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Trying to determine age of a DB

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Stein O, Jun 14, 2018 at 5:33 AM.


  1. Stein O

    Stein O

    Thursday
    I´m currently planning to buy an old double bass, which is either german or czhech made. Violin shape with flat back. There is no stickers in the bass to help identify age and origin, but the machines looks rather interesting, and might tell something about the bass. Maybe someone has these machines on their bass? They seem to be made from cast iron or steel.
    kontrahft8.
     
  2. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but my guess is that I have milk older than that bass. I would think it's been "aged" to try to add value. The tuning machines are brass, black Japanned at a guess to stop them looking brand new. The neck is definitely new, and it looks like they couldn't even be bothered to take the strings off before they stained the pegbox and scroll. I would avoid that. Just my view, based on one photo. Others may not agree
     
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  3. Stein O

    Stein O

    Thursday
    okay..... here is a pic of the bass itself. You still belive it is made last monday? kontrahft4.
     
  4. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    I sort of do, yes. I may be wrong, but...
    What age does the seller claim?
     
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  5. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    UK
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    I agree that the machines are modern. The varnish also looks new and IMO (based on those two photos) that’s a modern instrument which has been ‘antiqued’.
     
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  6. Stein O

    Stein O

    Thursday
    None.... The seller has very little knowledge about this bass. That´s why I´m seeking coments that might lead to the origin and age. Thank you!
     
  7. Stein O

    Stein O

    Thursday
    Thank you! Haven´t had the opportunity to test this instrument yet. Might be a good instrument... It has a Romberg bevel. Maybe it is a copy of something?
     
  8. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    OK, I didn't want to accuse anyone of anything fraudulent, but from what you say I stand by my assessment. It has no age to it at all. This is how the varnish looks on an old bass: IMG_20160423_181501_hdr.
     
  9. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    None of this is to say it's a bad instrument. It's just not what it seems to be
     
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  10. Stein O

    Stein O

    Thursday
    This is indeed helpfull! Seeking expert help makes me decide what I will eventually offer for the bass, if it comes to that :)
     
    Neil Pye likes this.
  11. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    I'm not an expert, I must stress. I'm just opinionated!
     
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  12. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    UK
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    Absolutely. It may be a great playing and sounding modern instrument.

    It’s value is determined in large part by its age/provenance so be sure that it’s priced accordingly. As you don't know it's origins then it's also possible that it's been poorly constructed, and/or made using low quality materials such as unseasoned wood. This could cause issues down the line such as splits in the wood and my advice would be to avoid it. If you are going to buy a modern instrument I would recommend you choose one by an established maker or company.

    RE: fingerboard. The bevel doesn't help assess it's age or providence.
    RE: Copy. It may well have been made as a copy of an older instrument, but there's no signs that it's been skilfully done.

    Best of luck on your bass search and I hope whatever you choose you find a great instrument that's right for you.
     
  13. Stein O

    Stein O

    Thursday
    I forgot to mention that this is a plywood bass. That doesn´t make it any better, does it?
     
  14. Harry Monkley

    Harry Monkley

    Jan 16, 2016
    The top of the bass in the OP looks like it is solid to me, if you follow the edge of the table up from the C-bout it looks to me like there are grain lines clearly visible along the edge of the table.
     
  15. Hungarian.
     
  16. Stein O

    Stein O

    Thursday
    The seller says it is made from plywood, but I agree with you. Other pics of the top also shows grain lines.
     
  17. Neil Pye

    Neil Pye

    Apr 13, 2016
    Horsham, UK
    That was my gut feeling, too. One of the players in my orchestra has a similar looking instrument. Obviously antiqued, not old, but actually quite nice to play and to listen to
     
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  18. geoffbassist

    geoffbassist UK Double Bassist Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 17, 2006
    UK
    Founder - Discover Double Bass
    +1 there are a lot of similar instruments in the U.K. often being passed off as German trade basses from the 19th century.
     
  19. The seller is blatantly lying to you about the age of the bass, and you believe what they say about construction methods?
     
  20. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    These are contemporary Rubner tuning machines with the hammered "antiqued" handles. Old vibey look is nice when it is honestly disclosed. Not good when meant to be part of a misleading "antique" package on a newish instrument. Best to get a conditional sale based around a thorough inspection by a qualified doublebass luthier. Good luck!
     
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