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  #21  
Old 08-06-2007, 06:42 PM
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Lightbulb More on the French..

I searched the Web for some Barbe basses and found these two of them. here they are along with my Bass for comparison;

(Barbe1/Mystery Bass)


(Barbe2/Mystery Bass)


(The Trio)


Your thoughts please?
  #22  
Old 08-06-2007, 08:23 PM
Charles Federle Charles Federle is offline
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This bass is a mystery, my instinct tells me French, the body shape strongly seems French to me, but the F- holes really make it unusual. I think that I would really like to see it up close, mostly for the scroll and purfling. A friend of mine just picked a bass similar to this, in that it also has characteristics of English and French bass. The dealer was saying it was a English bass made for the French market. When I play it though and looked a bit closer it just seemed like it had to be French. Seems you might have a mystery on your hands similar to mine. Here is an Xavier Jacquet, his basses are also very similar to Barbe's, I have even compared two and they were identical almost.

http://www.worldofbasses.de/Instrume...Pillement.html

They are different, but similar in some ways as well. Granted it could just be my eyes and digital pictures not agreeing well. Right now, just by what I can see of the purfling I think this bass might be just at the turn of the 19th century or earlier.

  #23  
Old 08-06-2007, 10:16 PM
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Cool scroll and purfling?

Are you talking about my Bass or your friends Bass? Mine has only Purfling on the top, wide Purfling. The Back has only a hint of paint. The Maple Scroll, although varnished over in dark red is most likely original to the Bass as it matches in character as well. It was a 3-string and then a 4-string.

I would like to see your friends Bass as well if possible..
  #24  
Old 08-08-2007, 12:04 AM
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It is definitely similar to the Barbe basses Ken, but not the f's. It is also a bit stouter to my eye. The Barbe basses look narrower. The French maker in England or English maker in France does seem plausible. I was trying to think of why a French maker might wind up in England and then I remembered "A Tale of Two Cities". If the bass is from the late 18th century, the maker may have been a noble expatriate. I have no idea how one could get beyond the theory to a list of noble expatriates, but the French royalty must have had luthiers in employ if not in the royal family. Those were strange times for many of the French bourgeoisie. Many did leave France if they were affiliated with the royals. Perhaps the maker was wealthy and successful and felt the need to vacate. Do you think that was the period that the bass might have been made?
  #25  
Old 08-08-2007, 02:59 AM
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Arrow French makers in England....

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Powell View Post
It is definitely similar to the Barbe basses Ken, but not the f's. It is also a bit stouter to my eye. The Barbe basses look narrower. The French maker in England or English maker in France does seem plausible. I was trying to think of why a French maker might wind up in England and then I remembered "A Tale of Two Cities". If the bass is from the late 18th century, the maker may have been a noble expatriate. I have no idea how one could get beyond the theory to a list of noble expatriates, but the French royalty must have had luthiers in employ if not in the royal family. Those were strange times for many of the French bourgeoisie. Many did leave France if they were affiliated with the royals. Perhaps the maker was wealthy and successful and felt the need to vacate. Do you think that was the period that the bass might have been made?
Folks, there is very clear and documented history in the early/mid 19th century of several French Luthiers working and moving to England but very few moving 'to' France. I will try to list a few for this reference only but this Bass may easily date from an earlier period. It will show however the movement between the two countries.

Here is a short list of the French working in or moving to England;
G.A. Chanot III from Paris (and the Chanot family of makers. 7 listed in my records into the 20th century.)
Chas. Boullangier (worked for Edward Withers)
Chas. Maucotel (worked for Edward Withers)
Vincent Panormo of Italian dissent worked in Paris and then settled in London. He was back and forth a few times Paris-Dublin-London-Paris-London until he finally just stayed in London.
Bernhard Fendt Sr. was apprenticed to his uncle Francois Fent (French spelling) and remained in Paris until sometime after his death and in 1798 moved to London. The Fendts became one of the best family of makers London had ever seen ranking with makers like the Lott's (Lott Sr. trained by Fendt), Panormo's, Hill's, Forster's, Gilkes, Kennedy's and maybe a few more.

