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This is a beautiful bass known for years as a

Joseph Hill (1715 - 1784). Full of character and history and with a big, warm orchestral sound. It has been played in the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the London Symphony and the City of Birmingham Symphony, And that is just the last 40 years. If only these instruments could talk.

It is classic Hill. When I first posted this bass I suggested that it may have been made by Joseph Hill's son, Lockey Hill (1756 - 1796) who was hanged for horse theft interestingly enough.

However, the owner tells me that all the paperwork associated with this instrument describes it as by Joseph Hill and I am happy to amend the attribution.

String Length 108cm   Length of Back  120cm


Roger Dawson Bass

Dated 2003 this beautiful instrument was the 25th bass made by Roger Dawson of London. Roger had been one of the UK's top double bass repairer/restorers for many years with an international reputation until his sad death in 2021. He always made basses along with being constantly in demand for repairs and improvements to the many professionally owned instruments that frequented his workshop.


This bass was commissioned by Michael Lea, formerly an extremely busy London player who's fascinating career can be read about in his online autobiography:


It is an exact copy of his Vincenzo Panormo. Michael even supplied the table wood which is Pitch Pine as used in  the original instrument. The sound is big and warm and the bass is a joy to play.


String Length 109cm. Length of Back 114cm.



Another modern English bass, this was made by Ronald Prentice is labelled


"Ronald Prentice, Ash Priors, February 1977".


This instrument is on the large side and in very fine condition for it's age. Incidentally, it is worth looking at Ron Prentice's discography. He was a very busy session player as a bass guitarist and there aren't many British pop records from the 60s that he wasn't on.


As for his double basses they were very expensive in their day. But today, reasonably priced.


String Length 107.5cm    Length of Back 114cm


A 1998 Mike Hart bass made for Jack McCormack, former Principal Bass of the RPO and presumably used for touring as it doesn't show signs of much wear and tear.

The instrument plays well and is a very useful shape for getting to those high notes you young people seem to enjoy so much.


Interestingly, as an aside to this, Mike Hart's very first bass was for sale in Thwaites of Watford as of June 2015. Not quite as refined as this example I have to say!

String Length 105cm. Length of back 112cm.


This is a very nice example of a Hawkes Professor c.1910. Although unlabelled for some reason these instruments are very well known and distinctive. Unlike the Hawkes Panormo and Concert basses, both swell-back, the Professor was the flat-back model, probably made for Hawkes and Son in Germany.

This particular bass had been converted to a 5-string bass using the old fashioned but very practical forward facing extra tuner in the peg box, and was posted on this site in that state. It has now been returned to it's original 4-string configuration and could easily be fitted with an extension for those extra low notes.

The Hawkes has led a long and active life in the hands of UK professional players and is in remarkably good condition given it's long life on the road


String length 106cm. Length of Back 114cm.


Acclaimed British instrument maker, Colin Irving has had cellos and violins played by international soloists for many years. A good Irving cello will cost you more than twenty thousand pounds. He has made very few basses. This example is labelled

               "Colin Irving, Guildford 1976"

and is in near immaculate condition. It is beautifully made, and uses timber of a quality rarely seen in a modern double bass and set off by a similar matt varnish.The shape is conducive to ease of access across the range of the instrument and the sound is clear and focussed.


I do not see this as an orchestral bass but a solo instrument of the highest quality. Once again, if this was a cello the price would be high. Because the market for this bass is limited I am keeping the price low.


String Length 104cm.   Length of Back 109cm.


Paul Bryant Panormo Model Bass

Here an obviously cared-for example of an English bass by Paul N.Bryant. This "Panormo Model" is dated 1999.


Mr. Bryant's instruments have always been well priced and so have appealed to students and professionals alike. In fact I owned one myself for a while. He has now officially retired and is not taking new orders which makes this bass even more interesting as it is in great condition but well played in.


String Length 107cm. Length of Back 114cm.


This excellent example of a Hawkes & Son Panormo Model, the top model of the Hawkes range of basses, is labelled and dated 1914. Apart from one fairly obvious repair to the lower table it is in amazing condition. When I first came across the bass it still had its original wooden end pin and the widest neck I have ever seen.

It has now been brought into full playing order by luthier Martyn Bailey and is one of the best Hawkes basses that I have played.

