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mystery EBAY Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Alexi David, Nov 8, 2003.

  1. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Looks pretty authentic and yes Dearborn is kinda famous. Worth something to someone interested in those kind of things, but it's still a tiny bass.
  3. mxr255

    mxr255 Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2003
    Williamsport, PA
    looks interesting. It looks like a cello and from the looks of the background it is in a string repair place now. Why not fix it?
  4. Gabe


    Jan 21, 2003
    I saw one of those church basses in my luthier's shop. They're pretty neat. Kind of like fat cellos.
  5. *drools uncontollably* I really want it! How much do you guys figure it's worth in that kind of condition? And how rare are these things really? It's sooooo cool! :bassist:
  6. Ninety-Nine times out of a hundred church bass neck and bodies are too long to be used as a cello and too short to be used as a bass. The great majority of them have been relegated to being objects of curiosity in the back rooms of fiddle shops and nothing more.
  7. mxr255

    mxr255 Supporting Member

    Jul 21, 2003
    Williamsport, PA
    I wouldn't mind having it in the back room of my fiddle shop. There is always room for a tubby cello.
  8. Hey luthiers...Didn't Dearborn work for Prescott?
    Come on, one of you guys...Buy it..You could use it like Ron Carter and his piccolo bass..only maybe you could learn to play it in tune!
  9. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire
    Yes, Dearborn did work for Prescott. I happen to live just a mile or so from Deerfield, NH where Prescott made basses so I have learned some instersting things over the years about Prescott and his influence.

    As previously stated, while this instrument appears authentic it is not very practical by todays standards. Aslo, you can safely assume that it needs much more repair than stated.

    The question of "why has the shop where it currently lives not fixed it?" is interesting. There are two probable answers:
    1. They just got it (for nothing$$) and would rather not put money into it. And, they know enough to know that they are not qualified to repair it.
    2. Intrigue! Right now it makes one salivate. Finished, it is just a very old little bass.

    I am not trying to diminish it's value. Just recognize it is a novelty.

    The clue to some insight as to the seller is the statement about... "the estimate cost of repairs on this item is approximately between 5 to 7 hundred dollars. To the buyer of this item, the owner will gladly restore this if the buyer wants it to be restored, and wants to pay for it, as this person does this for a living, and is extremely professional in this area". NOT!

    As for it's value? "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". As a properly restored antique, ...some would say 25K to 30K . As is,... most would not pay more than $500. One reason is that the time and effort it takes to properly restore and instrument like this is huge.

    These instrumets are not as rare here in New England as one might think. A couple years ago my brother bought a labeled Prescott in shambles for a few hundred bucks.
  10. My mentor, the late Earsel Atchley, had a Prescott church bass similar to the one on eBay. He did take the time to fix it up, but after about 20 years of taking up space in his shop, with no buyer in sight, donated it to the Harry Truman Presidential Museum in Independence Missouri. The last time I visited the museum it was no where to be seen.
  11. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    1790 is too early for Dearborn or Prescott. Prescott was born in 1789, and I think Dearborn was younger, possibly a son-in-law?
    As mentioned, many of these church basses are just a little larger than cellos. I've seen two Prescotts of this size, one in the art museum in Boston, and the other belongs to a player in the Minnesota. Both had pretty poor varnish, though most of the large Prescotts I've seen have a nice varnish. Prescott of course made all of his basses originally for use in churches. I've seen one that I can only describe as a 5/4(and I'm not sure it is a Prescott; maybe Dearborn), most have been 7/8s and the one that Scott LaFaro played on, now owned by Barry Kolstein, is more of a 3/4. Prescott had a lot of people working for him including Dearborn, so I don't know how much of the work he did himself. One of his original labels reads: "Abraham Prescott maker of Umbrellas and Basses"! I met someone recently who had also seen one labeled like this, or words to that effect. He also made organs.
    I owned for a number of years a beautiful church bass that was more the size of a piccolo bass with three strings, a slab cut pine top and nicely flamed back. The ribs were plain. The f-holes were connected at the top and bottom and the back of the scroll was cut out. The current owner is making it into some kind of six string something(hey, maybe this belongs under the Arnold thread about changing basses).
    There were many makers of church basses in New England in the early 1800s. Mine wasn't labeled but it had an oil varnish similar to some of the Prescotts.
  12. Mmmm....yumm - tubby cello, just in time for Thanksgiving. Bet it would go great with cranberry sauce.:D
  13. BassMan2000


    Sep 27, 2000
    I had the highest bid for awhile on the instrument, but I woke up this morning to find my bids were retracted. Oh well, Pete is a nice guy over the phone. I really wanted to win that auction, oh well.
  14. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Martin, You're right about the dates. I looked it up myself eariler today. You beat me to the punch!
    As a matter of fact, Barrie Kolstein has a Dearborn Bass in stock right now as well as a large Prescott besides Scotty's old Bass. Besides the age of Prescott, Barrie believes the Dearborn Brothers Apprenticed from their teen years and went out on thier own when Prescott moved to Concord,HN many years later. The Dearborns also started a lumber business and worked with Prescott to supply other makers in New England. Here are the links to the Kolstein N.E.Basses; http://www.kolstein.com/instruments/bass/b2312/index.shtml and ; http://www.kolstein.com/instruments/bass/b2237/index.shtml .......

    I was in the Kolstein shop about 2 1/2 years ago shopping for a Bass and played the LaFaro Bass . He also had a couple of Prescott church Basses as well.
    A month later by coincidence I picked up my current Bass (an early American Bass by a Prescott cousin ) labeled Batchelder & Son 1875, Pelham,N.H. Here's the photos ; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/news/uprightbass1/uprightbass1.htm
  15. seems the auction has ended early; anybody know what happened?
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Inactive Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Paul, The Batchelder Bass has a raised neck block like many other Basses with full blocks. The Dearborn Bass at Barrie's shop has the same style block. The 'blockless wonders' as they are called were made in Germany and not in New England. I have seen raised blocks on Basses from Italy and England as well. It's just another style that now suffers from the bad reputation the blockless Basses caused. I'm not sure if my Bass was a 3 stringer but the scroll is very long and was probably made with 4 strings but one of the wooden pegs broke along the way. The gears did match though.

    About Scotty's Bass, I was looking at Italian Basses that day and played it at the end of my search. I was more intrigued by the fact it was Lafaros' than by the tone of the bass itself. The bass was nice but can't be compared to 250 year old Italian Basses when shopping for a bowing type instrument.
  18. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    I forgot to mention that church basses usually go for about $450 at the violin auction houses.
    I too played Scott LaFaro's bass as an ISB convention some while back. I played one of Scott's licks on it and was sorely disappointed that I didn't sound anthing like him. Who could?

    Ken, your bass looks a lot like it's a copy of some of the early 19th century 3 string Bohemian basses.It's a beauty.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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