2009 Romanian-made Flatback 3/4 Double Bass


Our bowed guy Andy has owned this carved-top, flatback, solid-wood instrument since it was new in 2009. It was bought through Paul Perley Cellos (a high-quality local shop) and ordered from Shar Music. The original label inside read, "Made in Romania" with a serial number of "58307" but it was removed when work was done to the instrument some time back (as it was glued to one of the braces). It looks like very similar basses are found under the Kohr brand these days, though this one is a leg or two up in quality compared to the current flatback model they offer as it has a glossier finish and nicer fittings.

Paul's shop planed the fingerboard, thinned all of the back braces, and shaved/recarved the top plate ("tuned" it) to give it a better voice around 2016. This is serious and expensive work that does make a huge difference in how an instrument responds and sounds. A new bridge was fit as well and a lighter-weight tailpiece installed, too. Andy got a quality gigbag for it and it's already fit with a bow holster. I'm using a decent carbon fiber, German-grip bow in the video and, if need be, I can include that with the bass if desired.

As far as who should be playing this -- it's definitely voiced more for orchestral or bowed work. It responds well and sounds gorgeous with a bow. I feel quite sheepish because in the video I play it so poorly and I also forgot to remove the tuner clamped to the bridge! Still, the bass obviously did not care about that at all because it sounds like a champ in the video -- full and round and perhaps overdriving the mic a bit as it's got plenty of power. Plucked, it has a sweet, round, and rich sound but it doesn't "punch" or "boom" like a lightweight Kay or the like from the '40s or '50s. Carved basses tend to not respond to plucking as fast as the ply-top instruments, however, so this is as-normal to me.

Andy has a set of newer Thomastik Belcanto (~$350) strings on it and they sound and feel lush, as you'd expect. It's in excellent shape and only has the most minor of usewear evident. It comes with the mentioned quality gigbag ($350) and a very nice stand/stool combination -- all great accessories to have if you're getting serious about playing double bass.