This is a very special Juzek double bass. Why? Well, it’s the first “real bass” I (Eric) ever knew! It was my High School conductors bass which he sold to my classmate Josh. Josh only brought the bass in for concerts…and I always lusted after this bass. It had adjuster! What a great idea I thought! I had a fiberglass Roth that was maroon and the bridge was warped and tall. My fingers would bleed as my callouses were ripped off playing things like Bizet’s Carmen Suite or the Russian Sailor’s Dance by Reinhold Gliere. The wonderful dark varnish…the hatpegs…the tone…I wanted this bass!
Jump forward 20 years and Josh still has the bass and still plays. The bass has been repaired numerous times and the top has gotten thin in parts. Unfortunately the bass took a tumble…and the top was severely damaged. Piecing the top together, once again, started to look like a fruitless option. I’ve double the top edge almost completely over the years, but some sections of the top that were most damaged were as thin as a violin (it seems the bass at some point was sanded down from the outside and re-varnished poorly…making it much too thin). After looking at the options…we decided a new top was in order. The ff holes were copied, the geometries copied…the style of arch and edge work were copied…but we were now properly thicknessed and had a bass bar location that was in line with modern building. The varnish was copied as well…and the finished results were well worth the effort. Although deception was not the goal, it will take a luthier looking inside to realize this is a new top, and the sound is better than before. We were not concerned about devaluing the instrument because we were, in fact, removing a factory carved top and replacing it with a hand carved top done by an award winning staff of luthiers. In our opinion, the bass has actually increased in value!
This bass was an honor to work on. I’m glad I was given the opportunity to keep her alive…and who knows…maybe one day Josh will sell me the bass!