There is relatively little information written about
Corsby. In a chapter about Samuel Gilkes (1787-1827) the highly
researched volume - 'The British Violin' published in 2000
by The British Violin Making Association mentions Corsby and John
Morrison (1760-1827) in passing as indistinguished makers and dealers
of the time.
More substantial is The 'Dictionary Of British Violin
And Bow Makers' by Dennis G. Plowright (Published in 1994 by the
author.) who comes up with a paragraph (nine lines) on the maker.
Plowright informs us that Corsby worked in Princes Street, Leicester
Square, London between 1790 and 1830 and confirms that the workmanship
is pretty ordinary and that materials are frequently of small figure.
He also notes that slab cut English sycamore was the favoured material
The inside table has the pencil inscription Maker
- Corsby / London on the upper treble side. We don't doubt
the authenticity of this inscription for one moment. The form and
style of making confirm that this is without question an instrument
from the early nineteenth century.
The following are strongly suggestive if not typical
of the form and style of double basses making in England in the
late eighteenth and early nineteenth century.
- The full size of instrument.
- The viol shape.
- The flat back with an angle break that commences
quite low down the upper back.
- The use of outside linings.
The above four features can be seen in the majority
of double basses made by Joseph Hill (1715-1784) and in the instruments
of Corsby's contemporaries such as William Booth 1 (1780-1853) and
Thomas Dodd 1 (1764-1834).
Yes there are. The timber used in the manufacture
of this instrument is typical of Corsby's output.
- The table wood is made from a spruce of exceedingly
- The back, ribs and scroll are made of English sycamore
of little or no figure.
- The back of this instrument is cut on the slab.
This instrument may not be the most visually stunning
but it is most attractive for several other reasons.
- Structurally it's in absolutely fabulous
condition. The back has a totally new brace system and centre
joint studs. The front boasts a new bass bar of the correct length
and depth. All cracks have been washed out and re-studded. There's
a new neck, fingerboard and set up to the highest standard imaginable.
- The sound. It's absolutely awesome. You'll fit
into any pro-section just fine with this.
- Price. The price tag of £ 40 000-00 is
particularly attractive. It's now virtually impossible to find
any English instrument of such condition and age for below this
price - let alone one by a known nineteenth century maker.
- Investment potential. You're going to earn a living
with this instrument and by the time you retire who knows how
much it will be worth. We can promise you that it will certainly
be a great deal more than you paid for it.
- Upgrade. If at any stage of your career you find
an instrument at the 'The Contrabass Shoppe' that you like even
more than this Corsby - then just bring it back and we'll be most
happy to part exchange it.
An affordable English instrument for a professional
orchestral player. Absolutely tons of volume. Absolutely tons of
pure deep-dark mature tonal quality.
Width at the upper bout 22.0in (55.9cm)
Width at the centre bout 15.25in (38.7cm)
Width at the lower bout 27.5in (70.0cm)
LOB 46.5in (118.0cm)
St length 42.35in (107.5cm)