5-String Double Bass by Joseph Hill, London circa 1765
The basses from the Hill family are some of the earliest, finest and most noble of all English instruments. This particular instrument is of viol outline with a flat back and upper angle break. The back and ribs are of well figured maple with an almost horizontal medium flame. The table is of two pieces of fine to medium-fine spruce with flanks at the edges of the bouts.
Really fine “classic-English” basses from the mid-eighteenth century of this quality and in this structural condition are incredibly desirable. Add together the fact that this is a 5-stringer, it plays as easily as any four and it has a sound department that is simply awesome and you start to get the picture of just how desirable this instrument is.
If you are a pro-player, an orchestra or a collector thinking about investing in a really fine 5-string instrument then you need to think about viewing it as soon as possible. Why? Otherwise, and with a certain tone-poem in mind by Richard Strauss that contains a notoriously exposed four desk bass-soli, of which the lower line should be played on 5-stringers, it will be gone before you can say “Also Sprach Zarathustra”.
LOB (length of back) - 116.5cm (45.08in)
Width across upper bouts - 53.6cm (21.15in)
Width across middle bouts - 35.4cm (13.90in)
Width across lower bouts - 71.4cm (28.10in)
Depth of lower ribs inc both plates- 21.5cm (8.50in)
Body Stop - 60.0cm (23.65in)
String length - 104.6cm (41.40in)