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George Craske, Manchester 1820

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Maker – George Craske – born Bury St.Edmunds 1795,  worked for the main part of his life in Manchester.

This is a very rare instrument by George Craske being one of only 20 double basses he ever made, of which only a very small number are known to still exist and this is the first one we have seen in our 40 years in the business.

A fine example of the maker’s work and bearing the maker’s original label and date – 1820.

The instrument is in remarkably good condition, only three years short of being 200 years old. It is currently owned by a well-known jazz player in the North of England who has owned it for 50 years and who has cared for it well. He is selling it only because he is now into his seventies and has retired from playing. Toft have been maintaining the instrument on his behalf for nearly 20 years now – as such we can attest to its fine condition and value. Similar care will repay a new owner, which might well extend its playing life for another 50 years or more.

At any price this instrument is an investment in the new owner’s long term playing future and will repay its cost many times over.

In the owner’s words –

“This is a very fine instrument to play, having a beautiful tone and a range of voices from deep speaking bass, through the singing mid-range to the delicate upper range. When used to playing it you will discover it has a personality of its own. The instrument responds equally well, at all parts of the fingerboard, to the player’s input, so the player always knows how the instrument will speak when played, either arco or pizzicato. The more you put into playing this bass the more it will respond to your input and give you the output you want. Many times over the years, my fellow band members have remarked on how good it sounds and other bass players – sitting in – have also remarked on how easy it is to play and how responsive it is. Before I bought it, the bass had already become well known in my home area. This is how I became aware of it (by its reputation) when I first started to play and I eventually managed to persuade the previous owner to sell it to me. He had owned and played it for more than 40 years and he too was selling it because of retirement from playing in his late years. He had tears in his eyes and a catch in his voice when he handed it over to me and I took it away on the day of purchase. It had been a part of him for so long. It was the same for me when I left it with Toft’s for them to sell it for me. The right way to look at owning this bass is that you are owning it for posterity and you will be its custodian and take care of it for the next owner when you too hand it on in 50 years’ time. This is how I have always looked at it and I hope it will find an equally caring new owner who will appreciate its very fine qualities, and enjoy playing it as much as I have.

‘No man  unassisted, ever made as many instruments as Craske……..his tremendous productivity amounted to 2,050 violins, 300 violas , 250 cellos and 20 double basses’  Henley’s  Dictionary of Violin and Bow makers

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