All the well known characteristics are in evidence. The scroll plates engraved "Hawkes & Son, London" and the purfled "H" at the top of the back of the instrument.


 Length of Back 113cm. String Length 105cm


This unusual instrument comes highly recommended.

The table (front) of the bass is by William Booth of Leeds c.1830. The rest is of modern construction based on the original instrument by Barnabas Rácz of Budapest. The tailpiece is also the original. Naturally the 21st century parts are in excellent condition but the table is in great condition for it's age and the whole makes for a fine looking instrument.

The end result is a very playable, mature sounding orchestral bass with a great bottom end for less than half the price of an original Booth


String length 104cm. Length of Back 117cm.



My educated guess is that it is late 18th century English. The varnish isn't original and it has been reshaped to some degree. The famous book by Raymond Elgar, "Looking At The Double Bass" contains an old cello shaped bass attributed to William Forster Snr. of Brampton with very similar f-holes and also basses attributed to his son, the more famous William (Royal) Forster with similar wrap-around corners. More distinctive of the period than a particular maker perhaps. The scroll is surprisingly elegant and cello-like.

Length of Back  112cm   String Length  104cm 


Essex (UK) maker John Bedingfield made this 5 string bass in 1996. It is numbered number 16 and is fairly typical of his earlier basses in terms of model, colour etc.. Except, of course, for the striking and well carved Lion's Head scroll.

This instrument was made for a young professional player. The current owner, after seven years, has decided change to a four string instrument. He describes the sound of the Bedingfield as having...

"a strong clear sonorous tone throughout the range (and) punchy pizz."

Currently fitted with Pirastro Flexocor Deluxe strings the bass is something of a bargain.

Length of Back  112cm    String Length  106cm


This is a Thomas and George Martin Solo Model

double bass dated March 2015 which has become superfluous to requirements for the owner who has obviously looked after the instrument during it's brief life.

To buy this bass new from the makers will cost you in the region of thirteen thousand pounds as far as I know but the owner is keen to sell so has priced it very reasonably indeed.

Length of Back 107cm.  String Length 102cm  


If only they could talk. That is how I feel as I stare at these fascinating instruments that were made somewhere by someone but give little away as to their origins.

So, we are looking at an English 5-string bass with interesting features that are more cello like in a lot of ways but on a large scale. The f-holes suggest late 18th century. The tuners have been made as a special feature. Originally there were three. The beautifully carved scroll is distinctive. The instrument belongs to and was the primary bass of a retired London Principal Bass and has recently been overhauled for sale. Once again, the lack of a specific name makes this bargain.


Length of Back  117cm  String Length  106cm


Joseph Hill Bass

One of the great advantages of the internet from my point of view is the amount of double bass images and information out there that can be used for cross-referencing.


This bass has been known as a Hill for many years. There are many Hill basses some of which are questionable but I feel confident in attributing this particular bass to Joseph Hill (1715-1784) who established his own workshop in London in 1753. This instrument is in fine condition and the scroll is amazing.

String Length 106cm. Length of Back 119cm. 


It is a rare to be presented with an instrument that tells you so much about itself but here is a bass by little known maker Joseph Hambleton of Salford (near Manchester) made in 1844. The label also states, Number 36. As I have only heard of one other Hambleton bass I assume the other 35 were mostly violins, violas and cellos. However this is certainly the work of a skilled luthier who has very much been inspired by his London contemporaries rather than the north of England schools of bass making.

As well as Hambleton's label there is an interesting repair label from 1896 inserted by an Hungarian violin maker who settled in Edinburgh in the eighteen-eighties. Interesting because the bass remained in Scotland and eventually found it's way to the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. This double bass is in remarkably good condition and deserves playing in professional orchestras.


String length 106cm. Length of Back 113cm.



Little is known about this Old English Bass c.1800.

It was obviously made by a craftsman who had access to beautiful woods and a good eye for varnish.

At some point in it's history someone decided to try to pass it off as an Italian bass by making some slight alterations to the scroll and writing, 

                         "Rastelli a Geneva"

at the top of the back on the outside of the instrument. The fact that the Rastelli family came from Genoa is something of a give away but it did convince previous owners to some extent. But this is without question an English instrument, probably London, and it has been well looked after and recently restored internally to make it a very desirable orchestral bass.


