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Letters of Recommendation

To all our fabulous customers

"Thank you for all your E-mails and letters complementing us on the standard of our instruments, the design and efficiency of our web site and on the service we provide. Your comments and recommendations are very much appreciated and confirm precisely that healthy sounding, well-presented instruments are just what today's bass playing fraternity want to get their hands on. Here are some excerpts from our mail favourites."

Anthony Houska - Director of The Contrabass Shoppe


YEAR: 2008
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Subject: Still amazing
Hi Tony,
Just wanted to tell you that I'm still in love with the Briggs.
Kind regards,
Florian G. - Germany. June 2008.


Subject: Order-7140396
Hi Tony,
That's really great! Thanks so much for despatching it with expedience and for charging the shipping only once. It'll be at work until 5PM to receive it anyway.
Regards,
Magnus W. - UK. May 2008.


Subject: Briggs copy
Hi Tony,
How are you? Trust you are well. I thought it's about time I contacted you.
I am very pleased with what will be my purchase, so you can invoice me at your convenience.
I am glad I made the pilgrimage and basically, mission accomplished.
Thanks again for being such a gracious host.
All the best,
James N. - Ireland. May 2008.


Subject: Limited edition carved Hungarian bass
Hi Tony.
This email is late coming and the sentiments are overdue. For this - apologises.
The bass you suggested and sold to me is a dream come true. As I told you there has been a gap of nearly fifty years between my last double bass and this one - I have been playing bass guitars in the intervening period - but this convinces me I should have never sold my first one, except that probably I would never have acquired such a fabulous instrument. It has a wonderful tone, unbelievable sustain and since the modifications to the neck and action that Laurence did, it is an absolute joy for me to play. So far I have done 6 gigs with it that otherwise I would have played on guitar and the response from 'fans' and fellow players has been overwhelmingly positive. They, too, love the sound and, of course, the way that effects the overall sound of the band I am working with. The decorative carving on the back and front, which initially put me off even considering it because they seemed ostentatious, have become a major talking point - particularly with the ladies!! - and as I don't even notice them now they can be considered as another plus.
I have been making reasonable progress in adjusting my technique to the larger instrument which I am finding much more physical and tiring but well worth the effort.
So, all in all, I am very happy bassist and delighted with the bass which is so wonderful that it deserves to be unique. (Therefore please don't sell any more like this one)
However I want to thank you for your patience in showing me such a range of fine instruments, any one of which might well have suited me and interested in the double bass - nowhere else did I encounter such excellent service in my three month search for an instrument.
In a nutshell, (if you want something to quote), "Great service from a friendly expert, to provide a fabulous instrument that is right for me. "
Thanks again - you did a great job.
Best wishes for our success.
John P. - UK. April 2008.


Subject: Exceedingly rare Italian Double Bass
Hi Tony,
Wow this is one sweet bass! Nice job.
It is a beauty to behold.
Joe H. - USA. April 2008.


Subject: Just Wendy - a quick line in appreciation!
Tony,
I have to write as I think my tea from The Shoppe mug.
I am gradually getting to know this beautiful instrument from your workshop. I have never played a bass before where the high notes on the A and D stringws are as good to play as high notes on the G string.
Then the really low notes - what can I say? Such richness! I am keeping the lowest string at C instead of B because it suits me better, and I have been using that fingering for quite a long time now.
Thank you again,
Wendy W. - UK. April 2008.


Subject: Bass anchor
Hi Tony,
Thank you for sending the bass anchor so quickly.
Danny, my nine year old son, is very pleased with it and is very proud of his new shiny key ring.
He's looking forward to the day when he can afford one of your double basses to go with!
Best wishes,
Caroline C. - UK. March 2008


Subject: Bass wheel
Hi,
Thank you for the confirmation. Everything was fine with the wheel until it was stolen, hence me having to buy a new one as it was so good!
Thanks again.
Clare L. - UK. March 2008.


Subject: Schandle Bass
Hi Tony.
Thanks - yep - bass is superb!
Cheers,
Paul J. - UK. February 2008.


Subject: 5 String Basses
Dear Tony,
It's now already more than a week after I had the opportunity to visit your great Contrabass Shoppe.
It was overwhelming to see so many fantastic instruments!
Even if it's still one of my dreams playing a 5-string bass I did not reach a decision, so far.
In any case I very much appreciated your very friendly and customer orientated manner in which you showed me all of your jewels.
I am very grateful to you, for that.
I hope you are well and send you my best regards from Switzerland.
Susann B. - Switzerland. February 2008.


Subject: Order-6807551
Dear Tony,
Thank you for your note and your prompt response to my order which arrived spot on time, Wednesday 9th of January, in the morning.
You may be amused to learn that on the 3rd of December I ordered some rosin - just rosin, mark you - from another supplier. It never arrived. After twenty one identical computer generated messages saying the delivery date had been put forward (and this would never happen again) I lost patience, complained and cancelled the order. This was acknowledge with an airy "Hi, Order cancelled. Cheers". No apology, no sign of a refund.
You will appreciate my relief and delight at your friendly efficiency.
Thank you once more. I'll be back.
David E. - UK. January 2008


Subject: Davis - 5 String Bass
Hey Tony,
I shall be popping in, in February.
I have been offered Marconcini, Roggieri, Stadelmamm etc. But your offerings look so good, especially the Davis Bass.
I hope you are serious about the gigantic sound, personally I am just so amazed by the pictures!
Best regards,
Mikko M. - Finland. January 2008.

YEAR: 2007
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Subject: Old double bass value
Dear Tony Houska,
Thanks for your reply. Your mail was certainly of help to me!
Nuno P. - Portugal. December 2007.


Subject: Carbon End Pins
Dear Anthony,
I tried your End Pin and it works great.
Now I would like to sell these End Pins in Germany through my company. Do you already have a distributor in Germany?
Peter V. - Germany. December 2007.


