labeled "Leandro Bisiach, Milano 1951"

Small 7/8 Orchestral Double Bass


As with many old Basses and especially Italian, dates and names are often difficult to pinpoint. This Bass has a label from the Bisiach Bros. that looks 100% original and authentic. The Bisiachs were also known to occasionally copy interesting models. Although mainly known for their Violins, two people I have spoken with have heard of Double Basses by them. Where they made on occasion to order? Were they outsourced from other workers? This is the 'Mystery' we deal with in identifying old Basses. We have recently come to the conclusion that the Scroll is not by the same maker of the Bass as the Bass itself is a Rossi model (Milan, 19th century) and the Scroll is modeled after Corain. This model Bass with sloped shoulders was popular from the 19th century onwards but we have seen Basses and Gambas from 300 years ago with sloped shoulders as well.

Small 7/8 Double Bass w/ Violin Corners & Round Back
Upper Bout: 19 3/4" Belly Length: 45 3/4" 
Center Bout: 14" String Length: 42"
Bottom Bout: 25 3/4" Varnish: Reddish Golden Brown
Rib Depth:  8 3/4" gradually tapering to 6 3/8" at the Neck
Top: 2-piece medium - fine grained Quarter Sawn Spruce
Back: 2-piece Maple, Quarter Sawn
Ribs: Maple matching the Back
Neck / Scroll: Italian Black Poplar w/ Poplar Neck Graft

Features: This beautifully proportioned 7/8ths Bass actually playes more like a 3/4 and is a dream to play. The Shoulders allow you to reach the upper harmonics with ease. The 42" string length is actually easier to play than many Basses with 41 - 41 1/2" lengths due to its 'friendly' Shoulder & tapered Rib design. This is truly one of the better proportioned Basses I have seen and played. The Tone is sweet and even in all registers with plenty of volume, depth and projection as one would expect from a high caliber Bass.

Note: This Bass arrived from Italy in the spring of 2006. Within its first year after arriving some needed restoration work was then performed by Luthier Jeff Bollbach in NY which included a new Bass Bar and other minor repairs. Shortly after, he made a Chromatic C-Extension as well as fitting a new Ebony Fingerboard as currrently shown which puts this Bass in top professional playing condition. With the Body on the long side (45 3/4") and the String length just about 107cm (42.1"), todays numbers would rate this Double Bass closer to a 7/8ths than a 3/4 size according to the current MENC measurements. This Bass has been Sold.

Special Note: Some time after selling this bass we learned more about its possible origin and make. It is now believed to be a handmade bass from Romania (I have seen one other now) and then purchased by a Hungarian maker and 'Antiqued' to look older than it actually is. The bass is well made and with a beautiful sound, often preferred over older basses with pedigree origins selling for much higher prices. For sound, model and condition, this is a great bass to play and own. Ken Smith

The Scroll is nice copy Vincenzo Corain made in Black Poplar which is classic for Basses made in Northern Italy but the Bass itself is clearly a copy of Gaetano Rossi. Opinions of origin are mixed as usual which vary from Original Scroll with Bass, or a real Corain Scroll added to a later made Bass. The Bisiachs were dealers as well as makers and also outsourced some of their orders to area makers so anything is possible. They may have had this Scroll when the Bass was made or made an Antiqued copy of it to look original. Your guess is as good as mine!

This Bass bears a Label from the Bisiach Bros. and is signed by Leandro Bisiach. Bisiach also writes that it is a Copy of Vincenzo Corain. Corain was a maker in Trieste just outside of Venice in the first half of the 19th century.

The Purfling is inlaid to the tips of each Corner with a masterful 'Bee Sting' on both the Top and Back Plates.

The F holes show grace and style with a cross between Maggini and Amati. The lower Tabs are fluted and the inner edges of the FFs including the upper and lower 'eyes' are bevelled inwards.

The beautiful patina of this Bass adds charm to its already graceful form and Corain model Scroll.

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