England to France;
The 2 sons of George Withers trained in Mirecourt and returned to work in Soho.
George Hart (I and/or II, son and grandson of John Hart), trained in Mirecourt and employed both French and English workman at 'Hart & Sons'.
'Jack' Lott (J.F. Lott jr.) was a good friend of J.B. Vuillaume and went back and forth for dealings in Paris and was Vuillaume's personal translator whenever he would visit London as he also spoke fluent French.

Paris and London were the two main centers for old Italian Violins in the world. John Hart of London and George Chanot I of Paris were the two best judges of old Italian fiddles in the early/mid 19th century. George Hart would follow in his fathers footsteps.

In some of my Books of British makers, the Frenchmen are not listed at all but rather mentioned only briefly under the Names/Shops they worked in. If I find any more names, I will add them to the list as well as any additional information of interest about the names already listed that worked in both England and France.
  #26  
Old 08-08-2007, 03:09 AM
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Arrow Close to Barbe?

My point for showing pics is to see the similarities as well as differences. Here are 3 Basses side by side. One is English (Corsby), one ??, and one French (Barbe). You can see that between the 'known' English and French Basses shown there are some similarities. The Mystery Bass is a bit in the middle and then some!



Now, have a look at the Mystery Bass between the Barbe (19th century) and the LeJeune (18th century) Basses;



(Sorry for the size differences. It's the best I can do pulling them from other websites with my limited web skills)..

So, how do they compare now?
  #27  
Old 08-08-2007, 03:21 AM
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Cool also..

Just for fun, someone with some web skills take my Top and Back and photoshop in some Violin Corners on my Bass and post it. Then, tell me what it looks like. Imagine a police sketch artist adding a mustache, beard or glasses to a face to see what the person might look like as compared to without any of those features. Adding Violin Corners makes the Bass look completely different. The focus of my eye here at home when drawing it takes me away from the shoulders and more to the overall form. The upper bout easily converts with the points added but the softer lower bouts come out kinda pointy when changing the form. Just another something to have some fun with.
  #28  
Old 08-12-2007, 12:57 AM
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Question Similar or not?

I am having another look at this Bass as compared to mine. The Backs looks closer to each other than the Tops but it may be the FFs that are throwing me off. What do you guys think?



  #29  
Old 08-20-2007, 10:16 AM
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About the only big difference that strikes me is the narrower waist on the other bass. It is a very similar outline and f's aren't that different. Bout proportions are somewhat different.
  #30  
Old 08-20-2007, 11:03 AM
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Cool looks...

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Powell View Post
About the only big difference that strikes me is the narrower waist on the other bass. It is a very similar outline and f's aren't that different. Bout proportions are somewhat different.
The general outline is a bit similar. The slightly softer lower corners are what got my attention. Still, my Bass may be French and not English. Looking at the two Backs, mine seems to have seen more action and at least as old. The Bass next to it is listed as a Joseph Hill, London c.1765.
  #31  
Old 08-21-2007, 01:14 AM
Brian Glassman Brian Glassman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
The general outline is a bit similar. The slightly softer lower corners are what got my attention. Still, my Bass may be French and not English. Looking at the two Backs, mine seems to have seen more action and at least as old. The Bass next to it is listed as a Joseph Hill, London c.1765.

Yes, earlier in the thread I have made this comparison as well.The backs are very similar as are the soft lower bout corners. It may be just the photo, but the Hill bass top shape seems a bit more asymmetrical and "amorphous".

It's the most similar we've discussed, but even so, the shape of your bass still seems to have more of a French feel.

BG
  #32  
Old 12-17-2007, 05:38 AM
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Question Just a thought...

Back on the ID trail here again it got me thinking about the history of France and England back 200 years ago. Could this Bass be the result of another chapter of "A Tale of Two Cities"?

With both French and English work showing, there is definitely some connection here between the two countries if not broader scoped than just Paris and London.

Last edited by Ken Smith; 12-18-2007 at 02:59 AM. Reason: added thought
  #33  
Old 12-18-2007, 05:13 PM
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Lightbulb slight update..

I spoke with Biase today about the Bass as he is getting ready to remove the old Neck from the Block and do the Block/Cut work and measure things up once again before doing the Neck graft. As we can't follow any of the old dimensions, shortening the String length requires precision measurements all around including the Graft length, Heel stop etc.

