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New(old) interesting Double Bass.

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by AMJBASS, Aug 3, 2005.


  1. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I picked up a new bass today. It is a small 7/8ths bass with a 41" string length. Really dark, almost black varnish on it. The Arching on the bass is huge. It is higher than any bass I have owned yet. I was told it was an older Tyrolean bass but from my own experience I am going to guess that it is a Hungarian made instrument maybe 30 years old. If any of you guys have an opinion of origin it would be much appreciated! I am almost completely in the dark.

    The bass is in good shape overall but needs some work... fingerboard dressing for sure, new end pin, definitely a new bridge with adjusters. The usual. I went to check out a few basses today not expecting to purchase but this one just jumped out at me. It isn't the most striking bass I have ever seen, but it sounds sooo nice! It has very little resistance and notes throughout the range of the bass really jump out at you. Really deep and clear sounding instrument with a ton of volume. It destroys my Christopher in volume. I have the bass setup with Spirocore Starks right now and they feel like Weichs on this bass. I usually play with the strings up a little higher though. The "unadjustable" bridge is set at 10mm for the E and 7mm G. Anyway, tell me what you guys think.
     
  2. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Interesting Scroll on this bass too:
     
  3. Interesting looking bass - the volutes look oval - (I was thinking it might be the view angle and the focal-length of the camera lens, but cf. tuning gears…) - so …how does it sound???

    - Wil
     
  4. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Wil, it sounds absolutely huge. This is one of the better basses I have owned. The E is massive, and it is very deep sounding. That is with a poor quality bridge with feet that haven't been carved properly. I am assuming with a new Aubert bridge and a proper fingerboard dressing it will be a great sounding bass. The scroll is interesting indeed. I haven't seen volutes like that on any bass before.
     
  5. Adriian,

    Congratultions! Nice bass.

    I really like the scroll, it takes a good eye to design an oval scroll, I call them squished, and have seen some nice instruments (violins) with scrolls like that.

    I wonder what figure is obscured by that dark varnish? Look inside with a flashlight.
     
  6. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Toronto
    Hi Adrian

    Congrats on your purchase!

    I have a very similar-looking bass that I'm using as my main bass right now. Mine has been refinished in a similar colour (i.e., dark, with some purplish colour in the lighter spots). My scroll is somewhat "egg shaped" as yours appears to be, although not as dramatic as yours - is there any distortion in your photo?? The "egg" scroll is something that a Hungarian bassist described as characteristic of Hungarian makers.

    My bass WAS purchased from what some people have described as the "Hungarian Mafia"... There are several sellers in Toronto. These people aren't necessarily crooks, but have a tendency to antique instruments in the hope of inflating the price. Nevertheless, my bass is the loudest and nicest sounding of all the basses I've owned (6 so far). I'm interested to hear what others have to say about the scroll shape and the likely origins of your bass.

    Cheers,

    Paul O'Connell
     
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I have seen a few Czech, German and English Basses with flattened heads like that. Here are some links to them;

    http://www.kolstein.com/instruments/bass/b2489/index.shtml
    http://www.kort-basses.com/catalog/88/test_en.html
    http://www.kort-basses.com/catalog/43/test_en.html
    http://www.worldofbasses.de/Instrumente_01/Forster_III/forster_iii.html

    I don't Know if all the names are as they say here but is seems as if it pops up in a few countries.

    The Varnish looks fairly new on your bass and the wear looks slightly antiqued and not natural. I too have a Hungarian Bass that came from Canada first claiming to be 19th century Italian. It's a nice Bass but some of the 'internal' work is pure crap. The Top was re-graduated, Bass Bar was loose, all Cross bars loose as these were poorly fitted. The Center Bar needed to be repalced as it was in the wrong place for the Sound post, Both upper and lower Blocks had to be replaced as well. The Fingerboard came off like opening a soda can.
    This Bass of mine has nice wood and a good handmade Italian style in it's dimentions as well. It was just put together poorly and artifically colored inside and out to look old. This is my Gypsy; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/Mystery2/Mystery2.htm

    The sound is huge and I will make it into a 5er. Don't get me wrong, these are nice Basses but faked to make you believe you got a bargain. Un-restored I see them going for 4-8k on average. Fully restored in tip top shape, if it sounds good, I have seen them for 15-20k in Germany and England at the best dealers. If it sounds good and is in good condition and plays well, it's a Good Bass. I just wish they would sell them for what they really are. Nothing to be ashamed about at all. Mine will be used for Orchestra whenever I need the lower notes.
     
  8. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Ken, I appreciate the information! I didn't believe at all when I saw the bass that it was Tyrolean or French as I was told. I had a pretty good idea of what it was and I got it for a great price. I am guessing it is around 25-30 years old. The varnish isn't all that new...the wear is actual wear from playing etc. The instrument is in good shape. There aren't any open seams. The blocks are decent, and the fingerboard is a good piece. It was recently worked on though. I have seen 3 basses like this around here recently. They all had a great sound and all shared the same characteristics(dark varnish with an antiqued look to them). I am thrilled with the sound of this instrument. It sounds huge. It has a really big sounding E. The bass is being setup properly next week.
     
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Arnold and I both thought it was around 40 or so years at first look until the re-graduation started and the true color of the Spruce/Pine was revealed.. Bleeched White.. I would be suprised if mine is even 20 years old. The wear on my Bass is part real and part faked as it has been used a bit and has been opened up once or twice b4 or at least that's what the evidence leads us to believe.

    Is the Back Flat or Round? Purfling? How many piece top and back.. Gears original or replaced? Tell us more about this Bass..

    I am on my way out for the weekend and will be back monday to continue..
     
  10. AMJBASS

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    The top and back are both purfled. Round back(flamed Maple), with a 2 piece Spruce top. The machine heads appear to be replaced. I am wondering if maybe the dark varnish was added later on since the back(using a flashlight) has some really nice figuring, and why would you add purfling to the top and back and then cover it up with an almost black finish?