Subject: Carbon End Pins
Dear Anthony,
I tried your End Pin and it works great.
Now I would like to sell these End Pins in Germany through my company. Do you already have a distributor in Germany?
Peter V. - Germany. December 2007.


Subject: Order 6706627
Dear Mr Houska,
I have received both the invoice and the parcel today - thank you very much! The end-pin unit especially looks great, I can't wait to have it installed.
Thank you for your efficient and personal service.
Wishing you a Happy Christmas,
Maja P. - Portugal. December 2007.


Subject: Order-6681798
Thank you for the prompt dispatch, I received it today and was very happy with it!
Thanks,
Lucy S. - UK. November 2007.


Subject: My purchase
Hi Tony,
The bass is playing and sounding great and all my fellow musician friends are astounded by the sound.
Thanks again for your help and I hope to catch up with you again someday.
All the best,
Duncan L. - UK. October 2007.


Subject: Prokop bass
Dear Tony,
Thank you for your information, I really appreciate it. You have a great service for your clients and I hope the best for you.
Please let me know if you find another bass by this maker.
Best regards,
Mona Z. - Indonesia. October 2007.


Subject: The bow is great!
Hi Tony,
The bow is great! So much easier to play fast pieces and brings out the quality of the instrument even more on the lower strings.
The Bosh CD is magnificent. The instrument has such a fine timbre and richness of tone. No doubt a combination of the bow and the player as well.
It really helped me appreciate Bottesini as well.
Regards and thanks for your hospitality.
Charles E. - France. September 2007.


Subject: Double bass
Hello Tony,
My father and I would like to thank you for all your help, the service you provided was excellent and very welcoming.
Best wishes,
Sebastian F.P. - UK. August 2007.


Subject: Double bass hire
Tony,
I've been meaning to drop you a line just to say thanks for getting the double bass to Highgrove the other week.
The party was a great success and the guests enjoyed the Hungarian entertainment during the reception.
Thanks again,
Sarah F., Premier Mode Events - UK. August 2007.


Subject: Spectacular website
Just a quick "Hello" to Mr. Houska to say your website is SPECTACULAR!
Whoever writes the description of each instrument should be commended; after reading just a few, I want to fly to London and buy, buy, buy! Great work!
Patrick H. - USA. July 2007


Subject: Thank you!
Dear Tony,
I just wanted to let you know that my bass is sounding really amazing since you did the bridge and soundpost.
I'm also enjoying my new low notes a lot.
Last Saturday I did Mahlar 3 which has several very tricky low bits (probably not the best introduction to the joys of a C extension) and it worked very well.
The cellos particularly appreciate my low C's!
Thanks so much for your brilliant work and for getting it done so quickly.
Best wishes,
Philippa M. - UK. June 2007.


Subject: Ebony tailpiece
Tony,
Thanks for getting back to me!
Have emailed several other shops but none of them have bothered to respond.
I would love to go ahead with the ebony tailpiece.
Please send me the secure link and I will order it straight away.
Thanks again for your help.
Regards,
Elaine B. - UK. June 2007.


Subject: Bass tailpiece
Tony,
My accessories have arrived and I am really pleased. I am looking forward to having the tailpiece fitted!
Thanks again for all your help.
Best regards,
Elaine B. - UK. June 2007.


Subject: Website
Dear Sir,
First of all, who does the writing and updates on your website? They are outstanding.
Informative, interesting and with a bit of humour, I have enjoyed reading them and always come away a little more knowledgeable.
Kind regards,
Robin L. - France. May 2007.


Subject: Website
Definitely one of the best contrabass dealer websites.
Keep on groovin'!
Setiawan I. - Indonesia. May 2007.


Continental yew-wood carving of a street musician circa 1840. Height: 173.5cm
Continental yew-wood carving of a street musician circa 1840. Height: 173.5cm

Subject: String order
Hi Tony,
Package arrived safe and sound.
Just a big thanks for taking the time to chat about these strings on the phone the other day.
They are awesome, great tone etc.
All the best,
Martin B. - UK. February 2007.


Subject: Website
Love your site!
Henry N. - USA. February 2007.


Subject: Wood carving
The Continental Wood Carving shown in your Double Bassist Magazine Ad, issue number 43 (Winter 07).. What a great carving!!
Clark B. - USA. February 2007.


Subject: Endpin unit
Just mailing to say thanks for sending the bass endpin unit, they arrived today.
Thank you for the prompt attention!
Kind regards,
Trevor and Hildy W. - Australia. January 2007.


Subject: Thir bass
Dear Tony,
I'm very happy to inform you that the bass arrived yesterday in an excellent shape.
I've already started to get acquainted with this beautiful instrument, and I think it's safe to say that this will turn out to be a very profitable investment for me.
I would also like to thank you for the hydrometer and all the additional info about keeping it in shape; I'll make sure to follow all of them.
Thanks again for everything and I'll try to keep in touch for questions, and a possible upgrade in the future.
Cheers,
Nikos T. - Greece. January 2007.
YEAR: 2006
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Subject: Report from Sweden
Dear Tony,
I am more than happy with the way you treated me as a customer. I had your full attention for almost two days and got all assistance I could ask for in selecting an instrument (and a bow) that would be optimal for me, my purpose and my budget.
Many thanks for your exemplary service.
Olle S. - Sweden. December 2006.


Subject: Guadagnini bass
Dear Tony,
As you know, I have had my bass for more than a year now, and I am still extremely fascinated by it, and it gives me a lot of joy.
Dealing with you in the process of purchase was a pleasure from day one. I recommend you to everybody!
Best regards,
Christian M. - Norway. November 2006.


Subject: Concert over with success
Dear Tony,
Just thought I'd let you know I played the Dittersdorf concerto last Sunday on the Stadlmann copy bass in Viennese tuning, as planned, and with good success, I believe.
And everyone agree the bass sounds great. I am still very happy about it and look forward to taking up other projects on it.
Best regards,
Ture D. - Denmark. November 2006.


