American bass viol

Abraham Prescott (American, 1789–1858)

Object Place: Concord, New Hampshire, United States


Length 127.5 cm, width 44.2 cm (Length 50 3/16 in., width 17 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, pine

Not On View


Americas, Musical Instruments



Two-piece back of slab-cut maple. Ribs of bird’s-eye maple. Neck of maple with irregular curl. Two-piece belly of medium-to-wide grain pine. Traditional purfling. Brass worm-gear tuning machines with oval heads and hardwood center rods. Fingerboard, tailpiece, and short endpin of hardwood painted/stained black. Nut and saddle of ebony. Old maple bridge with only two holes (rather than heart shape) for cut-outs. Dull red-brown varnish. Interior construction: Footed neck on platform carved from back. Wide semi- circular lower block. Back and belly grooved to receive ribs; no liners. Very thin corner blocks. Bass bar runs at a slight angle from center to bass side.


Stamped on machine head: A. PRESCOTT / CONCORD N. H.; in pencil inside on both middle ribs: M. Lane / Concord / N. [illegible]


1987, sold by Harold Priest, Damariscotta, Maine, to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 21, 1987)

Credit Line

Frank B. Bemis Fund