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My "new" German Double Bass!

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by AMJBASS, Apr 5, 2005.


  1. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I just picked up this old 3/4 German Double Bass today. I got it for an incredible price, however as you can see it needs a bit of work...I am guessing it was made in the later 1800's. Spruce top with Maple back and sides. You can see the ribs have some incredible figuring. The back is similar with a little less flame but still quite nice. The instrument has been refinished at some point(I am guessing within the last 30-40 years). It was supposedly restored in '71. The top has a lot of deformations. It is fairly thin. Many cracks, most of which have been repaired including a bass bar crack(newer bar too). There is an ugly soundpost patch under the G side bridge foot which goes through the top. It was grafted in. In this area you can see the most deformations. The back is flat with a fairly standard break, and has about 6-7 cracks with a piece of wood grafted in the seam. Top and back are purfled. Despite the rough condition of the instrument it sounds quite good! It has a really deep resonant sound with a ton of low end. Nice and balanced too. I am strongly considering a restoration...taking the top off and pressing it, repairing all of the cracks properly, new upper bass board, and refinishing it with oil varnish. I am not sure if I will be keeping it, I just couldn't pass up the deal. Check it out:
     
  2. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    The back, and the "sound post" side:
     
  3. 5stringDNA

    5stringDNA

    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Very nice Adrian! I really dig the deep red finish- very classy. Hopefully the repairs don't break you too hard- it looks to be worth the work though.
     
  4. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    Adrian, we are going to have to start calling you "Ken Jr."
     
  5. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I am quite positive that it is at least turn of the century. Because of the gloss it difficult to take pictures. You really need to see it up close. It looks newer in the pictures. I will try to get some more detailed pics today. The bass was recently completely refinished. You guys really like the color?! I can't stand it! I am having it stripped and finished in a light brown oil.
     
  6. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    Congrats, Adrian.

    Is it a flatback?

    How does it sound?
     
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Maybe just knock down the top coat a little and flatten it. Then using the red as a base undercoat, put a rich Brown or golden brown over it.. Don't keepp exposing the wood. Give the Bass a chance to live a little...
     
  8. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Ken, thats what I was thinking about doing. I think the red is an over coat. It is really blotchy, but there is a really beautiful golden coat underneat that is exposed in parts. It is possible that it is original. If I can find a way to remove just the top coat(maybe a wash?) I will try and leave the golden undercoat on. This bass really is interesting. I have had a few of these instruments, but never one with such nice wood.
     
  9. 5stringDNA

    5stringDNA

    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Maybe I'm crazy about liking the color. The blotchiness is a bit undesirable though. I like somewhat odd looking finishes (a la Norton), particularly reds and blacks. It's just too bad no one seems to take a strangely finished bass seriously outside of rockabilly and bluegrass.
     
  10. Hey Adrian...the bass looks good, but if it makes you feel any better, I agree with you about the color...it sucks!
    Do what you can about it. I'd like to see the scroll too.
    Congrats!
     
  11. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I agree! The restoration is going to begin in about 2 weeks. The top will come off.....The bass bar has to be removed as it is sunk the entire length of it. A soundpost patch must be added as well. The top will be pressed back to its original(or supposedly original!) dimensions and a new bar fitted. Its going to cost an arm and a leg but I think for this bass it will be worth it. When I get it back I'll strip it down to the base coat as Ken suggested and finish it in a nice golden brown.