ca. 1850 London 3/4 flatback



This ca. 1850 English bass was built in one of the London area violin shops. It has been asserted by Thomas Martin and others that Charles Boullangier most likely performed the top plate work as an employee in that shop. The bass is very playable and resonant, strung for now with a set of Thomastik Bel Canto strings. The top plate features fairly bold grain lines and has complex tap tones. There are several professionally repaired top cracks. The maple ribs are in the violin form and show light flame figure. There are several older professional crack repairs to the ribs. The G side ribs have had heavy duty leather bumpers installed. The two piece flat back plate shows more flame figure than the ribs and there were repairs at the center line. The tap tones here are pleasing and musical. The upper bout crease is pronounced an cleanly executed. The scroll graft section of the neck has more pronounced flame figure than the pegbox or scroll. The somewhat heavy duty tuning machines are set on two half plates. The C extension was fabricated and installed by Pat McCarthy. The bridge stamp is light, but appears to read “Ronald Pearce”. The tailpiece has an old form and is in good repair. The heavy duty adjustable endpin has an ebony collar and brass parts. The endpin is 10 mm in diameter. The oil varnish finish has seen repairs over the years, but shows a red-orange over the golden ground. The dimensions are: Top length 42 5/8″ (108.3 cm), Upper bout width 20 1/8″ (51.1 cm), Middle bout width 14 3/4″ (37.5 cm), Lower bout width 26″ (66.0 cm), Length of back including button 44 5/8″ (113.3 cm), Rib depth at tail 8 1/2″ (21.6 cm), Rib depth at upper bout crease 8 1/8″ (20.6 cm), Rib depth at neck joint  6 1/2″ (16.5 cm), String length 40 1/16″ (101.8 cm). The voice is large for the string length and very pleasing in tone. This bass is very much a professional level instrument and was well known in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. With heavy duty padded cover.