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Info on Bass Maker wanted

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Barry Miller, Nov 18, 2002.

  1. Recently I re-acquired a solid wood double bass - the very one I first took lessons on in the 1950's
    when I was 13-years-old. After a lifetime in the music profession it's been a thrill to have found
    this instrument. I discovered it in a colleagues basement, purchased it back from him and had it
    restored to playing condition.

    The label inside states it was made by Herald Jaeger. I believe the bass is German. The instrument
    has a huge wonderful sound for a 3/4. Is there anyone out there familiar with the maker's name or
    can tell me anything about where the bass was made etc.

    I’d appreciate any information I can get.
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    You'll probably get a lot more response if you post this question to "TalkBass Forums > Double Bass > Basses [DB]" instead of this one, which is "TalkBass Forums > Bass Guitar > Basses [BG]." Good luck.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Chances are that it's H<b>a</b>rald Jaeger rather than Herald Jaeger.
  4. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Yeah, this should be posted down in the DB forums. This forum deals with electric basses.

  5. orbix


    Aug 19, 2005
    Broomfield, CO

    Barry- I've just recently acquired a 1930's (I believe the date is 1937, but my memory isn't perfect.) Herald Jaeger, and was wondering if you'd had any luck in finding information about the maker. I'll agree- these basses have an amazingly rich sound for their size, and the playability is amazing. I've got Spirocores on mine for the E and A, and Pirastro Eudoxas for the D and G, and the thing just sings beautifully on up into the high register while still retaining enough punch to cut through the mix. It's also got an amazing growl on both the E and the A that you can control easily...

    Even if you haven't found anything out about the maker, I'd love to know what your experience has been with your bass over the past few years (as I know this is an old thread).


    Aug 26, 2005
    I have a Jaegar double bass, 3/4 size. Mine was made in 1933. These basses are wonderful instruments, certainly on a par with the very best Juzeks, and frankly I like mine better than a Juzek because it has a much superior varnish. These jaegars are known for their volume and if set up properly, you can just about blow air across the strings to produce a sound. The tops are very tight-grained spruce and the fingerboard action is like butter. Contrary to urban legend, the Jaegar house was in Czecheslovakia, NOT Germany. The label inside mine clearly states, "made in Czechoslovakia"

    Like you, I've searched for information on Jaegar, only to learn that he made lots of violins and cellos. I've seen a few of these basses. Indeed, EDGAR MEYER, the double bass virtuoso performs on a 1933 Jaegar like mine, although his is pretty beat up and has one side of the scrolle knocked off. Hammond Ashley told me they had one in the shop about 4 years ago that sold for USD $8000, and I saw one exactly like mine only 7/8 size in a shop in Pennsylvania a year ago priced at USD $10,000. About a year ago David Gage had one listed in his shop inventory but it mistakenly described the Jaegar as a "German" bass. I can't remember what he was asking for that one.

    I think they are tops. Hang onto it and take good care of it, because it can only appreciate in value. PS-- I picked mine up for USD$2,200 ten years ago-- in mint condition.
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Jaegar is a String company in Denmark. If it has a label that says "Made in........" written in english then it was made for Export to the US oe England. Real hand made German and Czech/Bohemian/Prague Basses/Violins have their Labels written in their native language, and not in English.

    On Par with Juzeks?.. Anton and Wenzel Wilfer made all the Basses for Juzek and made various grades as well. Grade/beauity of wood and shape, Gamba or Violin determined the grade and not the sound. They were pretty much the same internally. E.Wilfer now makes them but different models than his ancestors made.

    There are several Jaegers from Germany listed but no Harold/Herold at all. This is most likely a made up name for import here in the USA in the 20th century. Juzek, Morelli and G.A. Pfretschner are in the same boat.

    Juzek did make a few Violins but the imports were all contracted out for the last 80 years. "C.F." Pfretschner I, II and III (3 generations) were the makers of the Basses but various labels were used for them in USA. The Two I have seen were G.A.Pf.. and Morelli. As I stated in an earlier thread "Karl Herrmann Made the nicer "looking" Basses that are labelled Morelli". G.A. Pf.. was a Bow maker along with all the other grenerations of that family. 100 years ago it was Believed that C.F Pf was Italian because his labels were marked and dated from Cremona for 2 generations. They were always in Markneukirchen, Germany from what I have read.
  8. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA

    The string maker is Jargar, I believe.



    Aug 26, 2005
    I note there was some past discussion in the 2001-2002 timeframe about Herald Jaegar. The consensus seems to be these are Czech instruments, although the Jaegar family of makers may indeed have been German. The consensus at that time also was that these are powerful, well-made instruments with an unusually good tone-- and varnish.

    No one is saying these instruments aren't "shop" basses. I don't think that was the point. The point was, who was Herald Jaegar? And if that was just a name chosen as an "import" label, then who made them? While the "HJ Herald Jaegar" label found on mine and others may simply be an "import" label, I have seen nothing definitive to prove that. Certainly, the fact that these are only seen rarely in the U.S. marketplace tends to argue against the notion that they were flooded into the U.S. the way other shop basses were/are.

