This lovely consignment ca. 1820 Joseph Baldantoni 3/4 carved back is a fine example of early 19th century Italian doublebass conception and workmanship. The voice is very lush and complex in the midrange, due to the light build and low arching of the top and back plates. The top is a two piece plate of quartered European Spruce. The back and sides are matched sections of slab cut mildly flame figured European Maple. The European Maple neck has been grafted to the original pegbox and scroll. The original neck block and mortise have been modified from the original longer, more slender shape. A similar ca. 1850 Baldantoni family instrument demonstrating the original shape is shown in the wonderful “Italian Doublebasses” website by Sergio Scaramelli. The original configuration of the slender mortise area had about 1″ – 1.5″ of extra height above the wider area of the top of the upper bout compared to the current form. I suspect that a neck insertion area injury prompted this design modification to a more solid area of neck attachment. The tuning machines and plates are believed to be original to this instrument, being very similar those found on the previously mentioned ca. 1850 Baldantoni bass. The C extension, with four gorgeous snakewood gates, was made by Robertson & Sons Violins of Albuquerque. The fingerboard has an extended upper playing length area for D and G strings. The bridge with adjusters was also made By Robertson Violins. The tailpiece was made by Mike Pecanic. The adjustable endpin appears to be one made by New Harmony.
Top length 41″ (104.1 cm), Upper bout width 19 7/8″ (50.5 cm), Middle bout width 13 3/4″ (34.9 cm), Lower bout width 25 1/4″ (64.1 cm), Depth at tail 7 1/8″ (18.1), Depth at upper bout “corner” 6 1/2″ (16.5 cm), Depth at neck joint 6″ (15.2 cm), String length 41 1/2″ (105.4 cm).
The top has a few repaired cracks, mostly at the upper and lower bout edges. The sides also have had a few well attended crack repairs. The back shows more crack repairs and rebuilding of the area in the neck block region. This bass responds quickly and great depth and tonal complexity. A very fine professional level instrument with a splendidly lovely voice. With an older custom heavy duty cover.