Subject: Thanks!
Hi Tony,
The stool is great - just the ticket!
Kind regards,
David F. - UK. February 2006.
YEAR: 2004
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Subject: The Hungarian (well half Hungarian)
Hi Tony,
Thanks for the valuation received this morning & for your help with the instrument changeover.
I couldn't have asked for a better service. Long live The Contrabass Shoppe!
Cheers for now,
Geoff P. - UK. September 2004.


Subject: Thanks Tony.
Dear Tony,
The bass is wonderful. It's revolutionised my playing and I'm getting lots more work!
It gives me a thrill every time I play it!
Hope you are well,
Simon C. R. - UK. August 2004.


Subject: Hi!
Just wanted to write and let you know how much I appreciated your service a few weeks back! I had a great time trying out your instruments, and your shop will definitely be the first on my list when it comes to upgrade my bass!
I am still in heaven after trying the 1600's Italian bass! What an instrument! So now I'm in the lottery every week! If I win I'll be at your door! Hehe.....
Frode B. - Norway. August 2004.


Subject: Bow case order
Thanks for sending the bow case - it arrived today with no problems and is great. The quiver is still doing well. I don't know what I'd do without it!
Pippa M. - UK. July 2004.


Subject: Re: Bass
I was going to write but you beat me to it - good after-sales care.
Its wonderful and whilst we were two cellos instead of four at orchestra practice on Monday the conductor kept looking at me especially in the quiet bits as he could make out the bass and he didn't know quite why. I could also sense a real difference in my contribution especially in the lower register and the clarity of tone is so evident.
My teacher was in total admiration (almost jealous?) and my weekly lesson of an hour was one and a half with her on my instrument! .....
.... It gives me so much confidence and pleasure to play and I am as happy as a bunny as they say. I have even found an accompanist to play in preparation for my exam in mid June and for the pleasure, of course. I feel I have entered a new phase of music making. Thanks for your part in that.
Kind regards,
Charles E. - France. May 2004.


Subject: Lamy bass!!!
Dear Anthony!!!
Had a fantastic time in London, which is a beautiful town to be in at any time, but this time was something more, of course.
And, good to see you! You really seem to be doing well with your "Shoppe". Wish I'd come to you last year though...But I know for sure where to go next time.
Needless to say, I'm happy with the bass...!!!
Best regards from,
Hans B. - Sweden. May 2004.


Within the contact form was the following:
Interest: Hawkes basses
Comments: I enjoyed reading your notes on your Hawkes basses. I myself own a Hawkes Concert bass in excellent condition that I obtained from Robertson's Violin - here in the southwest USA. I was wondering if you might be able to give me an estimate on the date - my label is missing the date, but the bass is numbered 3494, not far from the Professor I saw on your site. If you know of anywhere I could find out more info in general, I would appreciate it. Very impressive site and shop.
Robin R. - USA. May 2004.

Reply from The Contrabass Shoppe to Robin R.
Dear Robin
Thanks for your mail, taking a look at our web site and your complements (always appreciated).
Re: Your Hawkes bass. If your bass is a flat back it is definitely a Professor. Unfortunately I can't really help you with the year of manufacture in relationship to the serial number. To my knowledge there are no records available. Having said that I may well start recording this info from the instruments that I come across - but obviously this would be a long-term project. From your pictures I'd say that your bass was certainly made after 1900 - and before 1930 but couldn't be any more specific than that.
Enjoyed your web site very much. Listened to a few clips of music - enjoyed them too and will certainly listen to some more - time permitting. Looks like you enjoy your music. Looks like you're quite a star.
If you're ever in London - do pop in and have a go on a few basses.
Yours sincerely,
AMH - The Contrabass Shoppe. May 2004.


Within the contact form was the following:
Name: James S., Workshop Director, Utah, "BassFest"
Comments: Very nice web page regarding double basses and bows. It's a pleasure to browse through your inventory. Thank you for the presentation and fine photos.
Sincerely,
James S. - USA. May 2004.


Subject: A wonderful day
Hello Tony,
Just wanted to thank you for the wonderful day I spent at your shop. Still trying to figure out a way to afford the Guadagnini.
Its remarkable instrument, I'm just not sure I can figure it in my budget.
Will keep in touch, all the best.
Jon D. - Germany. March 2004.


Subject: Happy shopper...
Tony,
It was a pleasure to chat to you today and tell you how happy I am with the bass. .... Once again thank you for being instrumental in what is a significant moment in my musical life - my first double bass.
Regards,
Kevin D. - UK. March 2004.


Subject: Hawkes basses
Dear Contrabass Shoppe,
I read your description of the Hawkes Panormo bass. I thank you for having a web site that gives much information on basses and their makers.
Kyle B. - USA. March 2004.


Subject: Wed 10/03/04
Dear Tony,
Thank you for showing me your double bass selection. I've been playing mine this weekend and mentally (and visually) comparing. It is the Central European bass that made a lasting impression. I need to give this some more thought but wanted to drop a line to say how much I enjoyed the outing. Thanks for the contact details re: bow restoration and Leicester specialists.
Liz B. - UK. March 2004.


Within the contact form was the following:
Interest: Hi, I am looking to purchase a double bass and wondered whether I might be able to try a few on Saturday afternoon? I have a budget of about £**** and need an instrument with quite low action that responds well to amplification. I am a jazz player embarking on an imminent recording project.. also the instrument I have needs a new bridge and setting up. Could I bring it with me for an assessment?
Cheers,
Simon C. R. - UK. March 2004.

Reply from The Contrabass Shoppe to Simon Russell
Subject: Hungarian double bass
Dear Simon,
Hope that you are still pleased with the Hungarian double bass. Would you like to proceed with purchase of same?
Yours sincerely AMH.
Reply from Simon Russell to The Contrabass Shoppe
YES YES YES
(ahem) (calms down)
I am overjoyed - should have come to you 5 years ago! Please invoice me.
Thanks again for your time and expertise on Saturday,
Simon C. R. - UK. March 2004.


