This ca. 1875 French 7/8 carved back was last purchased in 1952 by an orchestral player who used it in various orchestras until a stroke ended his playing career. Sometime in the 1920s or 1930s an eastern european 5 string neck was fitted and it was played as a 5 string bass all through this player’s career. I felt that the load to the top was too much with 5 strings, so a new neck was made by the most senior member of our allied luthier team. The materials used in this instrument are very high quality, including an even grained fault-free spruce top and beautifully flame figured european maple back and sides. The replacement neck was fashioned from aged flame figure european maple. The german brass halfplate tuning machines are from about 1900. Ebony fittings, including a 4/4 length fingerboard. ULSA 10 mm steel rod endpin with ebony collar and brass parts. French maple bridge with added adjusters. A 1 1/2″ tailpiece saddle extension was added recently and the voice is much more free and alive now. A wonderful sounding orchestral bass. Dark wine-red oil varnish.
Top length 43 3/8″ (110.1 cm), Upper bout width 21 1/2″ (54.6 cm), Middle bout width 14 3/4″ (37.5 cm), Lower width 26 5/8″ (67.6 cm), Depth at tail 8 7/8″ (22.5 cm), Depth at upper bout corner 7 3/4″ (19.7 cm), Depth at neck 6 7/8″ (17.5 cm), String length 42 1/2″ (108 cm).
The high shoulders from the adopted cello shape gives the top a large rectangular shape that developed a a profound presence and great penetrating quality to the voice. Our senior luthier regraduated the top and slightly modified the shape of the bass bar to give more of an italian voice quality to the orchestral tone. This bass has a very pleasing and tonally complex quality throughout the playable range. A fine performance instrument that has proven to be a huge presence in a section now that it has had a Jason Brown 4 capo C extension fitted (not yet shown in photos). With cover.