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  #1  
Old 06-23-2016, 07:24 PM
Mike Weems Mike Weems is offline
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Default Is this French or German?

I had a customer bring this bass into my shop today and I told her that I would post pictures here and see if someone could help I D it. She purchased it from a thrift store for $10 dollars and had no idea what she had. It seems to have a number of French features like no exterior linings for instance. It dose have 4 back brasses but the sound post brace is narrower than I have seen. It is a full size monster string length being 43.5" or so. The top is edged with maple which looks original to the bass but its hard to tell. I'm sorry about the picture orientation on this post but I can't get them to stand up right.

Dimension
string length 43.5"
fstop 25"
back length 45 3/4"
rib depth at end block 9"
rib depth at back bend 9"
rib depth at neck 7 1/8"
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2016, 10:41 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Lightbulb French?

What kind of Shop do you have?

There is not a single part of that bass that is remotely French.

110% Germanic.
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Old 06-23-2016, 10:51 PM
Mike Weems Mike Weems is offline
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Default Thank you

I run a repair shop. Mostly violins thru Cellos and guitars. I do not get to see many vintage basses which is why I asked. Thank you for the information.
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Old 06-24-2016, 12:38 AM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Exclamation

Ok then. But, even bass shops mistake German for French at the slightest hint of a nicer bass or the thought of jacking the price!

Here are a few tips and things I have learned. I have not seen a single French made double bass from the late 18th century to the early 20th century with;

Outer Linings
Humped Shoulders into the neck heel
hat peg gears on plates or singles
metal gears on plates
angled flat back (*2 exceptions)
Purfling design under the back button
Violone/Viennese Scroll/Pegbox
Cornerless design (on basses)

The features listed above are mainly from the German/Bohemian/Austrian and other similar areas.

*The 2 exceptions are basses supposedly by Vuillaume who by the way contracted many things out. So I suspect they were supplied, possibly by his friend John Lott Jr. in London but, anything is possible. Just that the German traits are not part of the French mind-set. The English combined a few things themselves and some French and Germans did work in England as well. Pure born English makers look all English or Italian as they often tired to but some early basses from the 18th century as well as violins were more on the German patters like Stainer in violins or Mittenwald and Saxony/Berlin in basses. Immigrants to England, mainly London had some mixed flavors in their work, sometimes. Panormo brought Maggini modelling into the basses and Strad into the violins. Some English bass makers were more Germanic in style than Italian and some totally Italian or Italian/English. Confused yet?

I have seen so many basses sold by bass shops as French that were clearly NOT if they had one ounce of knowledge combined with 2 ounces of honestly. Or, they have no clue.

So, not being a bass shop by trade far excuses your error on the French connections you may have thought you suspected.
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Old 06-24-2016, 09:36 AM
Mike Weems Mike Weems is offline
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Default Thank you for being patient

I should have titled the post "unlabeled bass help Id". I have been a lutheir for the past 30plus years so I should have known better than to attempted to suggest an origin until received word from this form. Restoration and repair is quite a different animal than instrument identification. I violated my own rule "when in doubt it Germany". I know it must get quite tedious for you have to correct I D problems of this nature. Having written that thank you so much for the pointers and information of your previous post. As always that is invaluable to me. Rest assured that I would never sell an instrument as something that it's not. So the bass that I posted for the owner, is there an idea of when it might of been made?
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Old 06-24-2016, 01:41 PM
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Cool when?

Maybe early 20th century. Does it have a neck block? It might now but this is a shoulder design that is usually blockless at birth.

$10.? I would bet 99% chance this was stolen. I can't imagine a bass like this as a throwaway. I will give her $20, double her money. Pass it on.
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Old 06-24-2016, 02:09 PM
Mike Weems Mike Weems is offline
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Default Has ablock now

It dose look like the block is original construction or it was added a very long time ago. As far as being stolen actually it was donated to the "Safe Harbor House" thrift store. She works for this store. The original price was $20 dollars but she get a 50 percent discount. I plan to go into therapy over it. Thanks as always
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  #8  
Old 06-24-2016, 03:51 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Unhappy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Weems View Post
It dose look like the block is original construction or it was added a very long time ago. As far as being stolen actually it was donated to the "Safe Harbor House" thrift store. She works for this store. The original price was $20 dollars but she get a 50 percent discount. I plan to go into therapy over it. Thanks as always
OMG..
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  #9  
Old 06-24-2016, 04:18 PM
Mike Weems Mike Weems is offline
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Default yes in deed

My words exactly! Kind of like winning the lottery.
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Old 06-29-2016, 04:07 PM
John Cubbage John Cubbage is offline
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Default What a find!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Here are a few tips and things I have learned. I have not seen a single French made double bass from the late 18th century to the early 20th century with;

Outer Linings
Humped Shoulders into the neck heel
hat peg gears on plates or singles
metal gears on plates
angled flat back (*2 exceptions)
Purfling design under the back button
Violone/Viennese Scroll/Pegbox
Cornerless design (on basses)

The features listed above are mainly from the German/Bohemian/Austrian and other similar areas.

*The 2 exceptions are basses supposedly by Vuillaume who by the way contracted many things out. So I suspect they were supplied, possibly by his friend John Lott Jr. in London but, anything is possible. Just that the German traits are not part of the French mind-set. The English combined a few things themselves and some French and Germans did work in England as well. Pure born English makers look all English or Italian as they often tired to but some early basses from the 18th century as well as violins were more on the German patters like Stainer in violins or Mittenwald and Saxony/Berlin in basses. Immigrants to England, mainly London had some mixed flavors in their work, sometimes. Panormo brought Maggini modelling into the basses and Strad into the violins. Some English bass makers were more Germanic in style than Italian and some totally Italian or Italian/English.
I agree.

Wow! What a find! Can't beat the price. Maybe somebody died or skipped town who had no relatives, and the landlord sent some of the personal possessions to the thrift shop.

The blue tape is 21st Century American.

-Dr. C.
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