Subject: First lesson with bass...
Dear Tony,
Had my first lesson (bass in tow) today with Jeff Clyne. He was very impressed with the case and my ability to extract it from the saloon. Peeled open the maroon balloon and he was making appreciative noises from the start. I understand him to not be someone say things he doesn't believe.
Long shot is, he thought it was lovely, and that I was making a good sound on it and that we would make a good partnership (that's me and the bass, obviously). I think he was especially impressed that you had supplied a bass that was well sorted and beautifully presented. I of course told him of your impressive guarantee policies... These points are something of which you have an advantage over my experience at **w8ts (another shop). They are lovely and very accommodating there, but for the inexperienced player, its not enough to say pick up this dusty bass from the corner, play it, and anything you don't like we can sort out. A little difference, but telling. A big difference really!
Jeff sorted out my bowing, but it's primarily jazz pizz stuff and has given me lots of things to work on but most importantly he's given me the confidence to get stuck in.
We made his trouser legs flap at ten feet!
Regards and best wishes.
Kevin D. - UK March 2004.


Subject: Guadagnini
Hallo Tony,
Just wanted to thank you for the wonderful day I spent at your shop.
Still trying to figure out a way to afford the Guadagnini. It's a remarkable instrument.
Will keep in touch,
Jon D. - Germany. March 2004.


Subject: Payment
Dear Tony,
Please find enclosed the cheque for £**** as agreed for the double bass and case.
Many thanks for your invaluable advice and for the fine instrument I have.
Best regards,
Simon C. R. - UK. March 2004.


YEAR: 2003
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Subject: Fancy-schmancy bass bib
Dear Tony,
I must tell you I brag shamelessly about your magnificent bib. It's really sumptuous and everything fits in the pockets. My 1820 Prescott deserves the very best of accessories and is well served by your glorious bib. I'm overwhelmed.
Thank you,
Don C.. - USA. December 2003.


Within the contact form was the following:
Interest: Looking for quality/top-quality bass/bow.
Comments: Great website.
Christopher P. - USA. December 2003.


Subject: Th. Dodd Bass?
I'm a jazz student at the Arnhem School of Music in The Netherlands. Last year I bought an instrument which has a label inside signed by Th. Dodd. I was wondering if this is a genuine label or just a silly joke by some instrument maker, but I am unable to find any pictures or information on Dodd instruments. Can you help me?
Yours sincerely,
Constantijn van der H., The Netherlands, December 2003.

The Contrabass Shoppe's mail to Constantijn van der H.
Dear Constantijn
Thanks for the images. I was wishing your instrument to be a Dodd - but unfortunately it has nothing to do with the maker. There are quite considerable variations between each image - in the colour of the varnish - but even allowing for this I'm pretty certain that your instrument emanates from Czechoslovakia and is certainly after 1920. It appears ......
Overall condition of your instrument - looks healthy.
Yours sincerely AMH.

Reply from Constantijn van der H. to The Contrabass Shoppe
Dear Tony,
Thank you for your time and expertise looking at the pictures of my instrument. Indeed the instrument is in healthy condition and sounding very nice. The neck ....
Anyway, it is really nice to experience that the internet sometimes really functions as a platform to exchange knowledge, on specific subjects. Again, thanks for your time, and I'll keep checking on your great site.
Yours sincerely,
Constantijn van der H. The Netherlands. December 2003.


Subject: Bass
Hi Tony,
Perhaps you remember me: I'm Massimo from Italy - that one year ago visited your Shoppe. When I leaved London I was enthusiast about your bass collection: all your basses are so good presented and all sound great. I remember the sensation I had when I entered in this apartment with basses hanging everywhere, also in the small kitchen....
Would it be possible to arrange another appointment for the 2 or 3 January?
All the best,
Massimo P. - Italy. December 2003.


Subject: My Old Bass
Dear Tony....
I hear that you sold the Villaume bass to an old friend of mine? Well as far as I'm concerned, it couldn't have gone to a nicer bloke...
Me? I'm loving the big, boomy sound of my current instrument...
Hope all is well with you.
Regards,
Del P. - UK. November 2003
.


Subject: Mirecourt bass restoration
Hello Tony.
I spent a couple of days with Paul Langosch in Washington DC.
He's out with Tony Bennett in Texas for a couple of days then onto Las Vegas.
Paul said I could contact you with a question. I'm considering a Verhasselt bass, he and Bill Vaughan have but I'm also interested in a Mirecourt bass he says you restored with a new top.
He couldn't remember who did the work; perhaps it was Roger Dawson? Regardless, I'd like to comment on the quality of work.
It's one of the best setup Mirecourts I've ever encountered. Congratulations to you and your team for resurrecting these beautiful French basses for us Jazz players. Your efforts are noteworthy and appreciated!
I hope to meet you someday soon.
Regards,
Scott R - USA. November 2003.

Reply from The Contrabass Shoppe to Scott R.
Dear Scott
Thanks for all your compliments. Thanks for passing on Paul's regards. He and Bill are both real Gents.
The Verhasselt (worked in Brussels 1820-1850) bass is a very honest instrument. It wasn't restored by my normal restorer and when I got it back - I was very disappointed with some of the varnish touching in work. I seem to remember I took most of it off again. Some of the pegbox restoration wasn't the most sympathetic that I'd ever seen either. Still it is a good looking instrument in fantastic overall condition.
The Mirecourt instrument - came out very well. It was restored by our team- and we decided that the best option was to make a new front. The original table was so badly damaged with post and bass bar cracks that it would have cost an arm and a leg to get back together - and after all that hard work it was still a heavily restored instrument.
No - the new table was an excellent copy of the original - only much better because it had the correct thicknesses and a correctly proportioned, correctly positioned - bass bar. I seem to remember that the sound was very impressive indeed.
Have you looked at our selection of French instruments? There are one or two absolute stunners in at the moment. I particularly like bass #2479 - in Quality Instruments - if you decide not to go for one of Paul's
Yours sincerely,
AMH - The Contrabass Shoppe. November 2003

Reply from Scott R. to The Contrabass Shoppe
Dear Tony,
Thanks for your reply. Congratulations to you and your restorer on that restoration. The bass is great value and I'm thinking the sound of the bass will only improve with time and playing.
I looked at your web site and you undoubtedly have the finest and most extensive collection of French basses I've noticed. #2479 is a stunner; I also like #2437 and of course #2324.
If I don't take the Verhasselt - I may not because of the scroll graft/pegbox/neckwood issue - I'm definitely in the market for a #1 bass as the Mirecourt is slated to be my #2 instrument if I get it.
With best regards,
Scott R. - USA. November 2003.


