ca. 1900 German (Roth?) 7/8 carved back w/ Jason Brown C extension



photo-75 1938 band photo photo-76 “Pee Wee” mid-1930s publicity photo


Like a schoolboy would, Pee Wee carved his name into the G side near the neck joint!

This ca. 1900 German 7/8 carved back features beautiful woods and a very large, projective voice with a very playable string length of 41 7/8″ (106.3 cm). The top is made from even and straight grain European spruce. The back and sides are made from moderately flame figured German maple and the neck is fashioned from heavily flame figured German Maple. The original single unit tuning machines have been well maintained and turn freely with little wear. The African ebony nut, fingerboard, tailpiece saddle, and German style bridge are all well made replacements from aged wood and manufactured in Germany. The bridge has been made without adjusters and was set up with professional level orchestral play in mind. The tailpiece wire is attached separately from the German made endpin, which can easily be switched out for tone modification in different settings. The old original dark red-brown varnish over a golden ground has seen much repair over the decades and has the attractive air of much experience. The recently added Jason Brown C extension has brought this bass to full orchestral function. The bass is currently strung with Flexocore 92 orchestral strings. DIMENSIONS are: Top length 44 1/8″ (112.1 cm), Upper bout width 20″ (50.8 cm), Middle bout width 15 3/8″ (39.1 cm), Lower bout width 27 1/4″ (69.2 cm), Depth at tail 9″ (22/9 cm), Depth at upper bout bend 8 3/4″ (22.2 cm), Depth at neck 6 1/2″ (16.5 cm), String length 41 7/8″ (106.3 cm).

This bass had an early career in the 1930s-1950s as a country show band instrument played by a short fellow, “Pee Wee”, in Oakland, California. Since Pee Wee’s retirement, the battered instrument stood in the living rooms of the next two generations of family as a monument to Pee Wee until and out of state move last year. Old repairs had to be redone more professionally and the top got a very light regraduation and bass bar recontouring. The original 4 tuning machines work quite well and date from the original build date, ca. 1890-1910 time period. Lots of internal cleating was replaced and small sections of lower bout replacement had to be reglued and cleated. The top only had a few repaired cracks, but required extensive re-edging. The 4″ section of back at the edge of the G side  lower bout had been replaced in the 1920s or 1930s. The neck was reset and the overstand increased to 34 mm. All totaled, the extensive restoration took 13 months and a king’s ransom, but it was all worth it to produce the high performance orchestral instrument that we have now. The voice is very projective and has a large, dark traditional arco performance voice. With a roomy cover that accommodates the Jason Brown C extension.