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Ferdinand Seitz, Mittenwald 1856 - 5/4 size - # 2574 - SOLD

Front image of the double bass by Ferdinand Seitz, Mittenwald 1856 - 5/4 size
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Big bass.

Yes this is one of those magnificent instruments with the rounded or "Busetto" type lower corners in the style of Mathias Klotz (1653-1743) that are quite awesome in every aspect. At 120cm in length of back this really is a true 5/4-size instrument. However - even though this really is about as big an instrument as one will find it is still very playable due to the fact that The Contrabass Shoppe has fitted a stunning new neck to it that gives it a string length of only 107.4 cm. Can you believe that? Only 107.4cm. So big bass but incredibly easy to play.

Big Sound.

Yes indeed. As one draws the bow across the strings the whole instrument begins to vibrate and a simply colossal sound comes out. I promise you - you won't be able to stop smiling at the enormity of sound. Hold on to the china plates!

Is the bass labelled?

No it is not but it is signed in ink - 'Ferdinand Seitz 1856' on the bass side lower table. In addition - and underneath the centre brace we saw a Latin inscription in very neat handwriting. Unfortunately it was not possible to decipher it before the new brace was put in.

Ferdinand Seitz - He was famed for his basses wasn't he?

Yes he was. Although there is very little recorded about Ferdinand Seitz even in the larger reference books, double bass players the world over recognise his name as being synonymous with these large well sounding orchestral instruments for which he is so famed. German players especially favour these 5/4 size instruments that were often made - as is this example - with the rounded or "Busetto" type lower corners.

More on Seitz

Ferdinand worked around about 1840-1857. There were several generations of violinmakers with the name Seitz, most of whom worked in Mittenwald. The Encyclopaedia by Karel Jalovec records no less than 18 with a surname spelt either Seitz or Seiz many of whom worked for or supplied instruments or parts of violins exclusively for the dealers and manufacturers namely Matthias (3rd), Neuner and Matthias Hornsteinster.

Instrument characteristics

A viol shaped instrument with a flat back that slopes gently in towards the neck and a characteristic strip of ebony along the back centre join. This instrument is made in the traditional style of the Mittenwald School. The wood used is nicely figured, well thicknessed and of good quality. The carving details of the scroll, f-holes and purfilling are neat and well controlled and although the varnish on the body of the instrument is from a later date the oil varnish on the scroll is origional. Just take a look at the glorious texture and deep-dark red-brown colour - it is just so typical. Splendid stuff indeed.

Any History?

There is a printed label which is affixed on the back next to the centre brace that states - J.K.Monk's Tripple-Bars. March 1898. John King Monk (b1846) was a fairly prolific maker (Over 250 instruments.) who worked in Merton, Surrey, England. He was the inventor of a "Maggini bass bar system" and a "Triple bass bar system" - which he believed would eliminate the inequality of certain notes. Indeed this instrument was fitted with a normal bass bar with a second smaller (Length of cello bar, about half the thickness.) bar placed about 5.5cm towards the sound-post. Hmm…. all fairly interesting stuff especially as we had to remove both bars and replace them with one of the proper length and height - but the main point that is raised by the internal label and the fact that Monk worked-on the instrument in 1898 is that it establishes another fact - which is that the instrument has been in the UK for over 106 years.

Any Restoration?

Well - new bass bar for one plus a whole list of other stuff that totalled more that £8000-00. Our restorer put in a completely new back brace system and a neck graft. In addition repair to the ribs was required, repair to the bass bar crack and one other, half-edge work to the entire front, varnish work and a complete fit-up. As you'd expect the instrument is now in absolutely A1 condition.

Would I want this instrument?

Named instruments by Ferdinand Seitz are considered highly desirable property right around the world. The huge 'octobass' like sound - glorious and reverent - rather like a fine red wine - mature and full-bodied - will be of considerable interest to the player in the a symphony or opera orchestra. Conversion to five strings is also a feasible option.

Stats:

Width at the upper bout 21.85in (55.6cm)
Width at the centre bout 15.25in (38.8cm)
Width at the lower bout 29.5in (75.5cm)
LOB 47.25in (120.0cm)
St length 42.25in (107.4cm)
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SOLD

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