This lightweight ca. 1890 3/4 German flatback bass started out life as a three string instrument when it was purchased for the Royal Marine Band. A fourth string was added later with the installation of a Baker style tuning machine. Later on this bass served a long time as a jazz instrument, having been owned by the bassist for the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Rick Laird. As happened to a lot of old lightly built flatback basses in Boston or New York City 100 years or so ago, the back was replaced with plywood. The lower bout sides appear to have been replaced as well. This bass is very responsive to a light touch with Spirocore which strings. It is an excellent professional lever jazz instrument and would also function quite well as a light tension Arco bass. Recently Allan Droyan repaired a few cracks, including one from the rough installation of the Baker tuning machine and finish work was done to repair the pegbox and scroll. Jeff Sahs performed a thorough finish cleaning, French polish, and setup for light setup jazz. This is a very rewarding bass to play!
Top length 42″, Upper bout width 19 5/8″, Middle bout width 13 5/8″, Lower bout width 24 1/2″, Rib depth at tail 8 1/4″, Rib depth at upper bout corner 7 3/4″, Rib depth at neck 5 3/4″, Length of back 44″, String length 42 5/8″.
This bass has a rich dark voice with light gauge stringing. Currently the nearly new Spirocore weich strings bring a lively and complex balance in the upper midrange. I love the “old soul” voice of this instrument for traditional style jazz. With cover.