    What else do we know?

    -- there was a family of violin makers named Jaegar. The family is listed in violin maker books. (Though no "Herald" is listed). Last year I saw a Viola by Herald Jaegar for sale.

    -- the "HJ Herald Jaegar" basses all seem to have been made in the early 1930s.

    -- TECHNICAL CORRECTION There is very small writing at the very bottom of the label that reads, simply "Czechoslovakia" in black ink. It does not read "Made In" as stated in an earlier post.

    -- These are very loud instruments.

    -- the scrolls are rather elegant and well-rounded, having that extra volute turn and the rear of the pegboxs are also very nicely carved and finished.

    -- All I have seen have the same honey-to-medium brown varnish that is quite durable and wears very well with age. The varnish was applied over a yellow base, in the traditional manner.

    -- the bellies are made of close-grain spruce, and the backs are two piece matched grain maple. My own appears to have been made of Tiger maple....

    -- the backs are well rounded....I have never seen one with a flat back.

    -- I have seen perhaps 4 of these in the past 10 years, including one that was 7/8 size. They are-- by far-- NOT as
    "common" in the U.S. marketplace as the Juzek bass is. And in my opinion, the HJ has a superior varnish and sound to a Juzek.

    -- I have never heard of or seen a plywood by Jaegar.

    ... So perhaps these ARE someone else's shop bass but that remains to be proven. It doesn't really matter nowadays, for these are relatively rare basses (at least in the U.S.), they were very well-made, and they have an excellent sound. And judging from my own and others' experience, the action/playability in all registers is sublime... My advice: if you've got one, hang on to it...if you have a chance to get one, buy it.

    As noted elsewhere...."JARGAR" is the name of the Danish string company... not to be confused with this bass maker.
  11. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The Name Czech.. written in English was the requirement at the time of import into the USA. 'Made In" may have come later. Many import names exhist even with Family names that actually make instruments. G.A. Pfretzschner is a Bow Maker but is in many labels here. C.F. Pfretzschner is the actual shop but the Bow makers name was well known. Morelli was made by several shops over the years including Pfretzschner which I currently own one. J. Juzek a small Violin Maker in Prague started a huge musical instrument import business in the USA with his 2 brothers buying from makers and shops in Czech and later Germany in the Shoenbach region with John staying home. So Jaeger seems to be one of those brands made somewhere by someone. I have heard of a 'section' or 5-string Jaeger Basses made about 100 years ago for a west coast symphony as I met a player that owns one. Many of these Basses are great working Basses so in these times, they are 'what' they are and not 'who' they are. It's all in the sound!


    Aug 26, 2005
  13. Yeah, i'm in total agreement....and my post wasn't meant to derail or get off topic. Any time I can gain some info, especially about DB's, I jump at it. The bass you're talking about, i'd bet, is, or was his dad's.
    It was fun watching and hearing Edgar play that big German fiver in that chamber orchestra on TV, as well.


    Aug 26, 2005

    Yup...could well have been his dad's bass. I'll have to check that back-issue story on Edgar....what I recall right now, not having the text in front of me, was that Edgar said his first bass was one his dad bought for him and it had fallen off a truck!! Paid $25 for it, as I recall him saying. This I believe, is the 1933 H. Jaegar. The bass featured on the cover photo appears to be missing one of its volutes completely (like maybe it fell off a truck); it also appears to have the same shoulder shape and color as my own Jaegar...so that is what I think it is. cheers.
  15. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    i've actually got a lunch appointmnt today to look at a bass that is very similar to the one described. i will get pictures. INteresting thing about this bass is that the back is birdseye maple and the ribs are curly.
  16. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    I believe that the Harold(Herold) Jaegers are a trade name.

    However, Woodcock lists a number of German Jaegars:

    Adolph, born 1905 worked at Markneukirchen...

    Carl, born 1841 a pupil of Schiefler at Hanover...

    Hans, born 1858, pupil of Glaesal, worked at Ratisbon and Amsterdam, and established at Markneukirchen in 1885.

    Herbert, born 1893, son and pupil of Hermann, worked at Halle, Saxony.

    Herman, born at Markneukirchen 1867, pupil of Weller died
    1942. My teacher, George Cass had one of his instruments made in c 1933; an excellent and beautiful instrument bass.

    Herman Ludwig,..."commercial" violins and strings.

    Johann Adam, born 1688 died 1765...

    Johann George....1760-70 Markneukirchen...

    Otto, worked at Frankfort early 20th century.

    Paul Hamlyn also lists these and:
    Oskar, b. 1873 at Markneukirchen and died in 1955.

    He also lists a Carl Jager at Hildesheim. Put an omlat over the "a".

    That's all folks.

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