Northern double bass makers: Northern lights

Joseph Tarr_Scroll Side 2 1

The 19th century witnessed a thriving double bass making scene in the Manchester area of England. This northern school, which had its own distinct style points, flourished for a longer time than its southern counterpart, as Thomas Martin, Martin Lawrence and George Martin explain

The English school of double bass making is widely known to players and luthiers alike, with most major orchestras likely to have an English double bass among their ranks. But to claim that there is any definitive example of the English double bass would be to misjudge entirely the nature of making in this country. Indeed, when looking at instruments produced during the heyday of the industry in England we see not one homogeneous school of production but a great number of regional variations focused around the main population centres. While the London makers are arguably the best known, there were a number of makers of considerable importance in the northern city of Manchester, including William Tarr, James Cole and James William Briggs, who pursued a distinctly different style from that of their southern neighbours.

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