Two basses undergoing intensive restoration, one an example from the early American “Prescott family,” the second a busetto corner instrument, over 200 years old
Meticulous work underway with the goal of returning two centuries old instruments to playable condition for today’s performance specifications. One is a half size instrument, a beautiful example of the unique construction techniques practiced by the early “bass viol” makers in the Concord New Hampshire area.
The second appears to be a twin to the Scott LaFaro busetto corner Prescott based on comparison of photographs (published in Bass Player Magazine in 2009) of the wood in the back of this instrument. Another twin was found in the string instrument museum of Mittenwald, Germany.
Special features of the construction association with “Yankee” basses are: the unique linings to the ribs, joined f holes, and a boot or foot neck. The smaller of the instruments in restoration also has an unusual peg box which is open in the rear, back side.
The top of the busetto cornered bass has been re-arched with a new bass bar and sound post patch completed. The lining must be redone, and then reassembly can begin after revisiting previous internal restoration of the rest of the bass.
The half size Yankee (“shortstop”!!) was given to me by dear friend and mentor Louis DiLeone. Lou had the bass for many years, during this time it had a temporary back attached. Lou also had the original back, although this was in 2 pieces and was missing all of the back braces. Mike has re-attached the back halves, the braces are made and ready to attach.
Work progresses on both of these projects as time allows, with priority given to outside customer’s repair work.
For information about this instrument, the many other vintage basses or early “church” viols in Mike Asetta’s collection, or your own instrument restoration needs, please contact Mike at 860-685-1621.
Inquiries invited: email email@example.com
- historic string instrument, luthier, prescott bass
- May 18, 2020