Early 19th Century Top/Scroll with Early 20th Century Back and Ribs by Alfred Meyer
|3/4 Viennese/German Bass|
|Upper Bout: 19 1/4"||Belly Length: 43 1/4"|
|Center Bout: 13 3/8"||String Length: 41 1/2"|
|Bottom Bout: 25 1/4"||Varnish: Golden Brown|
|Rib Depth: 7 5/8" (5 3/8" at Neck)|
|Back: Flamed Maple|
|Ribs: Flamed Maple|
|Neck / Scroll: Maple with a Flamed Maple Neck Graft|
Features: When I first looked at this Bass about a few years ago I was puzzled by the mix of German and Vieneese features all in a single Bass. Shortly after the Bass was taken to Jeff Bollbach for a restoration of the Top. When he looked at the Top up by the Shoulder/Neck area he saw some edge build up underneath and pointed out that this is a clear sign of a 'cut-Bass'!
I never thought of this being part of the ID puzzle as the Bass is beautifully Purfled Top and Back with 5-layer Purfling or rather 'double violin' as they say in the trade with the center black line being wider. When the Top came off the story was unravelled. The oxidation of the Rib and Back wood was clearly different than the Top. Also, there is a repair label from Alfred Meyer, Markneukirchen (Germany) 1928. The Style of the Gear placement was that of Meyer from his Basses I have seen but the plates did not follow the pointed Vieneese cheeks. This was strange to me so I asked Jeff to take off the plate on one side and there it was, single plate hat peg scars as seen on most old Vieneese Basses, in the normal order with the 'E' being the lowest gear.
The signs were now very very clear. Alfred Meyer cut the older Viennese Top down inside the old Purfling line, made a Back and Rib assembly, used 5-layer Purfling throughout and re-made the Bass as we see it here. He also made the gear plates and used some old style Hatpegs to try and match the Bass.
In either case we now have this beautifully made old Vieneese Top on a healthy early 20th century Back/Rib frame by one of Germany's finest. The Scroll alone makes one believe it is a full Vieneese Bass but the design of the Back being round with an angle break is more Italian style as copied by some Germans from the late 19th century and into the early 20th century.
|Typical Vieneese Scroll as used in the 18th and 19th centuries|
|Beautiful Vieneese style Scroll/Pegbox with custom plates from Alfred Meyer|
|A beautifully proportioned Orchestra/Solo or Jazz Bass|
|This style of partial Rib lining is typical on some of the better grade German Basses from the 19th to 20th centuries.|
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