Within the contact form was the following:
Interest: Looking for a fine quality older instrument.
Comments: Stunning website!
I am a bassist in the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra and am interested in several of the basses on your site. Could you please send me a current price list of your Top Quality instruments. I am interested in making a trip to your shop. Thank you.
Erik G. - USA. October 2003.


Subject: Grazie
Hi Tony,
I want to thank you again for the time you kindly shared with me in your studio where I had the opportunity to see so many beautiful basses.
It was a really great experience.
Cheers,
Sergio P. - South Africa. September 2003.


Subject: Thank you
Dear Contrabass Shoppe,
Just a line to express my thanks for the time that you spent showing me basses on Thursday last week. Even though I came away empty handed, it was such an eye opening experience to see such a great collection of instruments that were wonderfully finished, and reasonably priced (this is as you know, not always the case with instrument dealers). I was especially impressed with 'Continental' twins(!).
Do let me know if you get any more instruments in between £3,000 - £7,000.
With all thanks,
Ian A.& Margaret P. - UK. September 2003.


Subject: Quiver query
Tony, Quiver looks great - can't wait to try it out. Thanks for keeping me in touch and for the speedy service.
Genna S. - UK. September 2003.


Subject: Hours of operation
Hello,
I will be in London on August 29-30 playing with the Pittsburg Symphony. A friend and I would like to visit your shop if you are open. I have viewed your website off and on over the past year and I am always amazed at the selection of fine instruments that you have available. Please let me know if you are open on either of the dates above.
Sincerely,
Aaron W. - USA. August 2004.


Subject: Bass sizes
Thank you ever so much for giving me a definitive answer. It certainly has helped!
Liz McB. - UK. February 2004.


Subject: Thanks
Tony,
Thanks for your help yesterday. I had fun and I think Hugh did too! We got home on the train safely and I am waiting expectantly for today's practice session.
Ian McE. - UK. August 2003.


Subject: I want to be a customer!
Hello Tony,
I was at the ISB Convention in Richmond this June and played over 100 basses. It was a rare pleasure but I did not find one bass that "dream bass" with that "in-the-pocket" feel or even a solid, workhorse instrument for jazz.
Tony, I'm not getting any younger and I want a better bass to inspire my practice and performance, I'm looking each day for a way to get to your shop but if I have to buy #2576 sight-unseen just to prove my sincerity I'll send the funds. I visited the ISB with Paul Langosch and I trust his solid opinion of you and The Shoppe. I like what he prizes in a bass as well. Could you tell me the best time(s) to call so that I can visit with you personally? I've tried the best in New York and had no luck. I want to be a customer!
Regards,
Scott R. - USA. August 2003.


Subject: Trip to London
Dear Mr. Houska,
I am considering a trip to London to try out some instruments. I am very impressed with your web site - bravo! I am curious as to how many bass shops you think I might be able to visit from London in one week. Do you think I might be able to make it to Hamburg? How many shops, spending one day per shop? Thanks very much.
Best,
Dennis W. - USA. July 2003.

Reply to Dennis W. from The Contrabass Shoppe
Dear Dennis,
Thanks for your mail and for taking a look at our web site. I shouldn't bother with any of the other shops - you'll need at least three days to try out everything here. If you can't find an instrument here to die for then I'm in the wrong business.
Yours sincerely,
AMH - The Contrabass Shoppe. July 2003.


Subject: Visit
Dear Anthony,
Thanks for your reply. There was a lot on your webpage to enjoy and I'm looking forward to find some time and see your wonderful collection "live".....
I send you my best wishes,
Renger W. - 1st solo bass Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Germany. July 2003.


The Contrabass Shoppe's mail to Del P.
Subject: The new double bass
Dear Del,
How's the new bass? Is it dark, round, big and full by any chance?
Kind regards from AMH.

Reply from Del P. to The Contrabass Shoppe
Dear Tony....
Oooh! It's so dark I can't see it sometimes.
Talk soon.
Happy of ......
Del P. - UK. July 2003


Subject: The sticker on the inside reads The Concert Double Bass.
Your comments would be very helpful.
Wow. Thank you so much for replying to my e-mail. Your shop looks amazing. I'd be like a kid in a sweet shop to walk around your shop - maybe when the student loans paid off I'll have to pay u dudes a visit.
Yours sincerely,
Michael S. - New Zealand. July 2003.


Subject: Payment for double bass
Dear Tony,
Please find enclosed payment of £**** as full settlement against your invoice number ****.
May I take this opportunity to say that I am absolutely delighted with my new bass and am getting happier day by day as I play it more and appreciate the instrument fully.
Although I know I did not buy the most expensive bass in the shop the set up is quite exceptional and makes playing seem easy (if only)!).
I would also like to compliment you on your salesmanship. You create an atmosphere of ease and unhurriedness that I've not yet come across. Your natural laid back approach, your technical know-how and genuine interest in the double bass set you aside as a true professional.
Take it easy.
Duncan J. - UK. June 2003.


Subject: Bow Quiver
Dear Mr Houska,
The bow quiver arrived safely today exactly as promised. Many thanks for your excellent service. I look forward to doing business with you again and will be pleased to recommend your company to fellow musicians.
Yours sincerely,
Mrs B. M. - UK. May 2003.


