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Old 05-04-2014, 12:01 PM
Brennen Keene Brennen Keene is offline
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Default Markneukirchen Bass?

We recently acquired a bass for my daughter that is not labeled. Pictures of the bass can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/122881...7643759919385/

We took the bass to a luthier (name withheld to protect the innocent just in case others disagree), and he advised that he believes that the bass was made in Markneukirchen between 1900 and 1920. The tuners appear to be the original to the instrument. The measurements are as follows: 20.5" upper bout; 15" at the C bouts; 27" lower bout; 42" string length. If anyone has any thoughts about the luthier's identification, I would appreciate the feedback.

The seller (a professional bassist and bass dealer) advised us that the last three owners of the bass prior to him were bassists in the Richmond, Baltimore and Pittsburgh symphonies, respectively. From my daughter's (and her teacher's) perspective, the bass is by far the best instrument that she tried (and she tried out a number) that was within our budget, so we are happy with the purchase. Going forward, I would like to know what I should do to ensure that we have done our best to document the value of the bass (both for insurance purposes and future resale). I know that we should get an appraisal, but I don't know who I should go to for the appraisal. Does anyone have any advice on how to find the right luthier to do the appraisal? It is entirely possible that the luthier who inspected the instrument for us could be the right person, but I don't know how to gauge his qualifications or the qualifications of any luthier, so any advice that you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-04-2014, 02:59 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Originally Posted by Brennen Keene View Post
We recently acquired a bass for my daughter that is not labeled. Pictures of the bass can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/122881...7643759919385/

We took the bass to a luthier (name withheld to protect the innocent just in case others disagree), and he advised that he believes that the bass was made in Markneukirchen between 1900 and 1920. The tuners appear to be the original to the instrument. The measurements are as follows: 20.5" upper bout; 15" at the C bouts; 27" lower bout; 42" string length. If anyone has any thoughts about the luthier's identification, I would appreciate the feedback.

The seller (a professional bassist and bass dealer) advised us that the last three owners of the bass prior to him were bassists in the Richmond, Baltimore and Pittsburgh symphonies, respectively. From my daughter's (and her teacher's) perspective, the bass is by far the best instrument that she tried (and she tried out a number) that was within our budget, so we are happy with the purchase. Going forward, I would like to know what I should do to ensure that we have done our best to document the value of the bass (both for insurance purposes and future resale). I know that we should get an appraisal, but I don't know who I should go to for the appraisal. Does anyone have any advice on how to find the right luthier to do the appraisal? It is entirely possible that the luthier who inspected the instrument for us could be the right person, but I don't know how to gauge his qualifications or the qualifications of any luthier, so any advice that you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
I would agree that the Bass is from the Saxon/Bohemian region. Without personally examining the bass I can't confirm more than that. There were 1000s of basses made like this by various shops and even out-workers within the cottage industry that was in place there for centuries.

This is not a bass that is easy to pin a name on as a maker of even a shop unless you find at least one other that is 100% the same with a confirmed matching label. Even those with labels and brands, we do not have any guarantee that those names were the makers. Most often, basses were made by bass specialty shops and sold to other shops for branding or for export to get a fictitious name in it by the importer/wholesaler to market in USA or the UK in some instances.

For value, this is best done one on one with a knowledgeable bass seller, connected or not to the bass. I recently sold a fairly valuable bass and wrote an appraisal for his loan company. I also offered to supply one from another dealer than knew the exact bass to have a second opinion to mine as I was the actual seller. Of course though, his opinion is about the same as mine. Appraisals are more often for insurance purposes than for re-sale. If the bass went on the market and sold instantly for a price, then that is a good indication the price was right. Maybe they could have sold it several times over at that price. IF though however the bass sits a long time till sold, then possibly it is not the best market price as it took so long to sell. The price for a bass today can be more or less even tomorrow depending on market conditions. For this reason, I sometimes put either a range of value depending on market conditions like $50-60k or.. put the listed price regardless of the possible lower sale price as the value for insurance.

Appraisals are just that, an opinion and usually it is to make the buyer happy about their purchase to keep the price high. Just don't confuse that with what you can sell if for tomorrow.
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Old 05-05-2014, 09:44 AM
Brennen Keene Brennen Keene is offline
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Thanks for the feedback and the information. This bass had not been offered for sale in more than five years because the seller (even though he is a dealer) had kept the bass for his use in performances from time to time. My daughter was the first person to whom he had offered to sell the instrument, so we don't know how long it would have lasted on the market. (I know that that sounds like a too-good-to-be-true story, but I was able to verify it).

I'll talk with my insurance company to make sure that we know what they will require in terms of an appraisal. This bass (hopefully) will be my daughter's instrument for the next 5+ years, so I want to make sure we insure it for the proper amount.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-05-2014, 01:03 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Originally Posted by Brennen Keene View Post
Thanks for the feedback and the information. This bass had not been offered for sale in more than five years because the seller (even though he is a dealer) had kept the bass for his use in performances from time to time. My daughter was the first person to whom he had offered to sell the instrument, so we don't know how long it would have lasted on the market. (I know that that sounds like a too-good-to-be-true story, but I was able to verify it).

I'll talk with my insurance company to make sure that we know what they will require in terms of an appraisal. This bass (hopefully) will be my daughter's instrument for the next 5+ years, so I want to make sure we insure it for the proper amount.

Thanks again.
I suggest you keep all price information private and off all public forums. If you like, you can message me here, email me or call me. As far as her having the bass for 5 years or so, that will depend on her progress or will to continue, the grade of the bass vs her needs or of if she lands a good job and wants to get a higher grade bass than this. Call me if you like.
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