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Bass of the Week: Kanzian & Traunsteiner Viennese Five-String Bass

Kanzian & Traunsteiner Viennese Five-String BassAs a double bass player, I love seeing old basses and wondering what stories they could tell. But I also love seeing the creation of new masterpieces, including this Kanzian & Traunsteiner five-string bass. Alex Kanzian and Fabian Traunsteiner are luthiers based in Vienna, Austria that opened their own shop about five years ago.

“We are both classically educated violin makers (and guitar makers) and took the quality level of violins to the double bass,” Kanzian told us. “We work exclusively on basses, which was my dream since I was 16 years old. After returning to Austria [from studying in Italy] I discovered that a very special bass has not been made for ca. 200 years – the Viennese bass. So we decided to keep this tradition alive and go on building modern Viennese basses. [Most of them have] five strings because I love the low B and also because Viennese basses were always built with five strings.”

Each bass they make is done entirely by hand, limiting their production to three or four master basses per year. “The rest of the time we restore old basses, at the moment a Johann Georg Leidolff and a Stadlmann as well as an Ignazio Ongaro Bass made in Venice 1770,” he explains. “The old originals always teach something new.”

The Kanzian and Traunsteiner name will continue on, just like those beautiful antique basses they admire. “This bass has a brother instrument made from the same wood that was bought by the Wiener Symphoniker Orchestra and will hopefully stay with them in Vienna for ever,” Kanzian says. “They love its powerful (and beautiful sounding) basses, with a G string that also has solo qualities.”


Photo Credit: © Hans Leitner, Vienna

Kanzian & Traunsteiner Viennese Five-String Bass Details:

Handmade in Vienna
Five-String
Maple and Spruce Construction
Ebony Fingerboard
105cm String Length
112cm Body Length
Oil Varnish

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