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When is a Roth not a Roth?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by MarkRubin, Feb 21, 2006.


  1. MarkRubin

    MarkRubin F L T

    Mar 14, 2005
    Austin TX
    Question for the Bass Gods:
    I have here a recently restored bass labeled and branded Roth.

    However, it doesn't look like any Roth I've ever encountered either in person or in photo. The shape, violin corners and tuning machines do not correspond to what I've seen on Roth basses, but maybe I just haven't seen enough.

    Conversely, It's the finest sounding bass I've yet played as well. Full voiced, focused and even across the strings in all registers.

    What have I got here?

    Thanks in advance.
     

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  2. MarkRubin

    MarkRubin F L T

    Mar 14, 2005
    Austin TX
    More photos...
     

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  3. greene

    greene

    Dec 19, 2003
    New York City
    Ideal Music
    From my understanding Roth never made basses. Your "Roth" could very well be a Wilfer who it seems was a major supplier of basses for many who put their labels in. Karl Hofner being one of them.
     
  4. prelims222

    prelims222

    Sep 20, 2004
    Southeast US
    I once tried out a E.H. Roth that was a copy of a Rogeri - it was marked as being made in 'bubenruth' germany. Beautiful dark sounding bass with plenty of volume. Easy to play too. That was definitely a hand carved instrument and plenty of people seemed to consider it possible that it was carved by Roth, who some consider to be ont he level of Gemunder.

    This is a Markneukirchen label, so maybe one of the 'cottage industry' experts will have more to offer on it.
     
  5. Eric_J

    Eric_J Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Flower Mound, TX. USA
    Mark,

    Does 'Markneukirchen' suggest possibly the Musima factory or another factory in the area?

    The label says 'Made in Germany', so that would indicate before WWII or after unification. I'm not good with dates, but my guess is before 1941 or after 1988. {History buffs feel free to insert correct dates}.

    I used to sell instruments for a local school supplier, (now a large chain) , if I remember correctly the Earnst Hinrich Roth label was for the Step Up instruments, rather than the standard school instruments.

    It doesn't appear to have the 'Mule' (sp) joint edging like a Musima (Eberle or Rubner) typical of the Russian style in Markneukirchen after it became part of East Germany. Would that indicate it was likely built prior to WWII?
     
  6. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    that looks like it might be a really sweet bass.
    where did you find it.

    i think i read somewhere that the bass mingus had with the dragon head scroll was a roth, but i might be wrong.....the neck was flamed like that and i think the tuners look the same, and it was violin cornered as well.....i have a big poster with of him holding that bass and you can see the scroll and tuners pretty well.....perhaps he had a roth bass like that one.
     
  7. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
  8. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Tuners, flames and corners is no way to 'peg' a shop made Bass or almost any brand! A great maker may be ID'd by some great Corner/Purfling work but not by itself.

    The Bass has two Labels and a Stamp all in the same area. Do you thing that's enough or a few more might make it better?..lol

    Copy of a 1720 strad?.. What the heck does that mean? It's not a Violin or Cello and Strad NEVER made a Bass so why would anyone say copy of a Strad in a Bass. No real maker I know of has ever claimed that. Copy of a Testore or Forster or someone who is actually known for making a Bass would be more realistic. That statement just 'cheapens' the Bass. It has nothing to do with Strad at all except it has wood and strings.

    Judge that Bass by it's sound and condition only. It's year of make and what shop it was made in is of lesser improtance but of interest to a future buyer only. If it has no sound or needs a ton of work, it's a conversation piece unless you like to gamble.

    "Made in Germany" tag..... That's made for export. No hand maker puts an export label in his work.

    I can just see it.. "Carlo Testore" copy of Juzek, made in Italy 1721.

    I'll take a dozen...lol. over easy plz
     
  9. jmpiwonka

    jmpiwonka

    Jun 11, 2002
    well i had read that the mingus bass was a roth, and then here we have a roth labelled bass with comparable shape and tuners...i was just thinking out loud that maybe the mingus bass actually was a roth. that's all, that doesn't make this bass any better or worse of course.
     
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The point here was that Roth is a BRAND and not necessarly a maker. Although E.H. Roth was a real maker just like Jan Juzek, the work on the Bass looks very commercial to me. Rubner was also a Maker and so was Eberle but the Basses I see with their names often have nothing to do with the actual person. Ever see a Bach Trumpet? A Milano Bass? The whole city of Milano Italy worked on it while visiting China?

    I just get an itch when I see great names used and even stupid ones like Bach or Milano as if it has any chance of being what it is. Wilfer IS a real maker/Shop and so is Shen.. So why can't the rest of the world just say what it is. On the Roth thing, I have seen Plywood and good quality carved Basses. My question is, why do they look like all the other Germans Basses of that era?

    Also it says that E.H. Roth shows individuality in every instrument and did all his own Varnishing on the cheaper shop produced instruments. Also his Son E.R. Jnr, was head of the Violind Dept. at Selmer's, New York, 1930s... Hey.. 'made in Germany'? I wonder who the USA Importer/Distributer was in USA.. Inside man Jr... Oh, and if he Varnished everything, I wonder if he got any Plywood Splinters in his Brush....

    The Eberle's by the way worked in the Tyrol, Italy or Rotterdam from 1750s-1925..5 different ones, maybe related? .. I am puzzled how they still make School quality instruments from their Grave...??
     
  11. greene

    greene

    Dec 19, 2003
    New York City
    Ideal Music
    I asked my mom today who had visited E H Roth many times with my dad when he was alive. She said Roth did not ever make basses. He made some beautiful cellos and of course violas and violins which we have plenty of by the way ... (hint hint), but Roth bought the basses from Lang or Wilfer...
     
  12. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    My guess exactly.. or one of the other shops that made similar Basses. Thx for the confirmation.
     
  13. MarkRubin

    MarkRubin F L T

    Mar 14, 2005
    Austin TX
    Thanks to everyone for the input!

    Fact is, the thing is a gosh darn cannon. Possibly the finest sounding instrument I've ever encountered, with and even voice across the strings and in all ranges (at least the ranges I play;)

    In that respect, who cares who made it?

    Any idea what these stickers are? I found 4 of 'em in the corners under the top. Thanks!
     

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  14. Mingus played a Roth. That bass looks similar to the Mingus Roth. Roth made handmade basses before the label was applied to factory instruments.
    -Jon