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View Full Version : Auguste Sebastian Bernadel, 1858 ?


Martin Henkel
03-01-2007, 03:20 PM
Hello Ken,

a few years ago I bought an old french doublebass from a luthier in Bremen. The instrument was totally unrestored for 30 years, because the luthier was only interested in violins, violas and celli.
I found the bass in the basement of the workshop without the scroll, which appeared two days later.
The varnish was completely matt, so I could not see the beautiful color it had.
It had only one crack in the rib and was completely healthy. Only the patches on the center-joint of the back were replaced about 30 years ago.
When the bass was complete again, the sound was surprisingly beautiful and even.
The Bass has a label, which can be seen in the following posts.
My question is: What do you think about the origin of the instrument? (I read in another thread, that you once owned a Bernadel yourself)
I´m looking forward to your (or anybody else) answer!

Martin

Ken Smith
03-01-2007, 03:42 PM
Can I please see some pics of the back button by the neck/upper back area? I want to see the Purfling around the upper back. All the Bernardel Basses I have seen were of Violin form. That is a pretty famous maker and label to be in a gamba shaped Bass. Also the scroll has 4 German hatpeg gears. Never on a French Bass will you see those gears. German and French just don't mix. Most older French Basses were 3-strings as well. The shape of that pegbox is German in its curve and not like any French Scroll I have seen.

The Varnish is a beautiful color with hint of gold underneath. If this Bass is all original and French let alone Bernardel Pere' (the father) then I have just been re-educated.

My guess would be a nice German Bass from 1880-1900 with a Bernardel label, hence a copy but hey, anything is possible. I have seen Jacquet, Lamy and Barbe' Basses in Gamba form but never a Bernardel, sorry.

Martin Henkel
03-02-2007, 03:48 AM
Hello Ken,
thank you for answering to my question. Photos from the upper bottom of the bass will be made in short. Up to this moment I didn`t saw any Bernardel bass
in gamba shape too, but I`m no specialist in the manner of his way to built basses. A few weeks ago I asked Jan Knooren, bassmaker in the netherlands, what he thinks about the bass. His suggestion is, that the body is original, but he doesn`t think the scroll fits to the bass. It`s difficult to get photos of basses made by Auguste Bernardel to compare. I`m open to every suggestion belonging that bass. Martin :)

Ken Smith
03-02-2007, 04:03 AM
Hello Ken,
thank you for answering to my question. Photos from the upper bottom of the bass will be made in short. Up to this moment I didn`t saw any Bernardel bass
in gamba shape too, but I`m no specialist in the manner of his way to built basses. A few weeks ago I asked Jan Knooren, bassmaker in the netherlands, what he thinks about the bass. His suggestion is, that the body is original, but he doesn`t think the scroll fits to the bass. It`s difficult to get photos of basses made by Auguste Bernardel to compare. I`m open to every suggestion belonging that bass. Martin :)

There are two Basses in the Elgar Book attributed to Augeste Bernadel (aka Bernardel Pere') that look early French to me. I don't know 100% if those are Bernadel or not but they look very possible but one of them looks slightly German to me. I have started a new Thread here (http://www.smithbassforums.com/showthread.php?t=160) to address this German/French confusion so have a look when you can.

Anselm Hauke
03-02-2007, 09:51 AM
i know martins bass well. (guess who made the pics...:))

my opinions/thougts:

- i´m not sure about the scroll

- i have seen some mirecourt basses with hat peg tuners, but i think these ar not original

- i have never seen such a beautiful redwine-coloured varnish with a golden coat of varnish beneath on a german bass. you can´t see that on this pics, but maybe martin can post some more

- the bass is imho very fine and delicate made, that i´ve seldom seen in german basses of this age

- somewhere in the internet iirc i´ve seen a gamba-bernadel, but i can´t find the pic again

- aside from the label, i think this could be a french bass

Ken: could you please post the bernadel-pics from the elgar-book?

thanks alot

anselm hauke

Ken Smith
03-02-2007, 10:31 AM
Well, I agree that this Bass is a little mystery but the C-bouts do not look French to me at all. Either German or Bohemian actually. On the Varnish, how do you know the varnish is actually original? What if someone 20, 40, 60 or 80 years ago refinished it. Would you be able to tell? Also, not all Red over Gold = French! Have a look at my Martini (http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/martini_bass_2.htm) and tell me if that doesn't look similar in color as well.

The Bass is a nice looking Bass whatever it is and the Scroll is not easy to tell in Pics. I would need to have it here with a UV light and check the Varnish as compared to the Back to see if it matches. If the head is older than the possible re-finish, then it might match if it was completely stripped. If the Varnish on the Bass is original or if the Head's varnish is different under UV, then we know for sure it has been replaced. Many Basses have led a rough and tough life. Many of the types or Repairs and butchery that we have seen on some older Basses are not done much in todays world but there are some who just don't know any better so beware when having your Bass fixed by anyone other than a top class Bass luthier.

On the Elgar Pics, I can't post them for you sorry. On this Bass, I still want to see the back Button area and Purfling close-up if possible.

Anselm Hauke
03-04-2007, 03:36 PM
ken,
don´t you see any affinity between martins bass and the derazey i posted here?
thank you
anselm

Ken Smith
03-04-2007, 06:59 PM
That's a Derazey Bass above? The one I have seen looks like a Vuillaume except for the Varnish which is a greenish brown (for lack of a better description). It is a full 7/8 with Violin corners, Cello shape and button.

