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Old 04-13-2015, 01:19 PM
Mike Drost Mike Drost is offline
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Default Help with my new Juzek..

Hello!

I purchased this bass in Grand Rapids recently. It used to be the property of the University of Illinois. I really like it and would like to see if anybody can help me gather information about the bass and date it.

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Upper Bout - 19"
Lower Bout - 25 1/2"
Bottom of Bass to Neck Block - 42 13/16"
Depth - 8 1/4" tapers to 7 1/4" at neck.
String Length - 42"

The label inside ready John Juzek, Formerly of Prague, Made in Germany. Pretty typical as I understand of the Juzek production basses of the time. I have read up on Ken Smith's forum and this forum, but haven't been able to get a general idea of the year it was made. It is fully carved, and was restored by Aaron Reiley in GR.
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:41 PM
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Ken Smith Ken Smith is offline
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Cool The Juzek's

Post war most likely from the machines and Varnish and Label. These makers that supplied Juzek and other Brands before the War worked on the German/Czech border between Saxony (Markneukirchen and surrounding towns) and Schonbach (now Luby, Czech Republic).

I know from a source that Robert Juzek (Metropolitan Music NY) helped finance and support the move of many of these workers after the War and made all new contracts with then, previously done by his brother Jan (John Juzek) over there.

The Wilfer's, Lang's and Hofner's all moved to Bavaria after the war. B.Lang II to Mittenwald and the former shops mentioned to Bubenreuth.

I mention Hofner because their basses look similar to the ones by Wilfer and Lang. I have seen in person basses by Anton Wilfer, Wenzel Wilfer and the firm of Emanuell Wilfer as well as Karl Hofner, Benedict Lang I of Shoenbach and several other unlabeled basses that could have been from any of them.

I think in the contract business, they supply from where ever they can get the instruments made regardless of the main shops that are known from making them. Outworkers and piece work was common there so there was no one person making anything most of the time excluding the few handmade instruments from the domestic business.

I have seen identical scrolls and buttons that were on completely different instruments, proving that they bought the necks from a supplier with a carving machine or good hands to make them the same each time, probably a combination of the two.

In 1966 I moved to NYC and visited Met. Music and saw the Juzek basses in stock there. I bought my first one at 15. Bobby Juzek sold it to me. His father Robert was in the office. In 1971 after visiting there many many times, I bought a 3/4 Wenzle Wilfer labeled bass (no Juzek label) and this was their Master Art model. Killer flamed wood to die for. It was the last one and they had it for years and years there. Bobby told me that his father said that they can't get these any more but I have seen similar basses from Wilfer sold in an old catalog by Vitali imports. Just because one supplier stops buying doesn't mean the maker stops making and selling.

Your bass is maybe from the Wilfer Shop, Lang shop or even Hofner shop if they made them as an OEM business to other makers. I have here in my shop an OLD plywood bass that has some faux flame showing under the throat of the neck, all else worn away and looks 100% the same as a post war Hofner neck I had here not long ago. This is a Schoenbach bass and I would bet by Hofner or Lang, c.1920s-30s. The Blume in the back is like a Juzek bass and I have seen that on old Lang basses. The Wilfer name is thrown out way too much on these Juzeks. They made from what I know the higher end models like the Master Arts models, maybe the lower figured Violin model and the Lang supplied the lower end models like (my guess) Gambas, maybe Violin models and the Plywoods. This info is directly from Juzek, told to me in 1980 at Frankfurt where Bobby J. also walked me over and introduced me to someone at the Wilfer booth, a current maker. I don't recall his actual name.

So for now, you have a post war Juzek bass c.1950s-1960s made in Germany.

As far as the origins of the earlier pre-war Basses by Juzek (and I feel I know more now than a few years ago), they were all made in and around the German border and NEVER made in Prague, NEVER. Juzek was FROM Prague but ALL the Basses were contracted. Juzek NEVER made a Bass, EVER.

Also, one shop in NYC that was a few blocks from Juzek would on occasion sell or trade THEM basses when they ran short for school orders so not all basses with Juzek labels IF put in by Juzek in NYC were made for them initially. Also, not all basses labeled Juzek were actual Juzek imported or labels basses at all. Just some bass a dealer threw a label into to sell it with a famous name.

In the Violin-Bass world of string instruments, more labels are false by far than are true. Your bass looks 100% correct.
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Old 04-13-2015, 02:56 PM
Mike Drost Mike Drost is offline
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Ken,

Wow! Thanks for the thorough answer. Out of curiosity, and with the full understanding that I don't intend selling the instrument, what would one pay for a bass like this? Total curiosity.

Thank you very much for your time and expertise.
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Old 04-13-2015, 03:14 PM
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Cool ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Drost View Post
Ken,

Wow! Thanks for the thorough answer. Out of curiosity, and with the full understanding that I don't intend selling the instrument, what would one pay for a bass like this? Total curiosity.

Thank you very much for your time and expertise.
One came up a few years ago for about $4-5k. That is about 10x what they were in the late 60s. I think in some areas and conditions they could easily go higher, pushed up in price by the Chinese and Romanian imports.
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Old 04-13-2015, 04:28 PM
Mike Drost Mike Drost is offline
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Thanks, Ken. This is very helpful. Have a wonderful week.
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