Juzek? Advice on a possible bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Michael Drost, Jul 16, 2013.

  1. Michael Drost

    Michael Drost Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2009
    Grand Haven, MI
    Hello,

    I may have the opportunity to acquire a 1920's Juzek. It seems to have been restored, and in good shape. Although I haven't seen it in person. I know the fine gentleman selling the bass and it seems like a good deal. The finish is definitely different on this bass. It is a dark ebony varnish. He says the tone is dark as well. Not your typical honey/red Juzek finish.

    I am wondering if anyone has experience with restored Juzeks? Advice? Price? What to look for, what to steer away from? I have always wanted one, and this may be a good opportunity to help a friend out, and acquire a nice instrument. He would most likely take my plywood jazz upright as a trade as well.

    Thank you for your advice.
     
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    You should get it checked out by a good bass luthier before buying. You need to know the condition of this specific bass so you don't end up with repair bills costing over the value of the bass. You also should play it. All Juzeks are not created equal size and soundwise. Being an old bass, it may have a long string length, over 42". The longer the string length the less value it may have for the larger market. If you can get specific measurements, post them. If it is a refinish or cover finish, the quality of the work will have a lot to do with the bass' value, too.

    Think of it as any old bass that needs to be professionally evaluated before purchasing. FYI, Juzeks are an American brand name for basses imported into NYC, primarily for the schools. Most carved Juzeks were made by Wilfer from what I have been told.
     
  3. Michael Drost

    Michael Drost Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2009
    Grand Haven, MI
    41.5" string length. Appraised for about 6k by a reputable luthier/bass bow maker with paperwork. That's all I have right now.
     
  4. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    If it's healthy and sounds good, thats a good price. Pics of the finish would be good to see.
     
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    And if it's carved, not ply.
     
  6. Srkurz

    Srkurz Guest

    Jul 16, 2013
    MA, RI
    I have a similar situation. I'm a college student studying jazz bass and I'm going to be investing very soon in, hopefully, my last bass I will ever buy. I'm trying out a 1910 Juzek right now from a shop and I love it. It's a great jazz bass that sings in all registers, has a lot of growl, and has a very manageable body size and neck. It's in very good condition, except for a few things- The whole fingerboard needs to be replaced, it needs a new bridge, and one of the seams on the bottom left side of the body looks kind of loose, and looks like it has opened up at one point in time and has been repaired recently. The price tag on it is around 14,000. Is this a reasonable price for an early Juzek that needs work? And also, would a new fingerboard raise or lower resale price?
    Thanks!
    P.S. I'm sorry if something like this should have been posted in a new thread, I'm new to forums and haven't quite found my way around forum etiquette.
     
  7. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    There is no such thing as a 1910 Juzek. Mid 1920's is when the brand appears. A new fingerboard and bridge will run you around $1500. A new bridge and fingerboard is a good thing. The main question is if this bass is better for you than other basses of $14k or less? If you buy it at $14k and put in $1.5k you're now at $15,500, on the high side for a Juzek, unless it is a killer and in a competitive market, usually a big city.

    For comparison, check out www.basscellar.com for their listed Juzeks. Do a search for Juzek on this forum and check out www.smithbassforums.com for information.
     
  8. Fourteen grand for a thrashed Juzek? God no. You can find similar shop basses in restored condition for a third of that price or basses needing restoration for a grand or less on a really good day. Keep looking.

    While you're shopping, here's a little Juzek family history:

    http://paulperleycellos.com/juzek.html
     
  9. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    The only reasons I can think of to pay big money for any player's bass is if it has a big money sound, you like to play it, and it is in good shape (or can be put there while not going over it's market value). Juzeks are not all created equal, so each bass has to be considered on it's own merits (or lack of). A few Juzeks that I know of have sold in the mid-upper teens.
     
  10. pnchad

    pnchad

    Nov 3, 2005
    this debate has been ongoing for years here - re: early Juzek basses

    it would be best not to simply regurgitate the 'conventional wisdom' as gospel

    there were many high quality imports, probably originating at various European shops and most probably constructed before 1920 - even if brought here later

    many of the 'Master Art' level basses were superior instruments for the money, at the time, even through the '50's and into the early '60's - I've seen em, played em, owned em
     
  11. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Not sure what you mean...
     
  12. pnchad

    pnchad

    Nov 3, 2005
    oh, I think you do
     
  13. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    I think I don't.
     
  14. pnchad

    pnchad

    Nov 3, 2005
    "It's nice to be nice to the nice" - I love this quote and have used it myself over the years haha

    no, I was just referring to the repeating of 'conventional wisdom' expressed here as 'fact' when they were, at best, educated opinions

    so, don't be a KS Jr - have an open mind
     
  15. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    But I don't know what you mean by conventional wisdom, and what's being expressed as "fact" as opposed to opinion? If it's something I wrote, tell me what you don't agree with.
    KS Jr? HAHA
     
  16. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Owner, Stand Up Guy Basses (Repair/Sell/Buy upright basses)
    Hi pnchad,

    I know you said "many" of the master art basses were of superior quality, however I have one with that label which, although it has nice veneer throughout, is a very average sounding ply bass. Slightly nicer materials, but still just a ply bass.

    Just as "Juzek" may not tell you much about the quality, "master art" may not have much meaning either. It still comes down to the sound...

    Cheers,

    Paul
     
  17. pnchad

    pnchad

    Nov 3, 2005
    that's true - I haven't played many (maybe 2) ply labeled Juzeks but of all the carved basses I've played there's a real wide range of quality - grab bag really

    however, those (from differing eras too) labeled 'Master' are considerably better built if, not necessarily, better 'sounding'
     
  18. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    I don't think that label "belongs" with a ply bass. I think the intent for master art was for best quality carved basses. I have a master art label in my carved bass which is gamba form and doesn't look like the typical master art Juzek with violin corners, back button purfling and maybe an ebony diamond shape. No way to know if it was put in by Juzek or someone else along the way.