I have known this ca. 1860 Thibouville-Lamy 3/4 size violin-cornered carved back bass for nearly 40 years. In that time it has had a long and productive recording and performance career with noted jazz, folk, and classical soloist, Jim Kerwin. This instrument has been very well cared for and maintained regularly in that time by Allan Droyan and later with the Acoustic Bass Shop of South San Francisco. Originally a 3 string instrument built in the Paris, France Thibouville-Lamy shop, it was later converted to 4 string configuration with the addition of a tuning machine in the A string position. The wood selection is exceptionally nice throughout, with spruce top showing bold winter grain lines, very even grain with, and even some hazelfichte (bear claw figure) in the top. The very flame figured maple back, sides, and neck are very nicely matched for color, flame figure width, and density. There are just a few minor crack repairs in the corpus. The one repair in the neck, aside from a conservative neck reset, is the repair of a crack in the sides of the pegbox that is roughly between the A and D tuning machines. A lapped patch was inlaid on the outer surface of beach pegbox side, about 1/3 off the thickness of the pegbox walls. The tuning machines are well matched and turn easily. A pearl dot decoration has been inlaid in the center of each crown gear. A soloist fingerboard was fitted with inlaid dots at the 5th, octave, 5th, double octave, and 5th again for in-tune playing of Jim’s involved solo arrangements and compositions. The voice is quite strong and colorful with the current stringing of orchestra gauge Flexocore Deluxe strings.
The dimensions are:
Top length 43 1/8″ (109.5 cm), Upper bout width 19 3/4″ (50.2 cm), Middle bout width 14 1/2″ (36.8 cm), Lower bout width 26 1/4″ (66.7 cm), Rib depth at tail 8 3/8″ (21.3 cm), Rib depth at upper bout corner 7 7/8″ (20 cm), Rib depth at neck 7 3/8″ (18.7 cm), String length 41 3/4″ (106 cm). This bass has a voice that balances strength and projection with a lovely and colorful bel canto voice through all ranges. With custom Cronkite cover.