Two basses undergoing intensive restoration: an early American example from the”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, a half size instrument, is a beautiful example of the unique construction techniques practiced by the early “bass viol” makers in the Concord New Hampshire area.
The second instrument undergoing a lengthy restoration appears to be a twin to the Scott LaFaro busetto corner Prescott. A comparison of photographs published in Bass Player Magazine in 2009, shows the wood in the back of these two instruments match. Another twin to the bass in the Asetta workshop was found in the string instrument museum of Mittenwald, Germany.
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, the late 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. 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.
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
- April 6, 2023