Subject: Spectacular bass bib arrived! Thanks!
Dear Tony,
Your beautiful Super Deluxe Bass Bib arrived in excellent condition. The industrial strength corduroy with complimenting gold satin lining is stunning - at once nearly bullet proof on the outside and glamorous on the inside. Later this week I'll take it to bass restorer Volker Nahrmann and hang it with honour on my precious 1820 Abraham Prescott. Too bad the bass won't be ready for a Friday concert.
Best regards,
Don C. - USA. May 2003.


Subject: Our Visit to London and The Contrabass Shoppe
Hello Tony,
Just a small mail to thank you for the kind welcome we received at The Contrabass Shoppe and congrats for the astonishing, breathtaking and 'flabbergasting' collection of basses and bows...I will definitely return (my budget permitting me to buy a very decent French bow) and I will spread the word here in Belgium.
Kind regards
Fritz J. - Belgium. April 2003
.


Subject: Budget Instrument Enquiry Form
Dear Tony,
I truly appreciate the time you took to answer my question. Indeed it was very kind of you.
Thank you very much.
John T. - UK. April 2003.


Subject: Instruments #2437 & #2490
Tony!
Man, you're killing me with these beauties. Twice this week I've almost sent you my credit card number. So twice this week I've almost got divorced. Got the correlation? I'm still interested in one of the above referenced beauties, and I'm working on my finances. How much would you give me for a slightly used forty plus old woman?
Robert B. - USA. January 2003.


Subject: Hello
Hello Anthony,
I just wanted to thank you very much for showing me your fine instruments last Friday. I'm impressed by the fine state they are in. It will be a while until I can get to go back to London, but the experience of especially the large Fendt and the Davies, - and I guess the Testore ...(not to mention the incredible Grancino!) is staying with me.
All the best,
Ida R. - Gothenburg Symphony, Sweden. January 2003.


Subject: The budget ....
Dear Anthony
The budget we have is about .....
It's a pity the budget is surely not enough for the Grancino displayed on your web page.
Best regards,
Savio de La C. - Principal Bassist, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, Spain. January 2003.


Subject: Happy new year!
Dear Tony
Thanks for your Christmas message. Hope that you had a good one and all the best for this year.
James O. - South Africa. January 2003.
PS. I saw your new basses. They look great!


YEAR: 2002
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Subject: Visit
Hi Tony,
Thanks for your hospitality (and lunch) last Thursday and the opportunity to check out some of the wonderful basses you have for sale. Remember if you decide that five Lamys are too many you could always swap one (#2437 in particular) for a small(ish) Italian even if it has been restored!
Thanks again,
Geoff P. - UK. December 2002.


Subject: Request for information
Instruments of interest: Every blasted one of them.
Comments: Just spoke to a client of yours here in the Los Angeles area, and he says Tony Houska is the best. If you hear that the largest bank in California was robbed - it was me and I'm coming over to be in the splendour of those beautiful basses as seen on the Internet. Love at first sight!
Robert B. - USA. November 2002.

Reply to Robert B. from The Contrabass Shoppe
Dear Robert
Thanks for your generous comments. I remember you contacting us before - sometime in March.
As it is nearing Christmas it's time that you dropped a few hints to your wife about your need for a new investment. I can guarantee that it will prove to be a better investment than 1) Purchasing a new car. 2) Leaving the money in the bank or building society. 3) Playing Russian roulette with the stock market.
The French Lamy instruments are proving to be excellent investment instruments. As you can see I've got one or two quite spectacular examples. Only two years ago I was selling them for about half the price I am at the moment. But because its practically impossible to find any more - they can only continue to appreciate in value. Beside this fact - the quality of some of them suggests that they should be a lot more expensive.
Please keep an eye on our web site - I've got another three glorious instruments ready. Two more French Thibouville Lamy instruments at £12 600 and £13 600 and a stunning modern Hungarian instrument at
£8 000-00. Can send you the details if you're interested.
Kind regards from AMH - The Contrabass Shoppe.

Reply from Robert B. to The Contrabass Shoppe

Subject: Jerome Thibouville-Lamy Double Basses
Dear Tony,
If their was truly a Santa Claus worth his weight in fish and chips, I would find him, sit on his big over stuffed lap and beg him for either #2437, #2479, #2526, #2491, #2422, or even #2389. Where do you cats find these beauties? I'm hoping to find jolly old Saint Nick so I can pay a visit. I here it's like heaven. Regards,
Robert B. USA. December 2002.


Subject: Basses
Dear Tony.
We sure enjoyed visiting your shop and playing the basses. I very much appreciated all of your time and extensive knowledge and regret not finding exactly what I wanted in your shop. I will certainly tell my colleagues about your place when the subject of bass shopping comes up. Stay in touch.
Sincerely
Francis S. - Member - Los Angeles Philharmonic, USA. September 2002.


Subject: Looking for a jazz double bass
Dear Tony,
You are very kind for all the information you give me.
I had your name from a friend of mine, Stefano Sennni a fine jazz player from Verona (Italy). He bought his last bass in your shop, a good sounding German bass: he knew that I was looking for a better bass so he told me to contact you.
Ciao,
Massimo P. - Italy November 2002.


Subject: Basses for the small user...
Dear Sirs.
I have studied your website with great enthusiasm. I have found it most stimulating and, on the subject of double basses, without equal. Well done!
I am, by profession, a studio engineer and bass guitarist but over the years have searched for a bass that would fill my requirements. Namely, a VERY short scale. I understand that this can be a difficult brief to fill but you seem to have a couple of nice instruments which may serve.
Namely: No. 839 chamber/solo bass
This seems to have an unusually short scale and so I wonder if you could send me some more info regarding this bass. Sound quality, structural stability, etc. Would you recommend this bass for the usual rigours of work? Also, any picture you might have would be appreciated.
I understand this is a big "ask" but I have no real experience of these things and your assistance would be of a great help.
Kindest regards
Del P. - UK August 2002.

