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Morelli

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Paul Warburton, Sep 30, 2003.


  1. Hey, a few months ago, I bought an Andreas Morelli, violin model, about 1914 I think. The reason I think the date is about right, is that I found an exact duplicate on Hammond Ashleys site. It has the curly-cue purfling design on the back button area and the button has a half-moon ebony inlay on the button. Bob Ross is restoring it for me. He had to re-carve part of the scroll because of a machine install, the likes of which you've never seen! I've had two other basses by Andreas in my career. They were both violin models and Bob Monroney has a gamba shaped one.
    My question...Do any of you guys know anything about Andreas? I only know that he was Italian, but worked in Germany, so he's considered a German maker. I'll be selling this bass when Bob finishes, but I like to learn something about all the basses I have in my life. Arnold, Jeff, Bob, anyone?
     
  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    My understanding is that Morellis are German shop basses sold under the "Andreas Morelli" name, which is either a made-up name or somebody's uncle. They apparently were sold here in the U.S., maybe exclusively. I've seen many and they seem to be uniformly decent, nothing super-special. Mensur tends to be on the long side.
     
  3. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I can fix that!
     
  4. Can't wait to get yur chain saw out?
     
  5. Paul - It looks like Arnold is correct. I can find no reference of Andreas Morelli - as a maker. However, according to the Ehrhardt idendification books, Andreas Morelli was a house brand of the old Grossman Music Co. of Cleveland, Ohio (Wholesaler). Ehrhardt also says that the instruments were actually made by Karl Herrmann in Germany. A 1929 Grossman brochure shows that the Andreas Morelli violins were among the more expensive models they sold at that time selling between $150 and $250 depending on the model.
     
  6. Just like clock work.....All 3 of you Mothers! I love this site! Thanks!!
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Supporting Member

    May 21, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    I thought I would revisit this Morelli thread, since I just picked up an old Morelli. I really dig this bass.

    Someone at Kolstein's shop, told me that Andreas Morelli was an Italian in Germany around the turn of the century, before it became a shop. Paul's post that started this thread seemed to agree with that, though the reply from Bob does not, and he did his homework.

    Does anyone have any new old information about Andreas Morelli? I would love to know more of the story of my new instrument.

    I'll post pics soon, in the meantime the top, neck and sides look just like the 1920 Morelli on the Kolstein site. The back has the half moon inlay on the button like Paul's, but without the curly purfling. The tuners are the same but with a clover shape rather than a heart, and in silver. There is no label, but rather a stamp of "Andreas Morelli" in script.

    Thanks,
    brian
     
  8. I have another Morelli that actually belongs to a friend who i'm trying to sell it with. Bob Ross restored this one Too. This one, up on one of the cheeks next to a machine says in black printing: Made in USSR occupied Germany. Never saw that before. Bob's right. They just used Morelli as the shop name in Germany....There was no Andreas Morelli. Brian, what's yer string length? Both of the ones i've had are long 431/2
     
  9. Morelli,Andreas. Name given to instruments imported into the United States. Instruments were actually made by Karl Herrman in Germany. Very nice workmanship. Well above the average "trade instrument.

    Herrmann, Karl; Markneukirchen. b. 2.12. 1882 in Markneukirchen. Son of August Friedrich H.
    Pupil of Max Dolling. Established as v.m. since 1920.
    His labels sometimes contain his portrait, but the instuments are branded Andreas Morelli.

    I don't know what v.m. stands for. Anybody??

    Dolling, Max; Proprietor of a string instrument factory in Markneukirchen 1888-1929. Died in 1932. Cellos and double basses of all kinds of prices. Specialised in Bumbasses of four varieties with capriciously carved heads, fashioned Chinese-wise, Clown Like, Pagoda, or representing a Chimpanzee.

    I've heard that Bumbass term before on TBDB but can't remember what the hell it is.

    As I mentioned, this one has the writing about being made in USSR occuoied Germany up on the scroll cheek. Also has a burn-stamp inside, as well as a regular Andreas Morelli label.
     
