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What is meant by Tyrolean?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by jefff100, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. O.K. I did enough searching and getting distracted by reading unrelated threads. I'm in the learning process and I see man posts & adds that refer to a bass as a Tyrolean bass or a bass made in the Tyrolean style. Have also seen the term used to reference tuners as well.

    What does it mean? When I look at photos of the instruments I don't see anything obvious that makes me think of a difference.

    Just curious. My pocket keeps me from buying anything vintage. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can before spending between 3-4k on my first bass.


  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    They have a feather on the head stock and a leather case?
    Seriously, I know what the style refers to and I know when I see one. Flat back, no neck block, usually very modest woods, poor projection but a lot of presence when bowed.
    I think they were student models mostly.
  3. j.stemmler

    j.stemmler Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2009
    Brantford, Ontario

    actually, the word tyrolean doesnt have anything to do with the style of build. it simply refers to the region of origin. Tyrol was a part of europe. Its no different from saying italian, english, or german. although, like most regions, there are certain charecteristics that are common among instruments from that region. in this case, alot of basses from the region have the charecteristics mentioned above (flatback, gamba shaped, sometimes blockless).
  4. maybe its something i need to stay away from then, i have read that some say flatbacks are more prone to cracking & seperation. Also heard that necks without a neckblock can be a bit more fragile / expnsive to repair down teh road. I've had enought cars like that; don't need to repeat the process here.

  5. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    The good thing about these is that most are about a century old. If they haven't cracked yet they likely won't.
  6. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I think my luthier would say it means both, but he's busy at the moment.
  7. What makes you say that?
  8. j.stemmler

    j.stemmler Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2009
    Brantford, Ontario
    Than he'd probably be right. :p

    As far as them being problematic due to their flatbacks. I have a tyrolean bass from around 1880, and it has two fairly large vertical cracks running up the back. But im kind of a "well done repairs are better than new" type of guy. I had the crossbar replace over a year ago, and was told that despite the cracks, the bass is extremely solid. Long story short, I got a great bass for a very reasonable price (even with all repairs considered).
  9. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC
    A broad generalization you could make about these mostly plain, inexpensively built flatback instruments (I liked the term "modest") is the ones that have been kept in continuous playing condition were the best of them. Some are better basses than you'd suspect given what they sell for. Time has culled the crop somewhat.
  10. So would it be fair to say that a Tyrolean bass by very definition will be an older (100+) instrument. I.E. if a seller has a bass that is either new or within the past 10 years or so, and they call it a Tyrolean bass; would you call that a Tyrolean bass, or just an instrument built in the Tyrolean style?
  11. and they yodel and can double as an alpenhorn w/the proper mouthpiece extension :bag: :D
  12. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    The Tyrol is a state in western Austria; thus a Tyrolean bass is one built there whether ten years ago or a hundred. ;)


  13. Jeff Bonny

    Jeff Bonny

    Nov 20, 2000
    Vancouver, BC

    How perfectly unromantic of you Jake........:spit:
    Saying that is like pointing out someone's fly is open.
  14. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    My humblest apologies - I thought I was being practical and helpful. ;)
  15. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    It's a semantic effort to add a vague Italian provenance to a non-Italian double-bass, with attendant cost to the purchaser.

    Trust me: If there's any way the seller can credibly claim that the bass was built in the Italian region of Trentino the bass will be denominated as "Italian" and priced accordingly.
  16. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    So did I.
  17. In my last post I guess I was indirectly referencing where others had alluded to Tyrolean basses being well aged at this point.... so one might infer from that concept that a Tyrolean bass is of an era & of a region.

    Jake: I took no offense at your post, and I apprieciate candid, direct speaking. I'm so sick of political correctness and doubletalk, corporate politics at work that I some days I could just throw in the towel and take up gardening.

    I'm by no means a geography buff, nor do I care to start to learn same as I'm well past my prime. I did look up Tyrolean on a wikipedia and saw references to the region of Tyrol, but there were no specific references to the doublebass in that context.

    I'll probably not be buying a Tyrolean bass at any rate. I've narrowed my search down to instruments of a somewhat local builder of rececnt lineage.
  18. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Here's what I understand, based on ownership, discussion with luthiers, etc. Tyrolean (sometimes "Bohemian"-mine was referred to both ways) usually describes a gamba-shaped instrument built without a neck block, and having the distinctive humps next to the neck joint. The blockless construction can be problematic and it's common practice to alter the neck, install a block and and increase the overstand. Here's a link to an excellent example of the type of instrument under discussion.


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