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Author Topic: Lucian Bassi  (Read 3749 times)

Offline Dibbs

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Offline Airflyte

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2017, 08:10:41 AM »
After a quick glance, it has an eastern European look to me. Amati ??

I'm not really qualified to give an answer - just a wild guess.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2017, 07:30:59 AM by Airflyte »
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Offline Dibbs

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2017, 09:34:07 AM »
I think you're right.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Alte-Klarinette-franzosisches-System-wohl-in-Bb-Stimmung-Amati-Kraslice-/382044487462?hash=item58f3a03f26:g:4jkAAOSwyTZUV9up

This has the same throat G# and the triangular guide for the Rh trill key.

Thanks,

Offline Windsong

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 10:13:39 AM »
Just look at that keywork, will you?
Just gorgious!
Thanks for sharing.
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2017, 10:02:09 PM »
If you really, really want one like that.  ;D The maker is a maker I have been tracking for about three years now. I call the maker, mystery Bohemian maker #2. In fact there is a clarinet available right now made by the same mystery Bohemian maker. Two of them I picked up 2 summers ago for really low $$, with no marks on them anywhere except Czecho-Slovakia on the backs of them.

I am doubting that this is Amati. These seem too early for Amati. When did Amati get going as Amati? It might be Amati. I can't see the photos well enough of the Amati, but I see some keys that are different, maybe a different key type, plausible that it could be Amati. It's definitely Czech. I have seen 4 others like this one;- exactly like it but no brand marks or different brand marks. I've now seen 5 of these.

Like I said, there is another one available right now. Who wants to know where it is? It's cheap too.  ;D I think it has a minor barrel crack, nothing fatal, pretty dry wood, and is disguised as a Frenchman.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2017, 10:16:10 PM by Silversorcerer »
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Offline Dibbs

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2017, 02:20:13 AM »
Thanks for the info SS.

Here is an ad for these from 1936 http://archive.nationaljazzarchive.co.uk/archive/journals/musical-news-and-dance-band/vol1-no11-august-1936/18599

The resolution is too poor to read properly but you can decipher the OCRed text and see that they were actually the bottom of Jack Heyworth's Boehm system range at £7/7/-  (£7.35 in decimal money) with the top of the range from EJ Albert at £16/16/- (£16.80)


Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2017, 06:34:16 AM »
Well, at least we know Heyworth sold clarinets with the Lucian Bassi name on them. And it could indeed be the same Czech clarinets like this one Lucian Bassi we have before us. However if Lucian Bassi is a stencil name, it is plausible that other makers could supply these at different times. Certainly Bohemian mystery maker #2 put names other than Lucian Bassi on the same product, for instance Pierre Dumont or Grenadier, or no name at all.

The clarinet illustrated in the ad is probably one of Heyworth's other offerings because the humps in the throat trills are rounded, not pointed. The Bassi clarinet is not illustrated. I do think that 1936 would be a realistic time for the examples I see from Bohemian mystery maker #2. These have solid nickel-silver keys, many other details point to pre WW2 production.

From the history given here:  http://www.amati.cz/en/company/history

Quote
After the WWI, production quickly recovered. Between the two World Wars, there were 59 musical instrument manufacturers. Among the biggest of these firms were: Bohland&Fuchs, Hüller&Co., A.K.Hüttl, Julius Keilwerth, Karl Püchner, Adolf Rölz, Ant.Kohlert etc. However, during WWII, many plants ceased to exist, while others served military purposes.
In September 1945, a Cooperative of musical instrument manufacturers was established in Kraslice. And because the production of both wind and stringed instruments was anticipated, the Cooperative was given the name "AMATI".

If Lucian Bassi is from 1936 and is the same as the Pierre Dumont (not the French stencil with the same name), the same as one marked Grenadier (not the Pruefer Silver Throat stencil of the same name), and the same as two Czech siblings I picked up  2 years ago, then there are 59 plausible makers and Amati, formed in 1945, is simply not one of them. Bohemian mystery maker #2 was absorbed into Amati, and later Amati clarinets therefore have some characteristics shared with many of the other makers absorbed into Amati.

I'll get you a few photos of a Bohemian mystery maker #2 next to a much later Amati. I think it could  be said that Amati keywork in style could be a derivative of the style of Bohemian mystery maker #2. It is not the same metal and there are quite a few differences throughout, the G# notwithstanding.
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2017, 07:24:00 AM »
Here's a Lucian Bassi in a British Collection: http://www.mimo-db.eu/MIMO/infodoc/ged/view.aspx?eid=OAI_IMAGE_PROJECTS_LIB_ED_AC_UK_10683_16747

It's a plateau model. Note the pointed throat trill humps, note also there is a different G# type, and of course the RH5 cluster is not the same "long fingernails" shape as the Lucian Bassi in the listing originally posted. This might be a stencil name, or perhaps the plateau model borrowed the keywork from another maker. The LJ ring system is very much like the Bettoney 3* plateau model of USA origin.

I was initially quite thrilled with a Bohemian mystery maker #2 clarinet with a new name I hadn't seen. Of course what I was hoping to find was a real Czech person name Lucian Bassi, hence putting a name on Bohemian mystery maker #2. With so little information, it is still a plausible solution. What we need to look for then are any other names on clarinets that match the 5 we know of. When we find one that is a real person, we know Bohemian mystery maker #2, and that is who built that specific Lucian Bassi that is originally in question.

As an aside, one clarinet by BMM#2 is now available listed as a Pierre Dupont. A genuine later Amati stenciled "Artist" is also currently available or was recently.

