Re: Juzek bass

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Posted by Bob Gollihur on December 06, 2001 at 17:07:24:

In Reply to: Juzek bass posted by Rainy on December 06, 2001 at 14:54:51:

: I'm in the market for a new bass and Juzek basses have been recommended to me. Is there a link or some place I can learn more about the history of these basses? What is the price range for one? What should I look/watch out for when trying one out?

: Rainy

There is nothing different about Juzeks than for any other bass as far as watching out for specific problems. There is nothing I can find on the web about the older Juzeks. When I found and bought a Juzek a few years ago I tried to find out more about them. I located and kept a copy of a message that the well known bass authority Barrie Kolstein wrote on the 2xbass list:

From: Date: Sat, 16 Nov 1996 07:51:01 -0500
Subject: Juzek

The second question of when Juzek made the move into Germany is as follows :The original Juzek company was located in Prague, Czeckoslovakia. After the end of World War II and the occupation of Czeckoslovakia by the Soviet Union,a great deal of people exited the country quite quickly. The Juzek company was one . They literally picked up all but the physical factory building andmoved into what was then U.S. Occupied Germany..soon to become West Germany and now Unified Germany. They are still there in Germany.

It should benoted that the Prague Juzeks were made in several models ..that being their "Professor Model" a 3/4 gamba shaped flatback model with usually plainfigured maple back wood and their least expensive model. Next came their round back gamba shaped model, with a bit more figured maple backs. Then their Master Art series in larger 3/4 and 7/8 sizes. These model are violin cornered, roundback models with spectacular flamed maple and a characteristic ebony diamond inlay in the back below the neck block button. Finally Juzek made a few copies of a Gasparo DaSalo model, which was the Master Art model bass with a DaSalo scroll in the 3/4 size. These are quite rare, as I have only seen two in my career and owned one for a bit.

Once Juzek moved to German the instruments became much more commercialized , as did the varnish which was a beautiful brownish amber color when in Prague and a Redish nitrous cellulous laquer finish on their student model 3/4 gamba shaped roundback model Basses and a brownish amber laquer finish on their 3/4 and 7/8 violinciornered roundback model upper grade basses. To my knowledge, the German Juzek Co. never made any flatback model basses. The Prague Juzeks are held in much higher value and esteem than the German counterparts. However; the flatback models from prague, often required a bit of restorative work including new crossbarring etc. Also the early period right after the war, when Juzek produced their first basses from Germany, were the best German examples as they were what I consider "Transitional" Juzeks, whereby much of the old wood supply and workers from the Prague factory were incorporated into these produced basses.

I should also mention that I've run across a laminated bass made by Juzek -- essentially Juzek was a mass market bass, especially once they were made in Germany, "school basses" just like Kay. I own a Juzek "Masterart" which Mr. Kohlstein told me was only made in Czechoslovakia, but another well-respected luthier has said that they were also made in Germany. My bass has not been to see either gentleman, but I hope to take it to Kolsteins one of these days.

Hope this information is helpful to you.

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