French orchestral 4/4 Double Bass. This bass is a 7/8 string length with slender neck (3 string conversion).
This instrument has a beautiful rich mellow tone with great projection. Please look carefully this is not a cheap laminated instrument and it is genuinely very old. Though in my opinion circe 1860-80 maybe earlier, i will offer my reasoning yet you decide if you agree. I have consulted numerous experts including chatting and describing it in detail with two principal bass players at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra before writing my description to cover myself legally.
One of the two players then showed me his almost identical instrument in the bullring, with an older version of the extension sadly drilled through the scroll. I can say without hesitation, this is a good totally working instrument with no issues which can happily accompany you to the very top of your career.Flat solid maple back and spruce table ie not laminated. This has a 7/8 string length (so the luthier informs me) with a 5/4 body length. It was historically a pegged 3 string which has been converted with machine heads added around 1890.
You can see the three holes in the tailpiece with the new four holes above them. Also the peg box has been patched very professionally in order to do this conversion. It took a while to even see what had occurred and is nearly invisible to the untrained eye.
The neck angle was also modernized ie altered, almost certainly at the same time as 4 string conversion. This is mainly due to the opulent sized French scroll another significant identifying trait. 21 1/2 shoulder at widest point.
26 bottom at widest point. Back is flat yet sides at deepest 8 1/2" at neck shallowest at 7". 45 body not including top button though including sloped neck at top. String length ie from bridge to nut of G string 4th string is 42.String length of low C extension is 53 11/16 give or take. What the 3 string conversion means to'playability' is the neck is beautifully slender and can accommodate a slightly smaller hand or ladies hand more easily than some basses or simply allow the larger hand to play quite dexterously. Though I only play for composition purposes, I find it very quick and comfortable as my hands are not huge! The spike is fully operational. Bridge is relatively new and of very high quality properly fitted under tension.
The C extension is a modern addition and this means it is non invasive ie not drilling through the scroll and totally solid without any movement. This means that by replacing the nut only you can return the bass to a non extended state.
It does not wrap the string round the outer scroll either so does not dig into the scroll or damage varnish. This is a massive improvement upon older style extension designs. This is achieved by clever construction and is very secure.
It is ebony fingerboard with four gold plated brass pegs. These can be fine adjusted carefully with a screwdriver with an appropriate sized posidrive head. The screws are in excellent condition. The bass has numerous stable professional internal linen repairs supporting from behind the patches to its sides though both the spruce table ad solid maple back have suffered time very well without any cracks.
Which is quite a rarity in truth for an instrument this age. And shows it to be very stable tonewood indeed. This has a very good bright well projecting sound with a long sustain. It was used and loved by a professional orchestral bass player which is why the extension was added.
I noticed that without exception all six of the basses performing in the Royal Philharmonic had extensions when I saw them. I presume this is true for the other major serious orchestras too. It seems to be essential for the serious orchestral performer.
New strings all of a similar gauge and core type though varying companies such as Pirastro and Thomastic. The way the extension works ie remains secure is by swapping 3 and 4 pegs in terms of stringing and a system of wheels and channels running through the extension. It is truly all very clever. Clearly the old outdated extension designs will never return now a non invasive design has been perfected. There are no open seams on the instrument and no work required.Bow 1 is Unstamped Nickel Mounted 145g 748mm with black horse hair. Very dense Pernumbucco bow C1890 1v0r7 face.
I have been told this is a very good bow as the Pernumbucco is very dense near black in places, making it "Heartwood" central core of trunk, not brightly coloured softer wood bearing dye. It is a very good bow. Bow 2 18ct solid gold mounted Ironwood (of exceptional quality) bow. This stick (with no frog) was gifted to the late owner by the late Bernard Millant and was an alternative to the Voirin style "longbow". The short bow was far more commonly used with the French 3 string bass apparently.The bare stick was described by Millant as a special order made "By" A Vigneron and required a later frog to be fitted. Weight of "gold" was added to allow for very slow long notes with the short bow. This verbal attribution explains the triangular "Throat" in the manner of Lucien Capet, short stocky strong and heavy nature of the bow. The triangle is hugely superior to the round bow, yet due to French patent Law it did not "take off" since Capet and Vigneron owned the patent and nobody else was allowed to make this type of bow (patents are only usually offered where a significant improvement has occurred). The Voirin style bow mimicking the violin/Cello bow was actually quite a recent style. Short bows were much more common indeed the norm historically prior to Voirin, Vignerons rival. The proven (to a legal panel) excellence of the design was somehow lost in the legality and failed to popularize. You are welcome and highly advised to view and try, sensible offers are invited. This instrument would be crated for transit.
The item "French Double Bass 4/4 + C extension +2 bows 18ct Gold + Nickel" is in sale since Friday, November 22, 2019. This item is in the category "Musical Instruments\String\Orchestral\Double Basses". The seller is "tomina16" and is located in Colchester. This item can be shipped worldwide.