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  #1  
Old 09-02-2020, 05:56 PM
Sebastian Nordstrom Sebastian Nordstrom is offline
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Default 1840s bass, cut down shoulders

Hello

In my hunt to find a nicer bass, I've come across this bass.
Sorry for crappy pictures, I was in a hurry.

Italian 1840something, and I think maybe from Bergamo (?).
Neck+scroll are newer and obviously also varnish.
The shoulders have been cut down at some point, quite a lot.
When it was supposed to be restored the first time since the current owner got it, the luthier suddenly shut down his business and moved away. Bass was left in a taken-apart state...and the label left with the luthier. The owner however remembers name, year and town...which I don't at the moment!
It is now assembled again, and properly reinforced from the inside.

Nice sounding intrument. I was a little surprised, because wood isn't as pretty as other basses I've seen. There are a couple of knots and I think back and ribs are slab cut.

I'm curious; when these cut-down basses are restored, is the purfling then usually left in the original, cut state? I guess it would be possible to fill in the old, remaning channels and route for new ones where there are none at the moment. So that it looks original or at least prettier. But maybe this is inapropriate?
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  #2  
Old 09-02-2020, 06:10 PM
Sebastian Nordstrom Sebastian Nordstrom is offline
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some more pictures
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  #3  
Old 09-02-2020, 06:38 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Exclamation Italian? 1840?

I don't know what this is but looks home-made and after 1900. Not every odd looking sloppy made bass is Italian. Good makers make nice instruments, form any country. Carpenters and Farmers needing money on slow seasons make basses. I have seen basses that were cut down 'faked'. Not cut and made too look as if it was cut.

You might be buying a problem here. Buy an honest instrument. Not a mystery.

I didn't see the scroll or pegbox or rear of it but this looks like a bass that would fall away as you try playing it. Nothing to hug your body with.
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Old 09-02-2020, 07:50 PM
Sebastian Nordstrom Sebastian Nordstrom is offline
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Hi Ken

The idea of when/where this bass is from is not something that I've come up with myself, this is information from the owner. Maybe this was unclear in my first post.
I have trialed it for some days but returned it today. It does sound nice but I think maybe to 'small' for orchestral playing. Also, I think this would probably cost more than what I can pay. The owner is a player, not a dealer, and I don't have any trust issues with him. With that said, I guess origins and authenticity is something that is always up for debate and tricky to determine, when it comes to older basses.

What I now was interested in, was how the restoration of cut basses is usually tackled and where (or if) to draw a line between restoration and rebuild. Perhaps I should have posted this in the luthier department instead, sorry.
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Old 09-02-2020, 11:01 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Most players know what they were told or what the want to believe regardless of what is true. It doesn't have anything to do with trust. It's just what they think they know. On the size, I agree but basses today are rarely cut-down as it is expensive to do and not many can do it will. These were done mostly south of 100 years ago with few exceptions. Availability is better now for finding basses plus we have so many good builder of new basses that will be tomorrows great basses. Also, restoring, correcting and re-graduating thick tops etc. have helps take average basses and turn them into professional orchestra basses for some..
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