What have I bought?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by stockbass, Dec 22, 2005.

  1. Hi everyone,
    I picked up a new bass the other week. It is an instrument I came across on tour here in Sweden. Unfortunately I do not know anything about it. Please help me out, is it a Wilfer or what is it? Inside there is a small note stating "Made in Germany" and on the bottom of the neck the number 13153 is stamped in the wood - see pictures:


    best regards Thomas D
  2. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Nice looking bass! Those tuners look like 1950s era to me...

    This doesn't look like plywood to me, for several reasons. FIrst, the cracks in the top look like real wood (ie., with the grain). Second, it seems to have too much 'lip' on the edges (esp. around the back button). Third, the flamed wood could be veneer, but the outside liners seem to be flamed as well - I haven't seen wood that fancy on any plywoods....

    Stockbass, can you clarify whether it's carved or ply???

    Eh_train (Paul)
  3. That bass looks like it's fully carved. It has a deep relief at the edge near the purfling on both the top and the back. It also looks like there are two crack repairs at least in the top. It think it looks beautiful, really. Nice half-plates also. Does the label give a city or anything else? I would think since it is serialized it is a factory bass, probably built early 20th century.

    I'm not ruling out that the tuners may have come later, but if the bass were built in the 1950's wouldn't the label designate "East" or "West" Germany??
  4. eh_train

    eh_train Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2004
    Hi SilverSorcerer

    I had a 1953 bass - the year is certain 'cos I bought it from the original owner - that had the same tuners and a Made in Germany label. You're right, of course, that both the tuners and label could have been manufactured earlier.

  5. There is absolutely no plywood on this bass. My guess, based on the state of the wood, is that it is a quite modern bass, made in perhaps the 60s or 70s. There are some modest cracks - as usual - and they are all taken good care of.

    There is unfortunately no other labels than the small "Made in Germany" and the serial number. I believe that "Germany" were commonly referred to West Germany.

    This bass is my fourth double bass, all but one carved, and this one is the best one yet. It's set with low action (about 10 mm) with old Thomastiks that are really damaged around the bridge. Nevertheless it sounds fantastic! Over the years I have have been moving towards a higher action and the Velvet strings (although the last two years I've actually been using normal steels, addario hybrids, as it is easier to bow and much cheaper). I've never cared that much for thomastiks, but on this bass it's more than just ok. But then I also believe that just about any action, string and pu will work well on this bass.

  6. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I can't tell much without hi res pics of the edges. The back flames looks too good to be true. I have seen some Basses with great flame but only a close look at the edges will tell me. Need more detailed pics of the entire Bass. New looking within 50 years or less. German 'style' bass.

    Edit; Looks like a Wilfer to me. Like the ones Juzek bought and imported into usa.
  7. Thanks for taking the time folks!

    He he - the back flames are the real thing, believe me! Later tonight I will post the full resolution pictures. /TD
  8. The crest on the back is the same as a wilfer that I have, but the shade of varnish suggests a Rubner- Interesting.
    How's it sound?
  9. pat1151


    Jun 22, 2004
    Montreal, Quebec
    At school I play a Rubrich Paesold Bass and It has that same crest design on the back... I don't know if that's a common design or not, but thats pretty much the only suggestion I have. The Paesold Basses are built in germany aswell...

    You may want to look at www.paesold.com for comparison.
  10. Hi Ken and folks,
    here are the links to the full size pics:


    The sound is very tight and well defined. Upper register is very loud. It has that expensive "box" sound, if you know what I mean...

    BTW the crest design is very common, it's also on my mid 1800 4/4 bohemian bass too.

    Now it's time for friday night beer with good friends.

  11. Ike Harris

    Ike Harris

    May 16, 2001
    Nashville TN
    I had a 4/4 Lewis & Sons laminate that I bought from a local player, Chuck Sanders, which was custom ordered back when he got it. It had a great looking flame veneer and had a big sound, and now belongs to Belmont University. Your bass does look like a carved with the raised edges though.

    Chuck had been on the Maynard Ferguson band('61 album), original Nashville Brass member, and WSM staff band. He was someone I grew up seeing on local TV as an inspiration and a great friend whom I miss these days.

  12. ispider6


    Jan 30, 2005
    That looks carved to me. If you look through the f-hole, you can see flame on the unvarnished inner side of the back. Thanks for the pics. Hope you were able to make a good deal on it.
  13. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Nice looking bass -- the back is stunning!

    I hope the top repairs were done well.
  14. kaybass1952


    Mar 12, 2004
    This looks alot like my bass .(it has same sticker but no serial#).I was told it was a Wilfer probably early 50's. I am very happy with the way the bass plays and sounds -Enjoy!
  15. I checked out this site. On my bass there are small stripes of ebony where the neck meets the body (see pic 5). On this bass:
    you can see the same stripes. I haven't seen this before. Perhaps this is a good clue?

  16. I payed about 4000 dollars (todays exchange rate) for this bass. I concider it to be a bargain.
  17. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    It's pretty common, my bass has the same strips of ebony.

    You may never get a 100% certain ID on the instrument. But if it is in good condition as you say, 4000 USD is a nice price. Regardless of the exact maker.
  18. ispider6


    Jan 30, 2005
    Agreed. Based solely on looks, it appears to be a good deal. Congrats!
  19. thanks!
  20. pnchad

    pnchad Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2005
    It is fully carved. You can tell by the edge wear and the almost 'white' nature of the interior.
    Probably '50s just like the Juzek base model. I had one of the Artist series w/ violin corners of the same vintage, same tuners, same purfling, same ebony trim.
    I bought mine in immacuate condition about 1999 for $2800 and sold it 2 years later for $6500 to a serious NYC jazz player. It played/sounded great and looked nearly new.
    Congrats! :p