this up.
     
  3. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'll post pictures tomorrow when I have access to the camera - this one is Gamba shape, and possibly has a new neck with the old scroll grafted on (it seems to have been done well, it almost looks like it was made that way).

    I'm enjoying playing it - it certainly has character :p
     
  4. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Here are those pictures: they came out pretty well, despite the cheap camera.

    http://www.mindspring.com/~funkyfusion/Berlin Bass/

    One of the front for those who don't want to have to follow the links:

    [​IMG]

    The pickup, mini mic-mount, bow and bow quiver are mine, still there from the gig last night.

    Which went very well - this bass has a very even sound. I set the EQ flat on my clarus and K&K preamp and didn't mess much with them at all (on my own bass I have to roll off the highs considerably so that the piezo doesn't sound clunky). I wasn't keen on the tension and gauge of the Spiro Weichs though - I'd be interested to hear how it responds to a set of Mittels or Dominants.

    Anyway, I'd be happy to find out more about this bass - particularly an age estimate. It's something of a rough diamond; it has certainly seen a lot of (ab)use at some point, but now plays and sounds great.
     
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Louis Lowendall is the maker I was thinking of. I looked briefly in the Henley book and didn't see anything on him. Maybe Herman was the son that carried on with the Lowendall Commercial business in the 20th century. "Made in" always implies and export product into USA or the UK. I have seen a few of these listed as 'Dresden Lowendall school' but I will have a look into it. Perhaps after wwI the business was moved to Berlin. From the looks of the Bass is does seem to be after wwI. I have seen a Louis L. for sale from as late as 1908. I would estimate this to be from 1920 to 1940.

    Nice Bass regardless of the dates. Seems to be one of the nicer commercially made Basses of the early 20th century. The older Lowendalls/Lowenthals (different spellings) have high shoulders like English Cello models unless they were cut later. Louis seemed to like that style and travelled to England quite often on business.
     
  6. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I looked at your pics and your bass looks like a typical Mittenwald-area instrument. It could have been (and probably was) built by a number of makers, then a certain shop installed a label, varnished and set it up. Then it was exported. They are typically well-made, though the carcass and back are often quite stiff.
     
  7. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks Ken and Arnold for taking the time to reply...

    I finally had to give this bass back - my bass took a little longer to fix than expected but I was in no hurry while I had this nice old bass to play. I'm going to miss it now...it was a very resonant and responsive instrument.

    Since I'm researching basses in this price range for an eventual purchase I may revisit it in January when I have more time and have Lisa put a (used) set of Spiro reds on it and see how it responds.