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 - 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.