Also acknowledge that the particular curved G# key type appears commonly on the clarinets of two USA manufacturers, Pruefer and Pedler Woodwinds. Photos of a BMM#2 and a later Amati will be posted in due time. Stay tuned.  ;)
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2017, 08:42:44 AM »
Here are some photos, Amati on top, BMM#2 below. These show why Amati is a good guess, but can be ruled out due to the anachronism. There are indeed many tell-tale details that show that these are at least related if not the same maker. Given the time frames, BMM#2 had a good deal of influence on the later Amati design.
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Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2017, 08:52:06 AM »
Finally a few details that show the influence of BMM#2 on the later Amati;- register vent key, angle and general spacing of the RH5 cluster. Also note the country of origin marks in the final photo. Sorry the mark on the Amati is not sharp, this was shot close and at a slight angle. One can still see that the Amati is marked "Czechoslovakia" and BMM#2 is marked "Czecho-Slovakia". That difference demarcates post WW2 from pre-WW2. BMM#2 could have made the Amati what it is in many ways, but Amati could not have made BMM#2.
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Offline Dibbs

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2017, 05:33:11 AM »
I got the Lucian Bassi yesterday.  The side Eb/Bb had got bent out of place in transit but was easily bent back again.  Then the pad on the register key fell out so I had to fix that.  Then I had to adjust the crow's foot and long Bb mechanism.  So 1/2 an hour's work and I had a very playable instrument.

The intonation is very good with the original mouthpiece but less so with a modern Vandoren.  I guess it has a largish bore though I haven't measured it.  I have a Peter Eaton mouthpiece for a B&H 1010 so I'll probably try with that this evening.  It has a big open sound, good for jazz or klezmer.

Not bad for £68.

Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2017, 07:09:15 AM »
Does the Lucian Bassi have tone hole inserts? Both of the "twins" have tone hole inserts.

I am very pleased that we have a BMM#2 in playable condition and that your evaluation of this Lucian Bassi marked one is favorable. The unmarked twins (these do have serials and country of origin marks) need considerably more work to be made playable and now it appears that it will be worth the effort.

With a few examples recorded now, my twins, and the Bassi, we can start to piece together a serial record for Bohemian Mystery Maker #2. The twins are (spaced a bit for twins) are # 618 and # 50611. The Grenadier reportedly has no serial.

The serial format and font is different on the twins, the 618 being very tiny numbers on the middle bottom back of the lower joint. #50611 has larger numbers printed on the botton of the LJ to the right of the lowest post. Does the Bassi have a number like either of those two?
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Offline Airflyte

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2017, 07:35:02 AM »
I think I have a clarinet to add to this thread, I just have to find it!  I have been in simple system mode lately and packed all the Boehm instruments away.
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Offline Dibbs

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2017, 04:11:43 AM »
Does the Lucian Bassi have tone hole inserts? Both of the "twins" have tone hole inserts.

I am very pleased that we have a BMM#2 in playable condition and that your evaluation of this Lucian Bassi marked one is favorable. The unmarked twins (these do have serials and country of origin marks) need considerably more work to be made playable and now it appears that it will be worth the effort.

With a few examples recorded now, my twins, and the Bassi, we can start to piece together a serial record for Bohemian Mystery Maker #2. The twins are (spaced a bit for twins) are # 618 and # 50611. The Grenadier reportedly has no serial.

The serial format and font is different on the twins, the 618 being very tiny numbers on the middle bottom back of the lower joint. #50611 has larger numbers printed on the botton of the LJ to the right of the lowest post. Does the Bassi have a number like either of those two?

It may have ebonite tone hole inserts.  I'ts hard to tell.  The tops are very flat and shiny with no sign of grain but I can't see a join.

It doesn't have a serial number.

Offline Silversorcerer

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Re: Lucian Bassi
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2017, 07:56:50 AM »
Ebonite tone hole inserts were also used by Pruefer and Penzel- Mueller, particularly during  the WW1 era when the two companies were partners and shared the same label. There are probably more makers that did this. This step in manufacturing at the time was applied to professional quality clarinets and required a considerable degree of additional labor beyond the more typical all wooden manufacture. The advantage is more durability and smoothness where the fingers must seal the tone holes. This feature confirms what I originally suspected about the "twins";- that these were indeed intended to be professional clarinets.

I think Heyworth was able to offer these at a value price point because of the depressed central European economy that followed WW1, not because these were of lower quality. It was a good deal then and for a vintage pro quality instrument, it is still a good deal.

The one pesky problem that can arise is mostly a result of poor maintenance regarding oiling and dimensional changes that result in oil starved wood. This definitely applies to the "twins" while it appears that your Lucian Bassi was better maintained. The twins are both lighter brown in color, which generally is the case with oil starved grenadilla. Both had barrel cracks, one had dual barrel cracks with the rings holding the two separate parts of the barrel together. One of the twins has a hairline crack between two of the tone hole inserts. So that is the primary potential problem with tone hole inserts;- that the wood around them might shrink against the more stable hard rubber and result in these small cracks. In the case of the twins, these are small nuisances that will most likely close up with oil saturation, which is underway. I've already successfully repaired the barrels.

Keeping the Bassi topped up a couple of times a year with a good vegetable oil based bore oil should prevent any problems. You have probably the best preserved example I've seen by this mystery maker whose instruments likely deserve at least the same esteem as the professional model Kohlert clarinets built during the same period. I look forward to hearing more about it as you enjoy getting to know this one.

The serialization of these is apparently inconsistent. Even the "twins" exhibit different serialization marks. The one marked Grenadier reportedly had no serial number, like the Bassi. Eventually we will see an example that is signed by the true maker. In that we have the best documentation on the Bassi brand, I think I might refer to these as "Bassi"-type clarinets. It's easier than calling them BMM#2.
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