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My new bass....1940's Juzek

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by AMJBASS, Jun 25, 2004.


    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I just picked up a great sounding 40's Juzek! The bass is in really good shape. No major cracks, and just a few marks. The back is a nice piece of moderately flamed maple. It has a thick ebony tailpiece on it right now with a "coat hanger", so I ordered a new Hill Rosewood tailpiece and a Velvet cord from Lemur. They should be here next week. I am hoping that I will get a little more volume from the bass(although it is already quite loud), and a little looser in feel. The bass already plays great, but it is a little tight. The neck feels awesome, and the fingerboard was just dressed.

    This bass sounds awesome! It is a really dark sounding bass. Nice and deep sounding with good projection. The sound in my head comes out from this bass! I have it strung up with Olive G&D, and Helicore Hybrid A&E. I am happy with the Olives on top. They sound really full. Great all the way up the fingerboard. The Helicores sound good on the bottom. They growl nicely. However, they don't bow very well.

    I am really happy with this bass. Check it out:
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Mmmmm Nice Bass. I like the Wine colored Varnish. My first carved Bass was that color after I re-finished it. It was a similar style but most likely older German or Czeck as it had original Hat-peg style gears.

    Good luck with it. Juzeks are some of the best work horses out there.
  3. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Looks like a good catch!
  4. When I worked with Bill Evans (here we go again) he would always ask for Yamaha pianos. When I asked why, he said because they were all so consistant sound and action wise and on the road that was very comforting to him.
    I've always felt that way about Juzek basses. I never played a bad one and as Ken said they're work horses and great jazz and section basses. Enjoy!
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Congrats Adrian, she's a looker!
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Paul, I said 'work horses' ! ..... I didn't say section !

    Paul, btw, I just bought an early Bowmann .....Violin..... I will take it to NY to get appraised, set-up and put it up for sale.

    It has double purfling. Inner row is 3-layer but outer row is 5-layer. Thick Red Varnish like yours but without the raised 'art-deco' ff holes. Btw, what year is your Bowmann Bass?
  7. Kat_Mia

    Kat_Mia Guest

    May 7, 2004
    Dorset, UK
    Yummy bass *nod*
  8. No, I said section....Bohmann is the correct spelling. My inner purfling is three layer, outer is just the regular two line. My bass has purfling IN THE EDGES where you lay the bass down. Of course I use bumpers. My varnish is more an amber color. Does your violin have the Bohmann label inside the bass bar side? A picture of Bohmann with his little shop hat and apron holding two tools crossed at his chest? A sentence proclaimiming that he challenges the world to re-create a perfect instrument such as this. Also pictures of the medals he won at all the World Fairs. My bass also has a huge label on the inside of the upper bass side ribs that covers the whole width of the rib.
    The guy at Kagen-Gaines in Chicago where I bought the bass, said he figured it was made in around 1888. I don't know what he based that on.
    He also said my bass was tied up in an estate squabble and that I was actually the first player/owner of the instrument.
    Someone on TBDB did some reading on Bohmann and made mention that: "This guy was no shrinking violet." Actually, he had a huge ego and I understand that he ran his shop like a General.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the comments. The bass is starting to open up quite a bit. I don't think it has been played much in the last couple years. I'll let you know how it sounds with the upgrades. I think a new endpin would help too....

    I am recording a demo CD soon, so I will post a clip when it is done.
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Thanks for the correction. I was spelling it offthe cuff without looking it up. The Violin IS labeled with his wordy label. There are several for sale right now out of the Chicago area as an estate or two has recently been sold and I counted about 8 or 9 of them between 2 different sellers plus a few mandolins of his as well.
    I picked the best one of the lot to buy. I only know of him from your Bass and the Henley book. The Violin is a Reddish Amber actually.
    I can look up when he moved to USA along with other areas he worked which may help to date your Bass. I could also copy the page from the book and mail it to you if you like.
    I love those tuners on that Bass of yours.

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Paul, do you have any pictures of that bass? Especially the purfling in the corners.
  12. Here's some pics of my bass. I was told(from the guy I bought it from) that it was from the turn of the century(1900 or so). I was told that the bass belonged to McGill University for a time and was damaged. The former owner bought it for 500 bucks and got her fixed up. The top has been repaired and it was a awesome job! I bought the bass in '94 for $2400cnd. When I get a chance to take more pics I will.

    The measurements are as follows:

    Upper bought:21 inches
    Lower Bought:27
    String Length:45 1/4

    The label says John Juzek, Violin maker in Prauge.

    Oh, and here's a story for ya. The other day I was talking to a friend and he asked if I played double bass. When I said yes he had a suprise for me. In his fathers shed was a old plywood bass. His father was the caretaker for the old Sisters of Presentation school and the bass was left in the building when it shut down. BUT, it was in three peices, the body, neck and peg box. I brought it to the doc and I should have her back by summers end. Woo hoo. Oh, I don't know what kind of bass it is, it only has Made in Germany on the label and nothing else. Any ideas? If I get a chance, I'll take some pics of 'er and post 'em.
  13. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Juzek made his first Violin about 1910-1911. In 1920 they started thier commercial business using subcontractors including cellos, basses, mandolins and guitars. See here for the history; http://www.metmusic.com/history.htm

    Basses made after wwII are made in Germany. If your Bass is a Juzek import then it must be after 1920. The earilest Bass I have seen with the Juzek Label is 1936. Post some better detailed pics so we can see your Bass better. Many similar commercially made German and Czeck Basses are called Juzek because they look similar. Dealers have been known to put labels inside instruments to sell them for a higher price or to just have a name. Your String length sounds a bit long for any Juzek. 43" was about average for the older ones.
  14. I just took a bunch of pics and I'll post them tomorrow when they get developed. I took pics of the top, back, ribs, where the neck meets the body, scroll, and sticker. Did I miss anything?
  15. Get to know TB! Just a friendly reminder....those pics have been up for ages on: Basses. then John Sprague and Shen's
    The Talkbasses. Also enjoy the other beautiful basses in that bunch!!!!!Any questions Adrian, I'll be more than glad to talk about my baby!! Thanks.

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  19. T Sony

    T Sony

    Mar 5, 2004
    Awesome! Juzek's are all around pretty consistent. I hope she see's many good gigs,practices,rehearsals and opens up more for ya.

    P.S: I have those same strings. What are they? It's been so long just need a refreshment.....
  20. I put a set of D'Addario Helicores on a few months ago. I think I'm going with something different when I change them next.