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Think this is a MORELLI?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by teachbass, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. teachbass


    Dec 13, 2004
    This bass had not been played for the last 25 years before I recently acquired it. Needs some work done. I have just had some seams glued up so far. Has had a major amount of repairs including a very old neck/scroll graft.
    One friend thinks it is a Morelli judging by the photos I sent him. However, my luthier buddy who works mainly on cellos, violins and violas thinks it is a least 150-200 years old though judging by the amount of repairs, cracks and general knowledge of the previous owner. He doesn't see a lot of basses though, mostly very fine cellos.

    I have been reading about all of the Morelli info here and am interested in what you guys think.

    ribs are 7", 8" and 9"
    upper bout 19"
    center bout 15"
    lower bout 25"
    Body lenght 44"
    Mensure is 42 1/2"

    Thanks for any help.

  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Your Bass does not look 150-200 years old to me. Looks more like 80-120 years but looks real nice. The Bass looks to have a Spirit Varnish from the pics and seems to be that typical German/Czech style Bass.

    There is no such Maker as Morelli.. It is a "made-up" Name for USA imports just after ww1. They were made in more that one shop from the Basses I have seen. Karl Hermann made many labelled and Branded and the Pfretzchner Shop (CFII) seems to have made many as well because mine and others like it look exactly like Pfretzchners. Basses like that are judged by tone,ease of playability, condition, and volume of sound for orchestra playing. Looks and wood grade do not help if you are missing the main ingredients. Just my opinion...
  3. Ben Joella

    Ben Joella Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    Boca Raton, FL

    I think Ken hit the nail on the head. Likely German or Eastern European and likely not more than 100 years old. The heavy amount of repairs may just indicate less than perfect treatment thus far.
  4. Deja vu all over again huh Ken....teach, I don't think that your bass is a morelli. As my colleages have mentioned, it is a good looker and i'd bet it sounds as good as it looks.
    You mentioned that you've been diggin' around on the older posts and Morelli threads that maybe involved Ken and I because we've both been involved with these basses in the past and present, so we don't need to re-hash all that history.
    I've seen machines like that before, but not on a Morelli. That's no biggy anyway. The mensure is a little short for a M. Most were over 43 and some change. The button doesn't have that ebony half moon cap on it and there's a big SWOOP on the base of the neck unlike a M. A big diff. to me: The upper bout doesn't curve in the same way.....in other words, the top bout curve is more gentle than most M's i've seen.
    I agree w/Ken on the age....I don't think they were putting outside liners on basses that old for starters.

    My vote is......No Morelli, but certainly a bass to be proud of!!
    Jason, what do you mean by "F hole dot?"
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    My point to both you and now to Paul is and was that I believe the Morelli's Brand Basses were made in more than one shop and by more than one guy especially in each Shop. I am sure that once the Morelli brand was well recieved in the USA in the early part of the 20th century, demand grew. They most likely needed different price ranged Basses for the various markets. Mine is 43.5 to 44" string length and was probably a 7/8 or as they call it now, a moderm 4/4 size.

    Paul's Morellis (both of them) were most likely made by a different shop than mine. I have heard from some dealers that both styles have been seen with Morelli labels, Brands and Both label and brand on one Bass. Can your's be a Morelli? It could have been made in the same shop. The Button on the Back could have also been altered.

    Wait 'till you guys see my Morelli when Arnold is finished with it. He did a rib/block type cut. The button is lowerewd as he put a new Neck Block in the Bass and trimmed the top, back and ribs to fit as he made a better fitting and holding block for the neck to be secure. This caused the Button to be re-cut. As a matter of fact, he grafted a new piece of wood just above the Purfling Loop Design and carved a brand new button as the Back was a mess up there from an earlier Break. This will also reduce the string length to just under 42". Your Bass has similar damage at the button as well. You don't really know how well it was repaired or how tight the Neck is actually fitted into the block untill you take it apart and examine it. My Morelli branded Bass was made with nice wood but was poorly repaired and un-evenly Graduated on the Top and Back. Arnold is in the process of a total re-build. I expect great results as the tone of the back and top is so nice and even when you tap it.
  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    This is done by Various German and French Makers to make it look fancy. They do not always do it on everything they make.. Could be certain models or certain years they made it. This can also be on some Italian Instruments on occasion but rare.
  7. teachbass


    Dec 13, 2004
    Thanks for your input guys. Sometimes basses are just like people...We might look older than we actually are depending on how we treat ourselves. I have a 1900 Czech bass that I use for jazz that "looks" almost new. Virtuoso repairs though.

    This European bass though...

    These tuners are cool. Haven't seen any like this yet.
    Doesn't play fantastic but has almost an "expensive" sound.
    Good depth, response and clearity of pitch. I am going to just play it for awhile and decide about a possible neck reset or replacement. (It had a nasty break and a worse repair)

    THOSE SIDE RIBS> What is the story with those and basses.
    I know they are used to strengthen but how long have they used them and is it a eastern Euro thing?

  8. I've yet to see anything in print that would lead me to believe that the Morelli branded instruments were made anywhere other than in the Karl Hermann shop. If the Morelli brand was as popular as Ken speculated, it is also quite possible that label and brand were added sometime after the bass was made by some (less than honest) dealer wanting to make a some quick extra profit by relabeling some other brand that happened to be a little less popular at the time. Counterfeit labels and brands have been around since Stradivarius was a kid.
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Rib linings have been used as far back as the 18th century (1700s) in both Italy and England. I have seen a Lott, Hill and a Beretta Bass all with linings over 200 years old. Prescott used them as well in the early 1800s in USA. The Germans have used them as well for at least 150 years but not all the time. Most shop Basses from 1900 and on have them. Many shops in Germany like Hornsteiner also used them b4 1900. Never saw it on a French Bass.
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Bob, check with Arnold. He seems to believe the Bass is what it is Labelled and has seen another like it b4 with a Morelli label. The label is old as well.. It appears to match the Bass. In the end, it is what it is.. A German Bass re-built in USA... Corrected and refined.. I don't need the Label.. I think it's a Pfretzchner anyway...
  11. Perhaps that (less than honest) dealer had a box full of old bass labels like the box of old violin labels I found in the contents of a defunct violin ship some years ago. :) As much as I respect Arnold, I would wager that he wasn't around when the labels were inserted in either of those basses (regardless of who put it in there).

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    Despite the fact that you can't really tell who exactly made the instrument, it must be a pretty darn good bass for Ken to invest that much into it! I look forward to hearing how it turns out. No doubt it will be a much better instrument!
  13. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Bob is just trying to keep me honest.. I don't care about the Label. I care about the sound. I am spending more than double in repair than I paid for it. Well, actually, I got it as a small payment towards the Italian Solo Bass I sold. That was fairly high ticket Bass price wise. This Bass however will be a Better orchestra Bass as it is larger and has tons more power. The Solo Bass was not very powerful for an Orchestra Bass or at least a 'Principals" Bass. If it was all I had and played in a section, I would settle.. But I don't need to.. I think the Morelli "labelled" Bass I have will be well worth the investment.. "I hope" .. fingers crossed...lol

    BOB...SMILE!!............Now is a good time...
  14. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    "It's not the years, Honey, it's the mileage"...

    -Indiana Jones :rolleyes: