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weird Juzek (NYC guys)

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Ed Fuqua, Jul 8, 2005.


  1. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I was just inna Guitar Center on 14th St. (hey I was buying one of them GK 112 cabs that weighs 12 lbs) and there was a carved "Juzek" sitting in the "vintage" section of the shop, so I hadda go thump it. The only label inside read SAMUEL KOLSTEIN (with middle initial which I forget) and had a 6th Avenue/ Manhattan address, some other stuff and then (typed into a blank space on the label 'form') SOUNDPOST and REGRADATION. Adjustable bridge, but with a funny setup - it came to almost a point in the center of the top of the arch and was almost a straight line down each side away from the centerpoint. Also the strings had been set up so they were much closer together than the fingerboard was setup for, primarily away from the G string side of the fingerboard. You could also see where there was a false nut added at one time, I'm supposing that this may have been set up for a younger/smaller player and not really fully undone. The board itself was really thin and would definitely need replacing (and the bridge and the nut - which was so flat as to be almost non existent). EDIT - Despite this it played without any buzzes, from bottom to top on all strings.
    There have been some repairs to the body that look very well done -nice neat cleats, all cracks tight and not noisy. But pretty good shape, bodywise. There was either a neckblock repair or neck replacement/repair; there is a very neatly placed and finished dowel going form the button into the block. The neck seems a little thin compared to the other Juzeks I've played, but that may be the way-thin board. Really, it's almost absolutley gone where it meets the nut/scroll. The sound seemed OK, given the bad set-up (and incessant tweedling in the background) hard to tell what it would be like if brought up to speed.

    So anyway, two fold purpose.
    1. UNTOWARD ACTIVITY - hopefully this doesn't sound like anything Near and Dear that has recently wandered...

    2. ACQUISITION - they got it tagged at $4499. I asked the cat how "flexible" they were, he said "Flexible? These go for around $6K." and so I launched into the litany of what repairs it would need and how much they would cost and he said "Well, if you're serious I guess I could go to $3500..." so if anybody out there is looking for something affordable....
     
  2. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I think that bass has been there for a couple of months now. The last time I was there they had two, not sure who the maker of the other one was as I wasn't in the market for buying or haggling.
     
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The other thing is a Shen ply, I think they're asking $1800ish.
     
  4. They also had a 5/8th "Juzek" when I was there. I played the bass you are talking about Ed and I thought it sounded great. My biggest beef is it's sold in Guitar Center. Anyway, it's good to hear they are a little flexable pricewise.
     
  5. fred pratt

    fred pratt Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2004
    New York City
    I bought it.

    They, a guy named Roger in particular, were nice enough to give me just about what I wanted for my Workingman's 10 and Peavy Microbass as trade-ins, to cut the price a bit, and to throw in a stand since it didn't have a cover.

    I was hoping that if I put it on the stand right behind my existing bass my wife wouldn't notice it. But since she got home before I did it was hard for her not to see me carrying it in the door.

    I'm going to take it in to David Gage soon , find out what it is, and try to fix it up. I'll let you know what happens if you're interested.
     
  6. Of course we are. That's one of the reasons we come here.
     
  7. How about some pics?
     
  8. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    There have been many threads about this 'Brand'. I know it's hard to re-train ones mind but unless it is Labelled Juzek, a similar looking Bass is just another German Shop Bass. Actually, Juzek NEVER Made a Bass in his life. They were all made by Wilfer and Labelled here in USA as Juzek. John Juzek made a few Violins and then started a commercial business with his brothers to import into USA. A good part of their business was the NYC School system. The Oldest Juzek I saw in School was 1936, a Cello and I also later owned a Bass from 1936 as well. Both of these had Anton Wilfer Labels as well. Before WWII, the Wilfers and their cottage industry was in Shoenbach/Czech. After WWII they moved into the German side of the region. Robert Juzek made contracts with Anton and Wenzel Wilfer and John Juzek was out of the picture, except for the Label, a US Trademark!

    Juzek 'brand' instruments ranged from plain to fancy with mainly the wood being the only difference. Some Basses had Violin Corners. I have seen Many German Basses (and Czech) that looked exactly the same but with a different labels. Just like Foods, there were private label shops there as they flourish more in China these days.
     
  9. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    should be interesting to see what happens to Chinese import prices now that they are no longer pegging the yuan to the $... Right now only a 2% decrease in the 260Billion $ trade deficit we have with them but i think this is only the beginning...

    Back OT.
     
  10. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Some Kays are sporting asking prices up over $3K now, aren't they? That strikes me even funnier. Back when I started I should have snagged a room full of those $500 beaters.
     
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I know a guy in Brooklyn that does something similar. He grabs old school Juzeks and 'fixes them up' and sells them pretty cheap. I've seen a few of his basses that he's worked on. Varathane, anyone?
     
  12. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I doan geddit. What Varathane?

    Joe got a "Juzek" that was an old school bass from the cat that used to have a joint on Broadway down by Astor Place, maybe UNIVERSAL MUSIC? Nice bass, cleaned up real well.
     
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Oh and hey FRED, good going. Keep me updated...

    Does that mean the WanBernadel is going on the block?
     
  14. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    That ain't right...
     
  15. fred pratt

    fred pratt Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2004
    New York City
    I haven't decided yet. I've gotten attached to the WanBernadel. I love its growl and I was thinking maybe a flexible tailpiece cord could darken the sound a bit and diminish the wolftones, which don't even seem bad right now. The Wan is more visually deductive than the Juzek, for what that's worth.