Reply to Del P. from The Contrabass Shoppe
Dear Del.
Thanks for your mail and for taking a look at our web site. Your complements are very much appreciated.
There are detailed views of the front, back, ribs and scroll of #839. If you click on the thumbnail image it should expand to give these views. However I'd say that this particular instrument is somewhat off-beat - its an instrument that is somewhat eccentric in size and build and its one that is almost certainly not for you.
No, you want something that is more standardized in form. I note that you write - 'Basses for the small user' in your subject line. I guess that you're not referring to the amount of practice or playing that you're doing - so, for someone of slightly smaller stature I'd recommend you take a look at instrument #2439 - Wilhelm Durrschmidt. It's a real gem. The back length is only 107.5cm (42.25in) and the string length is only 103.5cm (40.75)in - that's about as small as you'll ever get. The instrument is incredibly easy to play, the structure is absolutely fabulous and the sound is very, very good.
Kind regards from AMH.

Reply from Del P. to The Contrabass Shoppe
Dear Anthony
Thanks for your speedy reply and your advice which I will respect as you know infinitely more of these things than I do.
I looked at the bass that you suggested and, I must say, the information you supply regarding it is fantastic. It could well be what I'm after.
What I'd like to do is to come along and spend some time with it (behind closed doors to save my ego a battering) and see how we get along
Again thanks for your help in this.
Kindest regards
Del P. - UK. August 2002

Del P. post-visit. Subject: Payments
Dear Tony,
Great to meet you yesterday. I was impressed by the quality and quantity of the instruments you had for sale. Truly remarkable. I must also say how relaxed and informative the whole process was. In fact I'd love to come back some time just to have a close look at some of those wonderful basses.
The transfer of funds is now in place and it should arrive at your bank by Friday at the latest. Meantime, I'm looking forward to my new "friend" arriving ASAP.
Regards Del P. - UK. August 2002.


Subject: Request for information
Comments: Beautiful site! What is the price of the Albani?
Andrew C. L. - USA. July 2002.


Subject: #2455
Dear Mr Houska,
I'm afraid that a trip to England would be near impossible - but this bass really struck my eye. Is there anyway someone could make a recording of them playing it or something to that extent.
Thank you for your time,
Sincerely Noah R. - USA. July 2002.
P.S. Thanks for the expediency of your first response.


Subject: Question on an Italian double bass
Hello,
My question is regarding a beautiful Italian double bass I have found by maker Renato Scollavezza (circa 1961). I have not been able to find any information on this maker before. Are you familiar with any of his work? The Bass is three-quarter size flat back, with gamba corners and very deep ribs. The scroll is beautifully hand engraved. The bass sounds great! It even looks great! Just thought I'd ask if you've heard of him. Thanks,
Adrian J. - USA. June 2002.

Reply to Adrian J. from The Contrabass Shoppe
Dear Adrian,
Thanks for your mail and for taking a look at our web site.
I looked in a "Dictionary of Twentieth Century Italian Violin Makers" (pub by Marlin Brinser ISBN 0-9602298-1-7 second printing 1982) by Marlin Brinser for you. Brinser classes him as a two star maker (very good) out of three stars.
Here is what the entry says:
SCOLLAVEZZA, RENATO - B. 1927 Parma
Good maker. Won silver medal at National Exhibition. Graduate of School of Violin Making at Cremona. Professional Maker. Member ANLAI - 1966 (Ass'n National Liuteria Artistica Italiana)
Label:
Renato Scrollavezza
Noceto (Parma) fecit annon 19—
Brinser was personally acquainted with this maker.
Hope that this is of some help.
Kind regards from AMH - The Contrabass Shoppe.

Reply from Adrian J. to The Contrabass Shoppe.
Hello Anthony.
Thanks for that reply! That is exactly the information I wanted! I really appreciate it.
Adrian J. - USA. June 2002.


Subject: #2278
I think I've told you before, Tony, how enticingly you write. Did you finish your essay on Bottesini? I'd love to read it. More than that I'd love to have a better bass from The Contrabass Shoppe. It's just that question of money?
Hope all's well and business is thriving.
Good weekend,
Fradley G. - Denmark. May 2002.


Subject: Great site!
Hi, I was a double bass player (about 15 years ago ... I have trouble with my hearing so I had to give up what was becoming a profession) but spent a delightful couple of hours last night going through your whole site! Some interesting reading indeed!
With regards the Francesco & Giovanni Grancino instrument - this looks very similar to the instrument on the cover of "The Grancino Double Bass of Frantisek Posta" - a Czech Philharmonic player who released the album in 1976. There was some great playing on this album and it was a very impressive sound.
Thanks once again - the site brought back many pleasant memories and I don't think (once you have played an old Italian bass) the longing to own an instrument of this type ever leaves one!
Anyway thanks again for a great site!
Steve A. - Australia. May 2002.


Subject: Davies bass inquiry
Tony, I check out your web site regularly. If anyone in the world has a better "high-end" inventory than you do, I don't know about it. From your description, the Davies sounds like a fantastic instrument. Unfortunately, I would have to choose between it and my current wife. My wife's fundamental tones are not that impressive, but the costs of disengagement would be considerably higher than that of the Davies.
Thank you again for your kindness and hospitality when I stopped by last September. I'm hoping that when I next see you, it will be as a buyer.
Cheers,
Peter G. - USA. April 2002.


Subject: Request for information
Instrument #2438 - Jerome Thibouville Lamy circa 1950. I'm sitting here wondering if this instrument sounds as good as it appears on my small 19inch monitor?
Is this instrument currently available and what is the approximate cost to ship this instrument to Los Angeles, California?
Robert B. - USA. March 2002.

And... following an earlier telephone call made to Mr B.
In regards to the e-mail just sent regarding the #2438 Lamy, please respond via e-mail. That way I'm protected from harm done to me by my better half. Thank you.
Robert
Robert B. - USA. March 2002.


Subject: Bass bar
Dear Mr Houska
Thank you very much for your reply. I appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge with me.
Kyle C. - USA. February 2002.