That Bass you posted does look French but is it supposed to be Justin or Honore' Derazey? What exactly does the Label say?

Anselm Hauke
03-04-2007, 07:17 PM
i found it here:
http://www.paris-contrebasses.com/pages/actualite2.htm

there a two "derazeys" on the page. scroll down to the second one

Anselm Hauke
03-06-2007, 10:32 AM
Can I please see some pics of the back button by the neck/upper back area? I want to see the Purfling around the upper back. All the Bernardel Basses I have seen were of Violin form. That is a pretty famous maker and label to be in a gamba shaped Bass. .

martin and i made some new pics, but can´t post them at the moment.
i´ll try again later.

in the meantime, here is a imho similar looking bass
http://perso.orange.fr./vcharbo/avendre.htm

Anselm Hauke
03-14-2007, 06:07 AM
finally here is a pic of the back/neck

Martin Henkel
03-20-2007, 01:28 PM
Hi Ken,
what do you think about the photo of the back and the purfling? You wanted to see it. And what do you say about the french bass in gamba shape, which is described to be in the style of Bernadel? Best wishes,Martin

Ken Smith
03-20-2007, 08:50 PM
they look more like Xavier Jacquet to me or at least in that style. More Miercourt than Paris.

Ken Smith
05-16-2007, 09:50 AM
Looking at these Basses once again and other Gamba style French Basses from 1800-1900, they look nearly the same to the naked eye regardless of the makers be it Pilliment, Gand, Bernardel, Jacquet, Derazey, Barbe and a few others I can't recall at the moment. Only close personal inspection inside and out would be a firm attribution if that. Remember that in France they had Guilds that had separate skills like Carving (Scrolls), Violin making (basic carcase/body) and finishing (varnish). Also, some firms did not make Basses at all but rather bought them from Bass specialists and placed their label inside if labeled at all. That's why the Scrolls and Varnishes look so alike within each period of instrument not to mention the basic outline.

Although I did mention that the Bernardel Basses pictured within look like Jacquet type Basses, it may very well be that the differences from makers or brands can only be seen by close inspection or internal viewing of the interior work that was done by the makers or firms and not by the outside Guilds.

This of course is just my opinion on this from what I have seen, read and heard. To date I have owned only two French Basses and that was back in the early-mid 1970s. One was called a Gustave Bernadel and the other attributed (and never disputed) to Barbe. The Barbe a large Gamba Flatback of fairly plain wood and the Bernardel a Violin-Cello outline with a Carved Roundback in highly figured maple. Neither of these Basses had labels but both were bought and sold as named!

ChrisTurner
03-09-2009, 07:07 AM
ken,
don´t you see any affinity between martins bass and the derazey i posted here?
thank you
anselm


Hi i was wondering if you could post a picture of the other side of the scroll it looks like your tunining machine for the d string is on backwards - like mine in the xavier jacquet section

Anselm Hauke
03-09-2009, 08:05 AM
Hi i was wondering if you could post a picture of the other side of the scroll it looks like your tunining machine for the d string is on backwards - like mine in the xavier jacquet section

do you mean martins bass or the derazey?

Anselm Hauke
03-09-2009, 08:25 AM
do you want this?

Ken Smith
03-09-2009, 09:26 AM
do you want this?

That's a French Scroll? With those German tuners? They look original to the Scroll. I highly doubt that is French. If the Bass is confirmed French then do a UV light test on the bass comparing the Scroll to the Back and Ribs.

Anselm Hauke
03-09-2009, 10:33 AM
That's a French Scroll? With those German tuners? They look original to the Scroll. I highly doubt that is French. If the Bass is confirmed French then do a UV light test on the bass comparing the Scroll to the Back and Ribs.

ken, please read the whole thread...

he wanted a pic of the scroll, he got it

Ken Smith
03-09-2009, 11:26 AM
ken, please read the whole thread...

he wanted a pic of the scroll, he got it

I think this is the one he was asking about;

http://www.smithbassforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=79&d=1173040283

He wanted a picture of the other side of this Scroll/pegbox to look at the D-string tuner mounting to compare to his French bass..

Anselm Hauke
03-09-2009, 12:25 PM
do you mean martins bass or the derazey?

hmm, i was not sure what bass he meant...

ChrisTurner
03-09-2009, 05:17 PM
Hi guys

Ken was right in his last post

Also i am uploading photos in to the forum of my bass in the other section sorry it was zipped previously

nicolas leley
12-19-2009, 01:45 PM
this is an auguste sebastien bernadel 1848 in the cité de la musique * paris

nicolas leley
12-19-2009, 01:47 PM
and this one: gustave bernardel 1860

Ken Smith
12-19-2009, 04:55 PM
I think this is the one he was asking about;

http://www.smithbassforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=79&d=1173040283

He wanted a picture of the other side of this Scroll/pegbox to look at the D-string tuner mounting to compare to his French bass..

The bass above with that wide wavy grain is typical for the Jacquet family. What is this bass above called or labeled as again?

The raised outer lip on the back is typical Jacquet as well. The Pegbox on the bass side looks like it was converted from 3 to 4 string.

Ken Smith
12-19-2009, 05:05 PM
The 1860 S. Bernardel looks twice as old as the 1848 Bernardel Pere'. Why or how is that? Has the 1848 been kept in a glass case all of its life? It looks barely played..