  10. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    Violin Maker ? Just a guess...
     
  11. Jeeze Z, could it be that simple? i'll bet you're right.
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Supporting Member

    May 21, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    Scale length of this one is 41.5".

    Paul, any clues on how to date these instruments?
     
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Flowers and candy couldn't hurt...
     
  14. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    And, as suggested in another thread, approaching from it from the rear is effective.
     
  15. You guys are some sick Mothers......I love you.
    Hey Arnold, Jeff and Bob. Take a look at that Kolstein so called Morelli. It doesn't look like any Morelli i've seen. The shoulders are higher and the back looks french....the swoop of the purfling UNDER the button. Plus no half moon ebony inlay on the button. Maybe the pictures got mixed up?
    Anyway there's something strange wuth that bass...The screws and washers up by the nut.
    Brian, the dates i've seen on them are all around 1914-1920.
    Bob Monroney here in Denver has a gamba pattern one. But again, i've never seen one like the Kolstein.
     
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Supporting Member

    May 21, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    The Kolstein Morelli does bear a good resemblance to mine, except for the back. Now that you mention it, the shoulders do look a little higher on the Kolstein bass. All the measurments of the Kolstein bass are 1/8" less than mine... maybe my tape measure got stretched!

    As I said before, mione does have the half-moon of ebony on the button, the purfling stays below, but does follow the shape of the inlay, as if it were the edge of the instrument. Does that make sense? I need to get a camera.
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    About the French looking Morelli at Kolsteins:

    I was at my second Orchestra rehearsal 1 1/2 years ago when a woman sub from Philly uncovered her Bass and stood behind me. After the regular introductions, I asked " Is that a French Bass" ? She replied "no, It's an old German Bass". It was made by A. Ebner c.1900 and he is listed in the Henley book. It had French style gears and the purfling ran around on top and back like many French Basses do similar to the Bass at Kolsteins.

    It also had a similar repair on the scroll graft with a screw and washer exactly like Kolstein's Bass has. It seems as though some repairers of the past were not confident of thier Graft work and ran a screew through the cheeks for support. My thinking is if the wood n glue gives, the head will roll right off and spin on the screw as if it was just a swing.

    There was a few German makers that liked the clean look or the purfling runnung across the upper bouts as I have seen a few already.
     
  18. I don't have a lot of experience with the Morelli basses, but I can say that Kolstein "Morelli" photos don't even resemble the bass in the photos that Paul Warburton sent me of his first Morelli a year or so ago.

    I have a little different take on the Kolstein "Morelli" screws than Ken Smith. If you look carefully at the photo of the bottom of the scroll, it is easy to see that the bass has had a neck graft and that the bass has had the neck/scroll broken again AFTER the neck graft. I've never heard of a competent bass luthier using screws to reinforce a a neck graft. It looks more like amateur work to me.
     
  19. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Bob, I see the break but the screw doesn't go from the button to the neck which would help that type of break. It goes thru the cheeks and does not affect the break at all.

    http://www.kolstein.com/instruments/bass/b2404/b2404_5.jpg

    and the Bass here; http://www.kolstein.com/instruments/bass/b2404/index.shtml

    Note: No disrespect to Barrie at all in any way. The pics are for discussion only.

    Karl Herrmann used the Morelli name mainly for export. Who is to say what models and shapes he made in his lifetime? We don't know untill we actually Know!! If it is labeled and/or branded Morelli, then let's assume it was imported as such. Maybe, just maybe, the distributor in the US 'also' contracted a French house to make Basses. Or, he asked for some French models from Herrmann !! We just don't know ! It does not look typical French to me, just French style.
     
  20. Brian K

    Brian K Supporting Member

    May 21, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    What about the instrument is stylistically French?

    My new Morelli seems to make the connection between Paul's and the Kolstein, because it has the half moon inlay and branded name like Paul's, but the same dimensions and shorter string length of the Kolstein.

    This seems to support the theories Ken put forth.

    Is there a way to find out more?