Subject: My bass
Thanks so much for your immediate response. Very kind of you to provide me with your honest views about my bass. Yes, I play jazz and shall drop by your shop if I am in the UK.
Best wishes,
Kenro O. - Japan. February 2002.


Subject: Fruit Cake
Hi Tony,
Thanks for having me over the other week when I was in London. It was great of you to show me all the cool instruments you have there, and the fruitcake was fantastic. Hopefully I'll be back in touch to do some business soon and in the meantime I'll be checking out your web site periodically.
By the way, I saw your link on Talkbass.com, I took the liberty of rating you with five stars!
By for now,
Geoff M. - USA. January 2002.


Subject: Request for information
Tony,
Thank you very much for your precious reply. Your opinion is very reasonable and understandable. If you allow, please keep in contact with me. Really thank you very much.
Katsuhiko K. - Japan. January 2002.


YEAR: 2001
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Subject: Keep up the good work
I just wanted to drop you a line and tell you how much I enjoy looking at the basses on your site. Thanks and keep up the good work.
Ken S. - USA. December 2001
.

Subject: Appointment to visit The Contrabass Shoppe?
Dear Tony,
I apologize for not sending this sooner, but I wanted to write to thank you for the hospitality during my visit to your shop on Friday September 7. Your collection of top-quality instruments is breathtaking, and you were very kind to let me see and play them all. The experience gave me much to consider as I slowly come closer to upgrading, and I will definitely keep you in mind.
Thanks again ever so much,
Peter G. - USA. November 2001.


Subject: Hello from Canada
I have just been perusing your web site "The Contrabass Shoppe" and I must admit you have done a superb job of displaying fine old instruments. Your titbits of information are interesting and appreciated too!
Regards,
Casey T. - Canada. October 2001.


Subject: Inquiry
I visited your shop late July with Domenic Seldis and I think the variety of the instruments was impressive. Thank you for your hospitality and expertness.
Now my friend, a remarkable Finnish jazz player asked me to find an instrument for him to replace his Rubner bass. He would be willing to spend around £***** for it. I already went through your website & think that the Schuster bass #2412 would suit him well. Do you still have it and/or would you recommend something else?
Regards,
Petri L. - Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Finland. September 2001.


Subject: #2350 - Fendt senior
A wonderful instrument.
Sincerely,
Dr. W. R. K. - Germany. August 2001.


Subject: The web site
The web site of The Contrabass Shoppe is very convincing.
Good usability: it's fast and clear. Also the content is inspiring confidence and interesting.
Sampo L. - Finland. May 2001.


Subject: Basses
Tony, I know why many players travel to the UK for instruments and I know why I want to make the journey. There is a great lack of good scholarship here (USA) and many instruments of questionable origin, not to mention having had less than stellar repair.
I do hope to make the journey soon, until then - thanks you for taking the time to respond and answer my many questions.
Sincerely,
Stewart A. - Principal bassist Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. USA. April 2001.


Subject: Print out
Dear Tony,
I've printed out the whole of your web pages and read them every night before I go to sleep. Congratulations on an irresistible website.
Your,
Fradley G. - Denmark. January 2001.


YEAR: 2000
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Subject: Visiting London
Dear Mr Houska,
My friend Lenny F. recommends your collection of basses and bows to see while in London next week.
Sincerely,
Erik D. - Member North Carolina Symphony. USA. October 2000.


Subject: Fendt basses
Dear Mr Houska.
It is a pleasure to visit your website! How much are the Fendt basses and the Dodd?
Thank you! Yours sincerely,
Dr.W.R.K. - Germany. November 2000.


Subject: Basses
Jaysus Tony, you know how to make customers mouths water. Jaysus, what a salesman and sales promo writer you are. Is bass #2222 on your web site? I'll check it out, otherwise if not please send me some colour snaps so I can slobber over them.
Thanks. Yours,
Fradley G. - Denmark. October 2000.


Subject: Request for information
I am surprised to see so many quality instruments in one place. It will be some months before I can make the journey to the UK, but with so many instruments to appraise and play I will definitely come. I can't wait to get over there. Maybe Summer.
Thanks.
Stewart A. - Principal bassist Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. USA. October 2000.


Subject: Comments
One of the best web pages for a person considering an instrument. By including personalized written descriptions of each instrument, readers reach the conclusion that your business is well run and honest about identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each double bass.
Thanks again.
Brigham C. - USA. August 2000.


Subject: Many Thanks
Tony,
Just to thank you for a most helpful and enjoyable afternoon looking over your stock and trying out instruments. The bad bit is that I've just decided to buy a bass elsewhere - a gorgeously pretty French instrument - nothing special - but good sound and really excellent condition.
But the main reason I'm emailing you is to compliment you on the excellent service you provide. It was really good to have an unhurried look; for you to show me ALL of your stock, and for you to let me try instruments there was no way I could ever afford. I was also impressed by the extremely high standard of presentation of all of your instruments - they really are all in first class condition and a credit to you and your repairers.
So - I'm sorry that I won't be coming back to you for that Hawkes Concert bass - but I shall certainly sing your praises to anyone else who might be looking to swap instruments.
All the best,
Chris S. - UK. July. 2000.


Subject: Compliments
Dear Sir,
I would like to compliment you on a very stimulating web site. The way you have presented the descriptions of each instrument makes me want to buy them all! You ought to write descriptions for estate agents as a sideline.
Paul M. - UK. May 2000.


Subject: Gillet
Hi Tony,
We had a great time in London. We all want to go back. I love the bow - it seems superior to my Morizot. People here do not know the Gillet name. I have not had a chance to show it around much yet. I enjoyed meeting you and playing your basses. I wish I could have taken a bass home.
Jon & Lane E. - USA. March 2000.


Subject: Basses Nos 1580 & 1871
Dear Tony,
Thanks for the descriptive sheets, received today. The language is almost enough to sell most of these instruments without a visual image or inspection.
Best wishes,
Fradley G. - Denmark. March 2000.


 
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