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Looking for information on an antique bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Eilif, Oct 12, 2005.


  1. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    I recently recalled an instrument my former teacher Warren Benfield had once owned. He showed me a picture of it, and I can't remember the name, but it was several centuries old and he had sold it when he left symphony playing. I remember that the scroll and volutte were the tradtional shape, but had dragon scales carved in them, and if I remember correctly there was a small dragon carved near the top of the back. I think I remember that the maker it was a contemporary of stradivarius, but I was a high schooler then and didn't appreciate what I was learning.

    Any info on this bass would be appreciated.

    Also, if anyone has any information on his final bass I would be interested. I remember it was a french rental bass from the 1800's, and it had a number (possibly 154) carved at the top of the back. Still (in my limited experience) probably the finest bass I have ever played.
     
  2. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    It was a Gagliano. I'm pretty sure that Joel Quarrington plays it now.
     
  3. Brent Nussey

    Brent Nussey

    Jun 27, 2001
    Tokyo, Japan
    I've seen this bass in person, it was being worked on in Mario Lamarre's shop while I was there once. Claimed to be a Maggini, actually. But from what Mario said, the neck/scroll was carved by Hills, who got the bass with no neck. So they made a neck, following the idea of the carving on the back. It's quite a small bass. I can't comment on the sound, it was unstrung and up on a table when I saw it.

    Brent
     
  4. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    What's the year for the Gagliano?
     
  5. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    I checked Joels site and it says that it was indeed a Giovanni Paolo Maggini. I think I recognized the dragon on the back. I was unable to see the neck in any pictures, as then I would have been able to make a positive identification.
     
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    They worked in Naples from the late 17th century to the mid 19th century. Several generations. Also there were many makers in Naples over the years and most are called Gagliano regardless of who made them instead of just Gagliano 'school'.
     
  7. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    so are gagliano and Giovanni Paolo Maggini of the same lineage, or was the Gagliano suggestion a mistake?

    All refferences to Joel's bass (supposing that his is the bass in question) call it a Giovanni Paolo Maggini from the early 1600's (ca. 1630)
     
  8. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    Warren Benfield's bass was definately a Gagliano - one of my teachers was a Benfield student and I confirmed it with him. The Joel statement is just a rumor I heard, so it could be untrue.
     
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    They have two connections only.. 1) both from Italy but different ends of the country. 2) basic.. they are both Bass instruments..

    Aside from that they are completly different styles and different centuries. The founder of the Neopolitan school was Alessandro G. He trained with N.Amati and later worked in the Strad shop like many others in Cremona but did not do well there so he moved back to Naples in 1695 and the rest is history.
     
  10. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    So Gagliano and Maggini both made a bass with a little dragon on the back. I guess that is possible. That would explain why Benfield wasn't mentioned in any of the history of the Maggini bass that appears on the webpage for one of Joel's albums.
     
  11. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I don't know about any Dragons. After 200, 300 or 400 years, it is often difficult to see what is original and what is not. A Bass made 250 years ago and modified 240 years ago (10 years later) will look old and original to most.
     
  12. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    I just mentioned the dragons because the dragon tail scroll and little dragon carved in the back were what I remembered about the picture of Mr. Benfield's (apparently Gagliano) bass, and the picture of Joel on his website shows him with the back of his bass (a Maggini?) and it has a little dragon on it also, though the scroll was not visible in that picture.

    As you suggest, it is possible that either, or neither of the dragon motifs was origional.
     
  13. The ISB featured the Benfield Magini....and, yes it is owned by Joel Quarington, according to the article with pictures. Also, since Joel is a fifth player, i'm assuming he's tuning it thusly (how you like that thusly?? I've always wanted to use that word in a sentence.)
    I've got that issue around here somewhere. I'll post it when I find it.
     
  14. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Thanks Paul,
    I would really appreciate that. It's probably the same article that Warren showed me the picture from, and I would really like to read the article.