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x-ray

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Eric Rene Roy, Oct 19, 2005.


  1. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    Thought you all might find this pretty cool. I know I did...this is the first time we have had anything x-rayed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We wanted to know where the ironwork was before I started in with edge tools. Good thing we did...I would have been trashing my tools left and right!

    This bass is #10 on the string repair site. Any Prescott aficionados have any opinions on this bass? Legit?
     
  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Doesn't look like a Prescott scroll. I'm curious about the repair procedure--why not save the volute and toss the trashed pegbox? Then a new pegbox could be created as part of the new neck graft. The X-Rays are cool! Who did you find to do that for you? BTW, you probably are aware that many buyers of expensive fiddles have them CAT-scanned for hidden problems...
     
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I have seen a few in person and many in pics. I don't see any Prescott features on this Bass. Not the Scroll or ff holes which are the two traits we usually see off the bat.

    Prescott School at best. Dearborn, Tewkesbury, Batchelder or maybe even Prescotts brother that made Basses in Deerfield on his own. There were several makers in New Hampshire and Boston during the 19th century making Basses in New England as well as Maine, Vermont and New York. I currently own Basses by both Batchelder and Prescott but don't think this is by either of them. The raised neck block is common for the period as they copied the Blockless style but not always. I would call it a Prescott School Bass until you get a positive name.

    I would not trust that scroll after looking at all the pics.. It's in pieces. Maybe it can look 'whole' again but make sure the owner takes out a liability policy in case it hits a Cello player in the head... Ouch.. :eek:
     
  4. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    I actually had intentions of talking to the owner this week to see if a new neck/pegbox with a volute graft was an agreeable option to him.

    I really hate the idea of getting rid of original material, it just makes my skin crawl, and thus the heroic efforts to try and save at least SOME of the pegbox by putting the new exterior walls on coupled with the scroll graft, but in this case I am not certain what is original and what is replacement. The volute has been off before...and it does not quite match up to the pegbox. So grafting this volute onto a newly carved neck would be an easier step, and I agree structurally stronger. I would not be as concerned about the strength of this planned "Oreo cookie" repair if it were not for the bottom of the pegbox wall being so thin, cracked and pieced together. It's all butt joints...and not a lot of material for the glue to even bond to...so it's load bearing integrity is questionable.

    Ken, has anyone complied a book or information on the Prescott school of design? Seriously...where he learned the craft...number of potential makers that spun off from him...names...dates...tell-tale characteristics that can help to identify who's who, etc?
     
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Do you have the Weinberg Book of American makers? Between that and the Henley you can cross refrence many of the eariler American Bass makers. Arnold had 4 Basses in his shop last time I was there or maybe 5 from 19th Century N.E... A 3/4 Prescott like mine, my 7/8 Prescott with a Dearborn Label in it but 100% Prescott (c.1840s when he sold (1845) the exhisting business to them including all stock), a Prescott School 7/8-4/4 bass with Ext. and the huge J.B. Allen Bass.

    You are closer to the source than me. Write the Book and I will help. You can use my Batchelder as only a few of his Basses are known. Ask Arnold, Volker, Barrie, Biase and anyone else with Yankee Bass experience. Cincinnati Shop had a Tweksbury once believed to be a Prescott earlier but re-named. Biase had a small 3/4-5/8 Asa White Bass (1800s Boston) with the exact Scroll and teardrop button as on my Mystery Bass but not original to my Bass.. Etc, etc, etc...
     
  6. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    Yeah...that's why I wrote it as "Prescott" (in quotations) on the site. The owner has presented it to us as a Prescott as that is how he bought it and believes it to be. It is in for repair, not appraisal or our opinions. My asking about it's legitimacy is for my own curiosity in trying to hone my identification abilities as well as my interest in New England made instruments and makers.

    I guess this leads to a question for shop owners. If a customer brings you an instrument for repair and calls it "A", but you have doubts and cannot pinpoint if it is "A, B, C or even D", is there any obligation to voice these opinions? Do you just do what you are being paid to do and keep your opinions to yourself?
     
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Well, you could say, "Prescott?, when are you bringing THAT one in to show or fix". As if he said Orange, handing you an Apple. It is not for anyone by Rule to burst their Bubble but I have trouble NOT telling my thoughts when claims are made that may be obvious. Or, "well, it does look to be Early American but is looks different than ALL the Prescotts I have seen from the looks of the Scroll and ff holes. Maybe it was made by his brother 'Thomas Prescott' which still makes it Prescott but not Abrahams work"...
    Just remember..'the truth will set you free'.. Who said that?
     
  8. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Left is Right

    Feb 26, 2005
    Blacksburg, Virginia
    I'd stick to the facts unless you are asked for an opinion. "It has a lot of features of early Americans, but I've never seen a Prescott with a scroll like that" is purely factual. You don't owe anyone your opinions (especially when you charge for them).
     
  9. uptonbass

    uptonbass Proprietor, Upton Bass String Instrument Co.

    Oct 8, 2002
    Mystic CT
    Founder UptonBass.com
    To set the record straight, when the bass came in the shop I made it clear to the owner that I did not belive it to be Prescott, Early American yes.

    However the owner did purchase this instrument as a Prescott in NYC :eyebrow:

    Ken, take a look at my new find...
    [​IMG]

    More here:http://www.stringrepair.com/db12.html
     
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Another old Yankeee I think. Also Prescott School to my eye as many but not all New England Basses are.
     
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Guys, pardon my asking, but what traits are you looking for when identifying it as an american make? Is it the overall shape?
     
  12. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Well, most that I have seen are copies of German and Tyrolean style Basses with the exception of the Scroll. They are reported to be from an early influence by Prescott of and olde English Scroll possibly a viola d'gamba. They are often long and thin. My Batchelder, Arnolds J.B.Allen and most Prescotts have these long narrow Peg Boxes. Almost elegant but not practicle for its usage. The Blockless style is also a copy from the Germans. English Gambas were sometimes made like this as well. Neck blocks and even corner blocks are absent in many 'quick' fiddles and Basses too.

    The Yankee Bass Varnish is often of a Shellac base and not Oil like the Europeans. The European Spirit Varnish differs as well as did the available chemicals to make it with on either side of the 'pond'.

    The FF holes of many Yankee Basses are either wide and stout or long and sweeping like in the Prescott Cello-Church Basses. Some of these Basses often look Tyrolean or Bohemian but the Scroll and FF holes usually show signs of New England.