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gtd

bass order of operations

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Exams are almost over so I am looking at what to start with my few days off before work begins. Figured I'd finally start to tackle this bass; so I've got a few questions. I've found several articles namely https://www.pinocazzaniga.it/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/brescian_style_doublebass.pdf, johnson and courtall +a few other books, and https://www.roger-hargrave.de/PDF/Bass/Bass_Making_Part_12_72.pdf lay out what needs to be done/ ideas/ methods. 

This bass apparently hasn't been played since 1940 and was in an attic for several decades. Came with gut strings, through neck, end pin stick but not with an integral bass bar. No harm in converting to modern setup? Thoughts on era, country of origin etc.? Seems to have been repaired by one person- a few nails, staples, bad wood replacement on two bouts and thin overlay here and there over cracks. 

Main concern is the top. The back angle had fallen pulling the top down with it. Upper block area is 2" lower than at the c bouts. Do I put the pieces of the top together than make a counter form and apply the warm sand method? Would the hide glue melt then? Then it's just a matter of finding wood to replace hacked bouts. I'm also thinking a soundpost reinforcement and lower block area patch are in order. (chest patch?)

Ribs are cracked in places but solid. Upper bouts are warped because of the fallen back angle. Think it's just a matter of counterforming/ bending iron. Vertical full height cleats and linen?

Back is a mess of cracks. Basically, see if they come together a bit, then fill with wood slivers (what type of wood is the back anyway), don't force to much, they came apart for a reason in the first place. Next back question is bracing system: don't think previous was adequate or correct. Is this good https://4ormat-asset.s3.amazonaws.com/vfs/853749/public_assets/54992433/responsive bracing article Amended Jan 20191.pdf or something else needed?

Neck is in good condition, I'll probably replace the tuning heads which are corroding apart. There is a heel crack on the foot on the inside- doesn't reach the outside. Thinking I'll just make a upper block to improve area stability and then I won't have to pin it. 

That's the game plan/ just talking it through. If you've anything else to point out go for it. If you have any other resources to point me toward; much appreciated. Answers to my questions, even better. I'll be posting here as things progress, mind you very slowly. 

 

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Here's my opinion about the length of time it may take to get this one playing again.  So however much time you think it will take to finish the work multiply that time by two.  Example - One may think this could be a three year project.  Three doubled equates to six years.  Good luck.

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I'm only an Amateur, and everyone here is really negative About your chances of repairing it. I don't really undertand why. All cracks look Pretty clean to me, so should be relatively easy to glue, but I'd think the bass does need to be taken apart almost completely, and all old repairs must be undone. I would not be surspsised however, if after cleaning it up (assuming it is all hide glue thatwas used), the cracks will be not that hard to glue together. They all seem to me like they are due to shrinkage of the top and back, which was under stress because the ribs and bracing didn't shrink along. You'll probably Need to replace the bracing, and shoten the ribs. It is a Long term Project, but if you have the space to store the Instrument while working on it, and it is a Hobby, then why not? it doesn't look impossible to me. But as I said, I'm only an Amateur and stil working on my first violin repair Job. I just hope my post will provoke some experienced People to react with advise.

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1 hour ago, baroquecello said:

I'm only an Amateur, and everyone here is really negative About your chances of repairing it. I don't really undertand why. All cracks look Pretty clean to me, so should be relatively easy to glue, but I'd think the bass does need to be taken apart almost completely, and all old repairs must be undone. I would not be surspsised however, if after cleaning it up (assuming it is all hide glue thatwas used), the cracks will be not that hard to glue together. They all seem to me like they are due to shrinkage of the top and back, which was under stress because the ribs and bracing didn't shrink along. You'll probably Need to replace the bracing, and shoten the ribs. It is a Long term Project, but if you have the space to store the Instrument while working on it, and it is a Hobby, then why not? it doesn't look impossible to me. But as I said, I'm only an Amateur and stil working on my first violin repair Job. I just hope my post will provoke some experienced People to react with advise.

We are so "negative" because: 1-This is Maestronet. 2-Some of us are professionals(or are married to them), and we would like to see you take on a project that, in the end, will provide you with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. The end result of this project will provide you with neither. Why? Because we know what you are getting into, while you do not.

Choose something more appropriate and we will (probably) be more positive.

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5 hours ago, baroquecello said:

I'm only an Amateur, and everyone here is really negative About your chances of repairing it. I don't really undertand why. All cracks look Pretty clean to me, so should be relatively easy to glue, but I'd think the bass does need to be taken apart almost completely, and all old repairs must be undone. I would not be surspsised however, if after cleaning it up (assuming it is all hide glue thatwas used), the cracks will be not that hard to glue together. They all seem to me like they are due to shrinkage of the top and back, which was under stress because the ribs and bracing didn't shrink along. You'll probably Need to replace the bracing, and shoten the ribs. It is a Long term Project, but if you have the space to store the Instrument while working on it, and it is a Hobby, then why not? it doesn't look impossible to me. But as I said, I'm only an Amateur and stil working on my first violin repair Job. I just hope my post will provoke some experienced People to react with advise.

You got some advice from experienced people: don't.

Or do. It's your time and effort and money. Nothing about that job looks feasible, reasonable, or even sensible. Not all instruments are meant for the ages. Give it a viking funeral and spend your time better.

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6 hours ago, duane88 said:

We are so "negative"

Expected reaction but that's okay. Entitled to your own opinion. 

