~ William Tarr Orchestral Bass ~

"made by William Tarr 1829 No 8"

Written and Signed in the upper Back by William Tarr

(made for 'The Gentleman's Orchestra' in Manchester aka 'The Halle Orchestra' post 1859)

Known today as a 'Halle Tarr', this is one of the 9 Basses made by William Tarr for the Gentleman's Orchestra in Manchester, the oldest Professional Orchestra in Great Britain. In 1859 Sir Charles Halle came from Germany, financed the Orchestra and conducted it for years and was then re-named The Halle Orchestra. I know of 2 other Halle Basses, one of which is still uncut and looks nearly identical in form and wood.


An Early Violin Model Bass by William Tarr (with Papers) ~ $89,000
Upper Bout: 23 1/4" (22 3/8" back) Belly Length: 45 3/8" (46 1/4" over the Back Button) 
Center Bout: 17 1/8" (16 3/8" back) String Length: 41 1/2"
Bottom Bout: 29 1/4" (28 7/8" back) Varnish: Dark Chocolate Brown
Rib Depth: 8 3/8" tapering to 6 5/8" at the Neck  
Top: 2-Piece Fir with added wings at upper and lower Bouts
Back: 2-Piece Flame Maple with added wings at upper and lower Bouts
Ribs: Flame Maple
Neck / Scroll: Flame Maple with Flame Maple Neck Graft

Features: This is an early Bass by William Tarr, 1829 #8. One of the 9 Basses he made for 'The Gentleman's Orchestra' at Manchester aka 'The Halle Orchestra' in which William Tarr was a bassist there for 12 years. This is a rare Violin cornered model Flatback. The upper and lower bout were slightly reduced in 1959. A very manageable Organ sounding 7/8 Bass with C-Extension. Truly a King amongst British Tarr Basses.

In the 1920 publishing of the 2nd enlarged edition of 'British Violin Makers' by W. M. Morris It is written that; "On the occasion of a certain musical festival held in Dublin, where Tarr was one of the performers, all of the nine basses in the orchestra were of his make. He was an excellent musician, and for twelve years one of the bassists at the 'Gentleman's Concerts," Manchester. This later became the Halle Orchestra. This and the other basses are known now as the Halle Tarr basses. Full sized violin models originally

Note: As big as this Bass looks, it is not at all as hard to play as one might suspect. The current set-up is a joy to play. The sound is thunderous. The tone is clear, smooth and organ-like in the lower registers.



This Scroll of this bass is early classic Tarr work as I have seen at least 2 or 3 others just like it. The Gears and Plates I have been told are original Tarr/Manchester Gears and well restored. I have seen these plates and gears off of the bass and they are unique as well. I have also seen similar Gears on a bass by James Cole who had worked for Tarr for a period of time.


This full sized Tarr was cut-down in 1959 in England. Judging by the Purfling running off the edges of the upper and lower bouts, we estiimate the original size to be about 48" long with the Upper Bouts being 24" wide and the Lower at 30" originally.
The original Tailpiece was not on the bass when it first came in. An extra hole was drilled for a 5th string as well, converted from 4 to 5 and back to 4 strings when we recieved it. Two of the Inlays were missing with only the lower circle of brass and pearl intact. We had pearl and brass cut to the size of the inlays and then did the inlay here in the shop along with some other repairs to restore what might possibly be the original Tarr tailpiece.
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