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Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Neupert Double Manual Harpsichord Model Bach Custom (1967)

This is a *large* revival harpsichord from the 1960's, that heyday of revival harpsichords. Greta Kraus recorded on an instrument like this, and so did Glenn Gould (he actually borrowed Greta's Neupert for the CBC recordings). Made in Bamberg,West Germany, in 1967, serial #23597. Compass is five octaves FF-f''' (61 notes). The usual disposition of a Neupert Bach is 1 x 8' and 1 x 4' with buff to 8' on the upper manual, 1 x 8', 1 x 16' and buff to 8' on the lower manual. This custom model has all that *and* a buff to the 16' and provision for a peau de bouffle, although it does not appear that it was ever installed (we are trying to verify the exact situation). Eight pedals, 5 hand stops, reverse keyboard:

The current owner purchased this instrument in January of 2004, you may have seen it listed on E-bay, only to learn that he'd been bequeathed a similar instrument by a friend. These are big instruments, so this one is now looking for a new home. How big? This one is 103 x 41 " / 261 x 104 cm. and weighs 375 lbs / 170 kg. OK, not so big as even a small grand piano -- hey, and not so loud either, which could be a bonus in a residential situation. It produces quite sufficient volume for a small concert venue, though, and is plenty loud for a large room in a home, school or music studio. It is in northern California; if you are not in the Bay area or close shipping via Keyboard Carriage or such could get expensive. On the other hand, if you have access to a truck or cube van you could pick it up yourself, it's a wonderful excuse for a trip to beautiful San Francisco.

 

Case is rosewood veneer with what appears to be ebony stringing. The inside of the lid is veneered in a light-coloured wood, probably maple but may be birch. The owner reports that the finish is in excellent condition although there are some bits of veneer missing from the tops of the legs. As you can see in the photo below (or can't see, which is the point) the missing bits are not noticable, but could probably be repaired if they really bother you. There is also a bit of cheek-droop but it appears to be stable and there is no sign of the joint opening and the hitchpin rail is firmly attached.

 

Four ranks of Neupert 'OK' jacks are quilled in Delrin plectra. The fifth rank is the peau de bouffle, which is, of course, quilled in leather -- as mentioned above, we are checking to verify the existence/condition of this rank.

The case is in excellent condition with no cracks or staining. Sound quality is what you would expect from the largest concert model made by the most famous German maker. It is very full and sonorous.

Soundboard in excellent condition with no cracks.
Pinblock in excellent condition with no cracks or loose pins.

It has not been played regularly for some time and would benefit from some maintence and regulation and especially from regular *playing*. You can expect that it will need frequent tuning for the first few weeks before it is will be stable at proper pitch.

Eight, count them, pedals -- very unusual, the standard number is on a Neupert Bach is five, indicating that this was probably a custom instrument. Here's what they all do:

1) 16' lute
2) 8' #3
3) 8' #1
4) 16'
5) Coupler
6) 4'
7) 8' #2
8) 8'#2 lute

There are 5 handstops as well, some of which duplicate the foot pedals. We still haven't worked out what they all do but we think they give quick access to the two 8' buffs, add/subtract the 4' and 16' and couple the upper and lower manuals.

There is also a report of a matching pedal harpsichord that is the mate to this instrument, it is rumoured to now be in Michigan. We are currently trying to track it down.

The Neupert company is still in business in Bamberg, Germany, and is now operated by the third generation of the family. This means that parts are available, should you ever need them. If you check their website at www.jc-neupert.de you will see that the price of a brand new Bach model with a mere five pedals is substantially higher at 34,200 Euros (approximately US $42,000). They also list one used Bach model, built in 1964,offered at 14,800 Euros (approximately US$18,000).

 


This harpsichord actually makes a lot of noise and can easily fill a small to medium-sized hall. It might be too loud for an apartment but should be alright in a house. It would be a good addition to a high school, arts academy or college, a church, or small concert hall that would like to offer a harpsichord as well as a grand piano.



Price: asking $19,799 CAD / $15,000 USD / £8,250 GBP / € 12,325 / $165,850 MXN / ¥ 1,591,500 JPY plus shipping from San Francisco, CA and applicable taxes & duties. Sorry, this one does not qualify under NAFTA, but as it is in the US there would be no duties for a US buyer. Interested? E-mail Claviers Baroques or give us a call toll-free in North America at 1-888-597-0946.

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