    I'm going to wait until the Juzek is fixed up and then see. I can't keep both, even though I wish I could.
     
  16. greene

    greene

    Dec 19, 2003
    New York City
    Ideal Music
    I know the guy who sold this Juzek to Guitar Center. He does buy old school instruments from all over NYC and surrounding area and does restoration and then resells them. He was describing this bass to me when I remembered this thread and then showed him some of the posts and he confirmed that yes this was one of the basses he sold GC.

    And yes, Ken has it exactly right as I remember. For many years when I was a kid, I worked for my dad during the summer months and very often I would be wheeling a Czech or German bass over to Metropolitan which was around the corner because they needed to fill a school order. These basses were only labeled when they were sold here in the States otherwise they were blanks. Metropolitan would put their labels in, Ideal would put their labels in, and all the other importers would put their labels in even though the basses were from the same source or at least you assumed the source was the same because for example, its still not clear to me how much Hofner made for Wilfer or Wilfer made for Hofner and I know this was done. I have Hofner hybrids that I'm fairly certain were made by Wilfer. I have Wilfer plys that may have been made by Hofner or somehow acquired by Hofner for Wilfer and then supplied to my dad. Who knows? Just like my dad would trade with Juzek, Hofner and Wilfer were obviously doing the same over there. This was the "pre CBS" musical instrument business which means before the conglamorates like Gulf & Western or CBS began to acquire musical instrument companies and corporatize them.It was a time when everyone knew everyone and were for the most part very close.
     
  17. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Bobby Juzek (Roberts' son/Johns' nephew), told me that the Plywood/Cheaper models came from Lang(Benedict?) and not Wilfer. Only the Carved Basses were from Wilfers'(Anton, Wenzel and later Emmanule).

    Peter Eibert came to USA in the 60s from Germany and went to work for Metropolitan Music (Robert Juzek). John Sipko worked for Juzek/Met. as well and later went to work for Loeb/Ideal (my bank was across the street on 5th and 21st so one day I went up and saw the shop as John showed me all the Basses just like I had seen at Juzek but they were from different suppliers and looked similar to the German Wilfers in some ways). I met John there (Met./Juzek) in the late 60s when I was in Music&Art HighSchool. I bought my Plywood there in 1966 for $150. (carved started at $200.) and with case, music stand, bow, rosin and Tuning Fork (Which I still own and was $1.75 then) cam to just under $200.

    In 1971 I bought the last Master Art 3/4 they had. That Bass was there all thru HS and John Sipko would always let me come in the back and look at all the Basses until one day, years later I went to buy it.

    When he brought the Bass out to me the 'D' string sounded funny. There were a few guys on a long bench against the window adjusting and fixing Violins, Cellos etc. I asked the one nearest me to lend me his 'RatTail' File so I could re-cut the D-String Bridge slot. With slight hesitation, he handed me the File I pointed to and watched as I re-angled the slot slightly, tuned the Bass back up and.. Wulaaa... Even on all 4-strings.. He smiled and nodded with approval.. I learned later that he was Peter Eibert.

    About 1 1/2 years later, I was in a Car accident and the Bass was damaged. I called my old friend Victor Venegas for advice and he said "Take it to Alfonse Vavra" (he also started at Juzek/Met as they sponsered many Czech and German luthiers). I called Vavra but he could not take in anymore work. He suggested I call his friend up-state. I did, got directions and went up. A man opened the door and my Jaw dropped.. It was Peter Eibert. I didn't know his name the day I was at Juzek so no bells went off on the name but when I saw his face, a sigh of relief and joy came about.

    Peter apprenticed from age 14 in Nurenberg Germany with Heinrich Lang who was at the time the regional(?) 'Guild Master' for Violin Making/Luthiers. Peter is about 79 years old now so this was at the beginning of WWII. Peter became Heinrichs' #1 Luthier and also help to train the other workers to enter the Guild.

    Peter and Robert Juzek has been my source of information on the Juzek business as well as my own experiences but Peter knew the Makers in Germany when he was there and re-connected the names after joining Juzek.

    Juzek is just one of the interesting Brands (and makers as he did make a few Violins between 1910 until the mid 20th century?) to study it's history. Morelli is another name to explore which also included Paul Toenniges to some degree.
     
  18. greene

    greene

    Dec 19, 2003
    New York City
    Ideal Music
    Ken,

    Vavra - now there's a familiar name I heard many many times growing up ... did he ever work for my dad? Do you know? My dad also had an endless troop of Czech luthiers that would come over and stay for a few years and then return.
    And this Benedikt Lang I just found in the warehouse ... I've been wondering about this bass since this is one of the names I don't know, nor do I have a clue how old it is. Do you know anything about Lang? I was told Anton Semmlinger who I know made many of the cellos we still have had worked for Lang and then bought out his shop but I don't really know. Do you happen to know anything about this ?

    Thanks for all that info which I do enjoy reading as it brings back many memories of dinner table conversations. I'm positive I met Vavra at some point but I don't remember where.
     
  19. ctxbass

    ctxbass Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    Central Texas
    I spoke once with Fritz Reuter of Chicago. His family worked in Mittenwald and he worked for Lewis and Sons . He told me that Lang, Wilfer, and Hofner all made basses for Lewis & Sons. I contacted several luthiers in Mittenwald and found that the Benedikt Lang shop has been taken over by Lothar Semmlinger.
    I have a 1960's? carved Lewis & Sons instrument that looks like a Wilfer bass.