6 hours ago, duane88 said:

we know what you are getting into, while you do not

After 25 or so violin and cello setups, 15-20 table repairs ie cracks, missing wood, warping, 10-15 back repairs, roughly 10 button repairs, a couple neck pinnings, warped rib repairs etc. I've a fairly good idea of what I'm getting into. A massive combination of basically everything above plus a few extra, and on a larger scale. Varnish retouching is hit or miss; occasionally I get lucky.

I fully expect this to take a while. These repairs aren't mind boggling, I've done everything before separately and this will just be a combination of everything. There's a couple of you professionals who've never made a 'first' violin but it suddenly appeared after making bits and pieces for several. 

1 hour ago, arglebargle said:

Or do. It's your time and effort and money.

Yep, my time and effort. I've already got most of the tools (bass size clamps yet to be made). Besides not a whole lot of bass repairs on maestronet. It'll also serve as a example of why professional luthiers deserve to get paid so much.

Anyways enough explanations. I'll start posting progress in a week or so and stop defending myself.......laugh, enjoy, and curse if you want to or just block me:unsure:

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I'd be interested to know the approximate number of hours you think would be required to get this sad soul up and running again. And if you ever do take on this monumental task, count the hours you actually spend on it. 

 

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Gtd, if you really want to take this on, I'd suggest starting with the top, since most of the top repairs will follow well-trodden procedures, enabling lots of good advice from many people here. I'd start by gluing any cracks which are fresh and clean, so there are fewer pieces to work with when moving on to more complex operations, like removing poorly-chosen reinforcements, and cleaning and gluing dirty cracks.

If you can survive doing just the top repairs, only then would I suggest moving on to all the other stuff.

This bass might serve as a good learning tool, but it is far from an entry-level leaning tool. It would challenge some of the best restorers in the world.

It's interesting that apparently some previous repair person removed the bass bar, and didn't think that replacing it was important.

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23 hours ago, duane88 said:

We are so "negative" because...

Choose something more appropriate and we will (probably) be more positive.

Not me. I'm so negative because I'm always a bitch, and my mean streak lasts all day every day.:angry:

It's true, of course. Ask anyone. When people are doing projects that I don't understand because they make sense, I don't say anything.

Yet I think it would be more mean to tell OP this is an outstanding beginner project idea to waste, I mean, enjoy a summer doing, smile, thumbs up, and don't forget to stay awesome. Right? 

I thought the Monty Python references lightened the mood a little, but I guess not. 

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10 minutes ago, not telling said:

Not me. I'm so negative because I'm always a bitch, and my mean streak lasts all day every day.:angry:

... 

Now that I'm getting older I was also thinking of relabelling myself...

I'm torn between "witch" and "goat beautician"...

...yet neither quite works...

However I am tired of my previous two labels, "Empress" and "cockroach lady"...

I'll have to give it more time...

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59 minutes ago, not telling said:

Not me. I'm so negative because I'm always a bitch, and my mean streak lasts all day every day.:angry:

 

No problem. I will try to provide balance with occasional posts representing toxic masculinity. ;)

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4 hours ago, Rue said:

Now that I'm getting older I was also thinking of relabelling myself...

I'm torn between "witch" and "goat beautician"...

...yet neither quite works...

However I am tired of my previous two labels, "Empress" and "cockroach lady"...

I'll have to give it more time...

How about "She Who Must Be Obeyed "?

 

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10 hours ago, duane88 said:

How about "She Who Must Be Obeyed "?

 

That's typical slang for someone's wife.  SWMBO would not appreciate me referring to someone else by that name.  Rue could change her name to Rhus, but I don't really get that vibe from her.

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Hello gtd,

I just saw the list of resources you have gathered so far and I strongly recommend to add this book:

"The setup and repair of the double bass" by Chuck Traeger (Published by Henry Strobel)

important chapters of this book have been added by David Brownell and Will Merchant, especially for crack repair and cleating, adding replacement wood, repairing broken necks etc. It was an useful resource for me besides my own experience in the last 12 years and the tools I designed and made to purpose.

I would say that converting this instrument to modern practice is very challenging. Last year I restored an old German bass (much nicer than this one) with the help of my intern student and it took 4 full months. The integral neck was grafted and we made a new upper block, a reinforcement over the back button, plenty of rib repairs, scraped off a lot of old glue of all kinds, unglued and repositioned one of the crossbars, reopened cleaned and glued various cracks on the top, replaced missing parts, full border doubling, new bar, retouchings, new fingerboard soundpost & bridge... I don't know if I would like to do such a job again in my life...

But, the instrument definitely plays nicely and the owner (the principal bassist in Malta Philharmonic Orchestra) is happy so there was a reward. This instrument you are working on probably does not deserve all this time and effort, I'm sure you can find  a better bass to perfect your skills.

 

 

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On 4/1/2019 at 4:24 PM, David Burgess said:

No problem. I will try to provide balance with occasional posts representing toxic masculinity. ;)

Ooh, do ya mean it?? That's really kind of you to offer, and I know these will be fantastic posts, but please don't feel obligated.

I was feeling a bit guilty about gleefully trying to destroy someone's dream of fixing a bass, that's all. OP will forgive me, I hope... I had assumed he was without any training or real repair experience and I see he reported he's actually already done every repair he will need to know for this project, sometimes more than once. So, my bad. This will be super fun to watch, if indeed he posts progress.

On 3/31/2019 at 4:20 PM, duane88 said:

Or a witch!

Or a piece of wood! And as we all know witches are made of wood (see original post).

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