Old American Standard question

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by efhole, Jun 29, 2005.

  1. efhole


    Nov 26, 2004
    Hello Talk bassers,
    Hopefully some of you can share your knowledge with me of the old American Standard basses. I have a chance to buy an A.S. blonde, serial #1265. My questions is, given what little info there is regarding the serial #'s, can anyone tell me the approximate age of the bass? Also, the fingerboard is rosewood. I have always been under the impression that these basses came with ebony F.B.'s only so I'm wondering if this might not be the original fingerboard. The asking price is $2800. Is this a good deal?Any insight to these questions would be appreciated.
  2. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    I think maybe an early 40's, a luthier familiar with these could tell you if it's pre or post war because the way the neck joint is made. Price sounds in the neighborhood but it depends on the sound and condition mostly. I've seen them priced both lower and higher. Blond ones are rather rare. Could be a refin though, or after purchase finish. Mine had the ebony FB. Not sure if rosewood was an original option. AS was the student model the White co. offered apart from the fancier(and smaller) King, but they are more in demand today due to their bigger sound.

  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I used to have an old standard, and the fingerboard - which I initially thought was rosewood - turned out to be what my luthier called "low grade ebony"...smells like Napalm, tastes like chicken! Anyway, you might want to have that fingerboard checked out, as it might be ebony after all.
  4. basstef

    basstef Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Bologna, Italy

    I agree with Ike, this AS should be from early 40's. I've recently become the happy owner of an old standard # 40 (!). I know they started building basses in 1936, so it should be from either '36 or '37. After a bit of restoration, my bass has become really a strong, loud and rich sounding backup instrument. This AS had no fingerboard when I bought it so I don't know what came originally with it, but I believe AS basses were fitted with both rosewood fingerboards and tailpieces.

    For more infos on AS you may wish to check out www.nhwhite.com

    Enjoy the AS if you go for it. Stefano.
  5. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2005
    Are you happy with the #40? I came extreemly close to buying it, but decided not too. 4500 for a ply seemed a little steep for me. I could almost get a carved for that amount. Hope it's a cannon.
  6. Jazzman


    Nov 26, 2002
    Raleigh, NC
    I do not believe that all serial numbers were sequential. I have #410 and Mr. Schnitzer said it was from the early/mid 50's.
  7. basstef

    basstef Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Bologna, Italy
    Hi Peter, the bass is a cannon indeed. I decided to buy it "as is" and had a great restoration, quick and cheap here in Italy. The price of $4500 seemed a bit high to me too so I went for the as is option, where I saved about half the amount. Shipping to Italy plus custom duties were something, but still saved some money. And, above all, I a m happy with this bass. I became interested into the AS the first time when I saw Dennis Irwin playing a gig with his AS. He said he had a Villaume at home which he hardly used. I have a great big German bass which is on the way to be used almost only on recording sessions...;)
    Take care
  8. efhole


    Nov 26, 2004
    I decided to purchase the blonde even though I really didn't have the cash. This thing is a real boomer. I put a set of Thomastik solos on it and it really cuts through the mix with the band I play with. I am so happy that I decided to get the bass. Coming up with the cash, on the other hand, will prove to be a much tougher feat.
  9. basstef

    basstef Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Bologna, Italy
    congrats ! and welcome to the American standard club :)
  10. I have # 87. As I understand it, American Standards go back to 1925, and I would put yours and mine in that year.
  11. I googled and got a web site about HN White. It showed copies of advertisements. I noted the advertisement for American Standard basses, showing "H. N. White" across the bottom of the page.
    The label inside my #87 says "Made by the Cleveland Musical Instument Co." in bold letters. In small letters, it says "a subsidiary of H.N. White Co." That seems at odds with the advertising copy. It seems at least plausible to me that AS basses were being made and sold by Cleveland before and until 1936, and that in 1936 HN White phased out the Cleveland name and put AS under HN White.
    I'd like to know what your label says.
    My old 87 was a contestant in an ugly bass contest here a few years ago. The consensus was that Chris Fitzgerald's AS was uglier by far.
  12. basstef

    basstef Supporting Member

    Dec 18, 2004
    Bologna, Italy

    Don, my label has exactly the same content as yours. You may be right.
  13. My #93 has '"PATENT APPLIED FOR" in the lower left corner of the label. It also has the same

    American Standard
    Cleveland, Ohio

    (as impressed into the button) woodburned under the label.

    I saw an AS bass at the Philly Guitar Show two weekends ago. Looked nice--a little less old than mine, I am inclined to believe. Cat wanted $2800. He told me he had a buyer at home for it...which is the kind of thing you hear a lot at a show like that. I have his contact info if anybody wants it. He's in Kansas somewhere.