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Old 01-10-2009, 05:28 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
Bassist, Luthier & Admin
Join Date: 01-18-2007
Location: Perkasie, PA
Posts: 5,058
Ken Smith is on a distinguished road
Cool on that Scroll..

I saw earlier the masterful Scroll that Jeff made to fit the 'headless' Bass. I didn't really know Jeff in person back then. When I finally saw it on the other website a year or so later I ran back to Jeff's web and realized that my eyes were not tricking me. It was the same exact Scroll and Bass.

Now, I never saw that Bass in person or the new antiqued Scroll that Jeff made for it. The dealer however that was brokering the Bass did. When I discussed the Bass with Jeff afterwards, he mentioned something that he did that only he and whomever that would examine the Scroll close up would know or find.

Many old Basses from Italy and England often have 'worm' damage. Jeff thought it a good idea to fake some worm holes to make the Scroll more convincing. What he also did was to use a small rattail file to 'dress' the inside of the holes (or something like that but Jeff can correct me). The Rattail file will leave some small file marks 'inside' the worm holes. A close probably magnified inspection would reveal that the worm holes were man-made, not worm-made. That was the ingenious but I would say 'honest' effort Jeff put forth. Those file marks could have been smoothed out and/or distorted to hide the man-made fact and make the Scroll even more convincing even if closely inspected.

Like all the rest of the Scams in the world today we see daily. The Basses as Jeff describes are on the 'menu' for those that want to play that game.

The Bisiach that Jeff mentioned was according to him, a well made Bass and not something you see made everyday. I recently played a later 1946 Martini Bass and I would say that the Bisiach was actually a better sounding and playing Bass. The Martini however being authentic is worth twice the price. My Martini being maybe the oldest example of a Bass from that maker far exceeds the latter Bass as well in performance as well as value. I was happy to have the chance to see and compare an early and late Bass from the same Italian maker. Mine was made just after WWI and the other just after WWII. You can't say that every day of the week now can you?

I bought the Martini from an Italian Dealer as I did the Bisiach as well. One was really Italian and one was really not but was a great Bass regardless. Many of the actual fakes (not just antiqued Gypsy Basses) we have seen have been pretty good Basses. One authority mentioned to me that these Basses if properly labeled would fetch the going rate as many of the better handmade Basses made honestly like those we have seen from makers like Jeff, Arnold, Nick and others. Antiquing a Bass as well as some of them are is no easy task. You might as well do it on a good Bass to make the effort pay off. No one wants a junk Bass just because it looks old. Good is good, antiqued or not. First come the Bass after all.

I have seen (and owned) quite a few antiqued Basses now. Some of them were antiqued to add some old flavor character and some were done up to deceive. The wood inside the deceptive Gypsy Basses are often Acid-washed internally over the fresh new wood. This makes it look naturally oxidized until you scrape some wood away or remove a patch or piece of lining. Then you see this bleach white colored wood revealed like it was cut yesterday. If the Bass is older, then the bright color will fade but the Acid might actually protect the wood or rather prevent it from natural oxidation.
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