Model after a double bass around 1790
John Betts, (London, 1752-1823) String length 104.5 cm The instrument The length of this instrument’s body is a bit shorter than was usual for English violin makers of the time. The body widths are noticeably wide, the middle bow is short and round. The ceiling has a relatively flat curvature, but has the typical Cremonese construction and is therefore gently curved. The long, elegant, f-holes reminiscent of Maggini and the snail with its striking additional half turn are in itself very appealing and extend the actually rather round and squat instrument optically. The brighter oil varnish with its yellow and orange pigments on the almost golden brown surface and the patina make the otherwise rather dark and heavy-acting bass a lot easier in its appearance. The instrument has a dark, even warm tone, which is very typical for the English bass construction. Powerful but not glaring, this instrument responds to a wide variety of articulations and styles.
About Betts John Betts completed his training with Richard Duke, whose workshop he later took over and built into a thriving business. Many of today’s English violin makers went to school before settling, including Simon Fendt I and II, Vincenzo Panormo and Joseph Hill. Link to the article about John Betts, published in “Double Bassist” 16, Spring 2001