Length of Back    String Length 


Here we have an early bass by Thomas Martin labelled  "Thomas Martin, Fecit London, Bass 17, Anno 1997Also handwritten on the label "Made for David Fletcher Esq."

David Fletcher (1971 -2009) was to become a very good friend of mine. He became Co-Principal Bass of the National Orchestra of Wales and later Principal Bass of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and I have no doubt he would have gone on to even greater heights had he not died tragically young of a heart condition.

This instrument was made originally as a 5 string bass but was later converted to a four string configuration by Roger Dawson. It is in excellent condition and of course plays very well indeed.


String length 106.5cm. Length of Back 117cm.



Until very recently this instrument was advertised on DoubleBasses.Co.Uk in it's original configuration as a 3-string bass with "cello peg" tuners and a wooden endpin. After much discussion with the owner and luthier Martyn Bailey it was decided to reinvent the bass as a 4-string but still very much for use in the baroque and classical world of period instruments.

Made by Martin Morris, then of Cumbria, in 1984 the bass was designed as a copy of the Gary Karr "Amati" which belonged to the renowned Russian bass soloist, composer and conductor, Serge Koussevitsky. Subsequently that bass proved not to be an Amati but the simple design still has a classic elegance which, combined with the beautiful woods makes it very appealing to the eye. Thanks to Martyn Bailey the instrument now has his own design of Italian style tuners, a baroque fingerboard which matches the original tailpiece, a new endpin unit and is fitted with gut strings.

String Length  103cm.  Length of Back  107cm


Furber 3a2.jpg

This early 19th century double bass bears a strong resemblance to an instrument featured in book, The English Double Bass by Thomas and George Martin and Martin Lawrence which is attributed to Mathew Furber II (1772-1828).

The most obvious similarity are the block (squared-off) corners faced with ebony and the outside linings on the ribs, these features also being found on some basses made in the workshop of Thomas Dodd (1764-1834).

Whoever made this fine instrument it is a classic London bass c.1810 in surprisingly good condition and very reasonably priced. It has been played professionally for many years and has a clear sound across all areas and excellent resonance at the bottom end.


Length of back  113cm. Length of String 106cm                     

Charles Corsby (front).jpg

The name of English maker Charles Corsby (1798-1864) is a relatively recent discovery. His older brother George was known to have been a maker/dealer based in London and was thought to have made a few instruments simply signed "Corsby". In fact both men were part of a large instrument making family in Northampton spanning four generations from the mid 18th century.

Charles Corsby never left Northampton and seemingly took or sent instruments to his brother to be sold in his London shop. This particular double bass was made in 1838 and is a beautiful example of the maker's skill. Such a shame that his unassuming mark in only some of his instruments have left Charles Corsby unrecognised until now.

This bass sounds as good as it looks and is in excellent condition.

Length of Back  113cm   Length of String  106.6


Beddingfield Lion (front).jpg

The instruments of  John Bedingfield (1933 - 2020) were made to a number of distinctive designs and here we have a very ornate 5 string bass with a Lions Head scroll, labelled and bearing the maker's inscription, "No. 43 - 2006"

Bedingfield was very proud of his purfling and this swellback bass has a double line if the decorative inlay around the edges of the front and back along with an attractive design at the top of the back.

Quite often the bottom string of a 5 string bass can be disappointingly weak and dull but this instrument has a clear resonant sound and is also easy to play, helped, despite it's size, by a very reasonable string length.

With it's large upright f-holes and the friendly face of the scroll, all set off with a pleasant golden varnish, another example of this model can be seen on the British Bass Archive page.


Length of Back 110.5cm.   String Length  104cm


Bedingfield (front).jpg

English bass maker John Bedingfield (born 1933) sadly passed away on the 15th of June, 2020.

I only had the pleasure of meeting him two times in close succession a few years ago but what a fascinating man he was with his house full of basses and working wooden clocks, all hand made as were many of the tools he used for all this creativity, or so it appeared. He was quite a character and very welcoming. I'm glad I met him.

Generally Bedingfield's basses tend to be on the large size but this copy of an instrument by William Tarr of Manchester is a very neat model and easy to play. It is double purfled with an elaborate design on the back below the neck. 

String Length  103cm.  Length of Back  107cm


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