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Jeff Krieger

Unusual Bass Bar Placement

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It would appear it has been like his a long time.  I imagine that less cleats down the middle and a nice new bar would work wonders for it. Just a guess though.

DLB

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Well now! That's a bit different!

Did you get to hear it before dismantling?

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16 hours ago, Jeff Krieger said:

Any ideas as to why the bass bar would be placed at this angle?

There are/have been a lot of DIY violin tinkerers out there.  And, like a million monkeys with typewriters, eventually you will get something we think is funny.

Actually, I think there is some psychological drive to do abnormal stuff:  "to be better, it has to be different."

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22 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Probably too long to fit in the normal place

:D Indeed!

While unusually positioned, maybe it would work if it was shorter. It is unusual to run across good-sounding fiddles with less than 3.5cm between the end of the bass bar and the plate edge.

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Looks much like a mandolin tonebar... wider and lower and going fromend to end. Perhaps mandolin maker replaced the bar?

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BTW, the cello was made by Moses Tewkesbury, an early American maker from New England. One of his basses is played in the orchestra I play in, the Hartford Symphony.

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Moses Tewksbury was born in 1787 and he died in 1860.  According to Wenberg, he worked in Chester, New Hampshire, in the 1830s through the 1850s.  His working methods were typical of early New England makers.  According to Darcy Kuronen, curator of musical instruments at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, "Most of the few luthiers active in New England before the mid-nineteenth century were apparently self-taught, and probably had little opportunity to examine well-made European instruments.  But they likely had access to older examples of string instruments that had yet to be modernized, and presumably adopted their assembly techniques from these models...These archaic features are easily observed in the numerous surviving bass viols from New England...New England instruments (especially bass viols) often contain a bass bar placed at a more pronounced angle...Few surviving instruments by [Moses] Tewksbury are known, but among  these are three bass viols...[1832, 1832 & 1844]...a double bass...[circa 1835]…[and two violins, 1840 & 1853]"  (From the Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, Volume XXVIII, 2002.)

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