This is a Testore copy instrument. It is of violin outline with
a flat back that slopes gently in towards the neck. The two-piece
back is made from well-figured maple and the ribs are fitted
with outside linings. Both ribs and scroll are well matched in
terms of flame to that of the back. The table is made from very
fine-grained spruce - of almost violin making quality. The purfilling
bands to both front and back are of a very narrow gauge and it
is probable that Lant used the same gauge for violin, cello and
bass making. The edges of the scroll are highlighted by means
of a painted black line. The pegbox is fitted with quality English
cogs and brass half-plates.
The Universal Dictionary of Violin & Bow
Makers by William Henley (Amati Publishing Ltd 1973) gives two
lines on Lant as follows 'Born in London in 1901. Pupil of Bidulph.
Resident at Sevenoaks, Kent, 1950. Violins, violas, cellos and
double basses. Also Bows'.
The Violin Dictionary of British Violin and Bow Makers by Dennis
G. Plowright (Pub 1994 - ISBN No. 0 9523081 0 X) expands by saying
that Lant was a prolific workman who generally used nicely figured
woods to make instruments with a flattish arching and often with
the chamfers of the scroll blackened. Plowright comments that his
purfilling was sometimes a little shaky, his varnish a little thin
in texture and that his work in general was not always as careful
as it could have been.
During the 50-60 Ernest Francis Lant started to specialise in the
production of five-string instruments based on a smallish Testore
model. Although we don't know the exact figure of basses that
Lant made his instruments quickly found favour with orchestral
players in London and the provinces and a substantial number
The origional printed label is positioned on the central brace
- bass side and reads "Ernest Francis Lant, Sevenoks, Kent,
No 322 Anno 1969".
The label is significant in establishing two facts regarding Lant
and his productivity.
i) We can establish that Lant - at the age of 68 was still making
very decent instruments.
ii) We can establish that Lant had made 322 instruments by the
Lant is most recognised for his double basses and so if one cared
to estimate that say 30% of Lant's production were basses - that
would give a figure of 97 - which is a substantial number of instruments.
Yes - internally there are three inscriptions written by Lant in
seriously thick black ink that read as follows:
i) On top block - signed in absolutely
huge capital letters; E.F. Lant, Sevenoaks 1969.
ii) On bass side back above central brace; Made by E.F. Lant for
iii) In middle of back central brace; Produced from a Testore in
possession of John Bass.
In addition there are two repairers inscriptions that read as
iv) Below central brace - bass side; Repaired by Michael J. Hart,
London, March 1973.
v) Lower rib - treble side, close to corner block; Repaired by
Luin Sitkey 1989, Felge, Stockholm.
Both gentlemen were London double bass players.
David Jones was a rank and file member
of The Philharmonia orchestra in London for many years and now
John Bass was the sub-principal double bass player
in The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London for many years. He
is now retired.
Yes - quite a bit really. The instrument
was originally built as a five string - but when we purchased it
- it didn't really respond that well. Not surprising - it's only
a smallish instrument. Now after replacing the bass bar with something
much lighter, doing some regraduation work to an over thick table
and replacing the neck - it has transformed a damp squid of a sound
into an absolute monster-sound. You keep telling us how good all
of our instruments sound - but really - you must come and try this
one out for yourself - for it is nothing short of amazing. The
loud, focused and clear sound with its ultra-quick response to
bowing is almost certainly due to the flattish table arching as
much as the correctional work our restorer has done.
Lant is a maker well recognised in the annals of more recent English
bass making history. Although it is a shame that many of Lant's
instruments never really sounded that great - even after 25years
of hard orchestral playing - a little judicial tweaking here
and there can elevate them into really first-class "players" instruments.
We particularly like this small Testore model which is an absolute
delight to play and hear.
LOB (length of back) - 109.0cm (42.85in)
Width across upper bouts - 47.7cm (18.85in)
Width across middle bouts - 36.0cm (14.27in)
Width across lower bouts - 64.0cm (25.18in)
Depth of lower ribs inc both plates- 22.0cm (8.65in)
Body Stop - 62.2cm (24.50in)
String length - 106.6cm (42.00in)