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Re: Tyrolean Basses

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Posted by Greg Blair on September 06, 2002 at 10:45:15:

In Reply to: Re: Tyrolean Basses posted by bean on January 11, 2002 at 23:11:15:

: So my question is, how do I identify one? How do I make sure that this is leggit or should I just not worry about someone claiming that one is what it is?

: : I believe the word Tyrolean simply refers to the 18'th/19'th century Austrian state (usually Vienna). I have seen and heard many good such instruments from the 19'th c which sound very good. I think they usually run in the 10 to $20k ballpark and are often comparable to better old German basses.
Tyrolea, or Tirol, is an Austrian province in the mountainous Western part of the country, the West borders on Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. South Tyrolea belongs to Italy. Vienna is far to the east, bordering the Czeck Republic to the north.

To my understanding the instruments are more an Italian-type design rather than German, and the sound is very different. The ones I've seen range from smaller instruments (5/8) to 3/4. Some are very simple with dark finishes, mine has purfling on the top and back and a lighter golden-brown laquer. Mine dates to the 1880s and has no label inside (I've not seen one that does).

I'm told the block at the bottom of the neck is one indication that your instrument is Tyrolean, it's not traditional, having a unique shoehorn shape.

They are great basses with a rich tone. Snatch one up if you can! They range from $8,000 - $12,000. Check out Mapquest for a map of Austria, find Innsbruck in the East, it's the "capital" of Tirol. Note that Italy is very close.

: : : : What is the deal with Tyrolean basses? Is there a particular time when they were made and they were great? Is this the name of a maker or a style? Is there anything about these basses that I should know or should I avoid them?

: : : I have just bought an old German bass from Berlin 1840's. It is basically the same thing as a Tyrolean bass...they were made of the same design and woods/same era and the approximation to Germany is very close. They are fabulous basses with a wonderful tone. Charlie Haden played one identical to mine until it was destroyed in an accident. The basses have a huge sound with a powerful low end and a sweet top. They usually do not have any labels inside. Great basses.

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