I mentioned to him as we have been discussing the possible French connection here and said "so I am thinking this is probably 18th century French then huh?". Paul replied "no, I don't see anything French here. The Bass is not heavy enough to be French. Let's just go with English then, ok?".

This was basically our conversation a few minutes ago on the phone. Paul has had the Bass apart for just over 3 years and has worked on every inch of the Bass. No one else other than Paul has seen the inside of the Bass other than when I brought Jeff Bollbach over there to meet Paul and show him the Lion. At that time, only the Ribs were viewable as the plates were away in the other room in storage for the summer.

So, French styling we see, at least to some degree but the wood and work all seems to be English. No less than 5 English Dealers/Makers have told me the Bass is English but can't pin a maker on it. Most think it is Northern England c.1850ish. I ask, please show me another example of any Bass from that period or region or combined if possible and I will buy the later Northern theory.
  #34  
Old 01-22-2008, 06:32 PM
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Lightbulb Possible Hill conncetion?

As I have mentioned previously while discussing the early London makers, the Hill's were at the top of the list then in making Basses.

Yesterday I photographed a beautiful Lockey Hill Bass c.1780s. Although this is a completely different model from my Mystery Bass, the look of the Back and Rib wood as well as the Varnish bore similarities.

Have a look for yourself and let me know what you think. .







The wood figuring is not so visible on the Hill pics and only barely visible on the Mystery Bass pics but it's the same type of flame figuring on both Basses. The Varnishes on both also show some red mixed with the gold which has faded in some areas on both Basses.
  #35  
Old 01-23-2008, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Have a look for yourself and let me know what you think.
Well ... I think they both look like nice basses, but each one is only about 6" tall, making it a bit hard to see any other similarity.

But the plywood in the background looks almost identical, even though the colour is slightly different
  #36  
Old 01-23-2008, 01:00 PM
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Question Which TP to use??



The 3-string Tailpiece (black stained Maple) shown was with the Bass when I acquired it. Although it is at least 150 years old I don't know if it is original to the Bass. The wear on the center 3-string hole shows that it was used as a 3-string for at least as long it was a 4-string. By the repairs and Gears I found on the Bass I would say it was a 4-string for well over 100 years. The new TP in Cocobolo made for this Bass by MPM may be put aside for use on another Bass in the future. I have 5 other classic Basses that have non-Ebony Tailpieces (stained black) and they each sound wonderful. I think this old 3-string TP will be more fitting than the new Compensating Pecanic TP. The 'Mojo' is something you just can't buy! The weight is another factor. The old 3-string weighs about 7.4oz (210gr) and the Cocobolo TP weighs 11.4oz (322gr). The lighter stained Maple actually sounds much deeper than the Cocobolo TP and has a slower decay to the tap tone (longer sustain) and the Cocobolo does not ring as much as the 3-stringer.

If you have an opinion either way, please let us know.
  #37  
Old 01-23-2008, 03:11 PM
Eric Hochberg Eric Hochberg is offline
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In with the old, out with the new. From your description, the old sounds better, too. It's also more in character with the instrument visually, which I prefer.
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  #38  
Old 01-23-2008, 04:06 PM
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Wink visually in character..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Hochberg View Post
In with the old, out with the new. From your description, the old sounds better, too. It's also more in character with the instrument visually, which I prefer.
Well, if this helps at all, here's a body and TP shot side by side to compare (not to scale).

  #39  
Old 01-24-2008, 01:55 AM
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You know, I really like the Pecanic TP and I am in general a big fan of these. However, I lean a bit toward the older one for this bass. For one thing, you will have a nice ebony FB and it looks good when the two match color wise. Secondly, the Pecanic might stand out too much as being new. The old TP has a lot of character and that goes with the bass better. I wouldn't say old is always better, but here, I'm thinking maybe so.

I also see a really strong similarity in the varnish of the MB and the Hill bass.
  #40  
Old 01-24-2008, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Powell View Post
I also see a really strong similarity in the varnish of the MB and the Hill bass.
Can you explain to me what you see as similar, except that it's a shade of orange and worn in spots? I'm not being facetious; I just can't understand how anyone can see a strong similarity - inferring I suppose that it could be in fact the same varnish - from two small photos taken in different light?? Educate me.
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