This Charles Louis Buthod Double Bass with an impressive provenance was made in Mirecourt, France circa 1840-1850. It is an original 5-string instrument with the number 389 branded beneath the neck joint in the back. The top is wide-grain spruce with no purfling, and the back and ribs are constructed of quarter sawn maple of a narrow figure. The ribs feature a black “picture frame” detail that is etched onto the surface.
This French double bass has been a concert instrument dating back to the 1970’s and has been played in over fifteen different symphonies. It saw a full restoration in 1985 and has remained in stable condition since then. It bears its original heavy brass tuning machines (of French manufacture) and its original red-brown varnish. An interesting detail to note is the use of trompe l’oeil in the construction of this double bass. The French were masters of faux finishes, specifically in creating the appearance of three dimensions on two-dimensional surfaces. Although a flatback, this double bass appears to have a sophisticated (and incredibly technically difficult) recurve. Upon further inspection though, the “recurve” is actually an expertly applied laminate edge that has the appearance of a three-dimensional and hand carved finish.
Charles Louis Buthod (1810-1889) was a French luthier who began his career under the supervision of Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. He later opened his own workshop where he produced instruments modeled on the works of Stradivari. Buthod’s early instruments are known for their distinct red varnish and robust and durable construction. His instruments have been awarded medals for their workmanship and tone, although later works attributable to his name vary in quality (from the Thibouville-Lamy workshop).
- Upper Bout: 19 3/4″
- C Bout: 15 1/4″
- Lower Bout: 26 3/4″
- Length of Front: 45″
- String Length: 42″
- Rib Depth: 8″ (heel) to 5″ (neck block)
Upton Bass String Instrument Co. specializes in building award-winning custom double basses and offers accessories for the double bass. Upton Bass also services all instruments and bows of the violin family with world-class restoration and repair, to view our online restoration portfolio visit stringrepair.com
Upton Bass is ready to offer advice and answer any questions regarding double basses or related bass topics. Please contact UB at email@example.com or call the shop at +1 (860) 535-9399. Hours of operation Tuesday through Saturday 10am – 6pm. The Workshop (The Barn) and showroom are located in Mystic, Connecticut conveniently between Boston and NYC.