Copyright © 2015 Kenneth Knussen 

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 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. http://www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?div=t17951202-53

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

THIS BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

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

             https://mikeslea.wordpress.com/  

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.

 THIS BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

 

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This instrument belonged to the late Jack McCormack, legendary Principal Bass of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

 

The bass is branded by the French maker Justin Derazey of Mirecourt and was made c.1880 or possibly earlier. It is big and beautiful and in very good condition. A serious orchestral instrument.


String Length 107cm.    Length of Back 115cm

THIS BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

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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.

 

http://www.the-mill.co.uk/ron/Discography.html

 

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

 

String Length 107.5cm    Length of Back 114cm

THIS BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

I have known this Hungarian bass for at least 10 years. It is based on a Venetian instrument of the Santo Serafin (Sanctus Seraphin) school of the early 18th century and captures something of the grandeur of that style. Despite being a modern instrument it has a sound that suggests a much older bass. 

 

Although very playable it is a long bass the length being below the F-holes. It requires very little endpin. But it was my second bass for years and I had the slim Roger Dawson neck installed. I sold it to a professional London player who has now retired so I was asked to sell it again. It is now owned by a student at the Royal College of Music who I know loves the instrument.


String length 105cm. Length of back 118cm.

 

THIS BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

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 BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

Here we have a 1967 Wilfer 5 string double bass in remarkably good condition with an attractive shade of varnish and well figured wood.

 

Previously owned by a former member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra who I believe played it as his main instrument, this bass has been given a good overhaul by Roger Dawson and it is working as well as it ever has. Possibly better.

 

Labelled and Branded by Josef Wilfer

 

String length 107cm. Length of Back 113cm.

 

THIS BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

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.

 THIS BASS IS NOW SOLD

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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.

 THIS BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE 

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This bass comes from the workshop of respected Hungarian maker, Akos Balazs. It is an example of his Silver series instruments. My understanding is that this can involve other makers and workmen but with Balazs overseeing and finishing the final product.

The bass is obviously in excellent conditon with, currently a hybrid setup of Evah Pirazzi (lights), bridge adjusters and a David Gage piezo pick (to be sold with the instruments)

Length of Back  117cm   String Length  107cm

THIS BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

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 BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

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I have to confess that I have not had a chance to try this most unusual instrument. This makes it hard to describe in any detail. But the owner, a professional colleague and friend, is selling it so I have offered to put it on the website. It is a small instrument and obviously somewhat rustic in it's appearance. A one-off I would imagine. The slab cut front, violin outline and the colour of the varnish suggests Italian to me. However if anyone has some strong ideas as to the instrument's origins I would be fascinated to hear them. Apparently it has a Swedish label reading,

Pet Kraft, Kongt HofInstrum Macher, Stockholm No. 593, An 1796

 

String Length 102cm. Length of Back 102cm

THIS BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

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Here is a first for the website - a bass that is not in the UK which I have been asked to list and, having seen and tried the instrument, am happy to do so.

 

Respected Canadian luthier Donald Gorman made this bass in 2005 and it has been well looked after. Subsequently the bass was handed to Mario Lamarre to be fitted with an extension and adapted to have a removable neck for ease of transport. This is all rather alot to describe in any detail but Lamarre's website

www.lamario.ca/index.php?lang=en

has all the information required.

As for Gorman's bass, it is a full sized instrument and extremely responsive,  good sound and plenty of volume. I would suggest you get alot for the price.

The instrument can be viewed in the Ottawa area.

String Length  41 3/4"   (106cm)

Length of Back  46 1/2" (118cm)

THIS BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

As a professor of the double bass, Thomas Martin has always endeavoured to supply his pupils with quality instruments. At different times these have come from different sources. In the 1980s a typical Tom student

at the Guildhall School of Music would own a bow by Reid Hudson and a bass by Horst Grunert which would be a copy of a classic model. Such was the quality of this equipment that both bass and bow were carried forward into the profession and have often remained there.

This is such a bass. Dated 1988 it is a copy of a Vinceno Panormo c.1800 and has been played constantly since it was built, mostly in major London orchestras. It has recently had an overhaul and is looking and playing very well indeed.

String Length 106cm.  Length of Back 113cm.

This bass is now for sale with another dealer.

For anyone wanting a classic "English" bass on a very limited budget this Akos Balazs "Gold series" instrument dated 2011 is a gift. Made in Budapest, Hungary the detail is very impressive. The scroll is elegant and the antiqued varnish just seems right.

This particular example of Balazs' work has been fitted up by Martyn Bailey with his own tuners and bridge and other adustments.

As for the sound, it is a loud bass which is always useful. I have fitted Flexicor Originals (with a brighter string on the bottom - My usual orchestral setup) and I can honestly say that I would not be embarrassed to take this into any of the major orchestras I work with.

Length of Back  114cm.  String Length  105cm

THIS BASS IS NO LONGER FOR SALE

I have known this instrument a very long time now. It was owned by a good friend of mine in his college and early professional days and I have tracked it's history since and even had a hand in its sale before.

German c.1880, it is a very good orchestral bass in very good condition. Not unlike the Schmidt bass that was recently on this page, these instruments are handsome, well made and robust and proving to be a good investment for young professionals and keen amateurs. Or indeed as reliable second instruments for those fortunate to be in possession of a more valuable

bass already.

Note the initials and dates carved on the shoulder of the instrument. Is this the love of previous owners leaving their mark? Naughty students at play or the product of boring rehearsals?

Length of back  114cm.   String Length  105cm

THIS  BASS IS NOW SOLD

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 ever 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 BASS IS NOW SOLD

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 of the instrument 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.

 

THIS BASS IS NOW SOLD

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 

This bass is to be sold at auction

The specialist double bass firm of E.M. Pöllmann was established in Mittenwald, Germany in 1888. Their distinctive instruments have always found a place in British orchestras and are loved by their owners.

This 5-string Gamba model was made in the early sixties and has been played professionally for many years before it's owner retired. I am awaiting further information.

String length        Length of Back 

THIS BASS IS NOW SOLD

The specialist double bass firm of E.M. Pöllmann was established in Mittenwald, Germany in 1888. Their distinctive instruments have always found a place in British orchestras and are loved by their owners.

Here we have a classic example described by the bass's owner as the Emperor model but now known, according to the Pöllmann website as the Busseto Special Edition thereby describing the distinctive Busseto corners and full ornamentation of the engraving for which Pöllmann basses are known.

​This 5-string bass was made as a special order in 1981 by Günter Krahmer and is in excellent condition.

​String length 105cm. Length of Back 114cm.

THIS BASS IS NOW SOLD

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 BASS IS NOW SOLD

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  

THIS BASS IS NOW SOLD

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.

This 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

THIS BASS IS NOW SOLD

Prentice ribs.jpg