Monday, January 26, 2009

American Standard con't...

Progress is slow but steady. Lonnie has meticulously glued each open seam with fresh hide glue while using every clamp available in the workshop…in his words “you can never have too many clamps”. It is a good thing we appreciate and respect these old basses because I don’t think any “normal” person would be taking such great care and effort to repair the back on this American Standard. If Lonnie had to charge by the hour for his labor…this bass would be worth its weight in gold or without his patience it would be firewood. But we are not “normal” and we like that!

It will bring a huge smile to my face when I am playing this bass and thinking about all the hard work that went in to its restoration and bringing it back to original playing condition. This bass was a good bass before…but now it is going to be a great bass with many years of music left in it. I have to decide what type of strings I want to use. I originally picked out Thomastik Dominants but now I am thinking about of a set of vintage “old school” guts I have in reserve…or maybe Innovation Super Silvers…or maybe Velvet Garbo. I have to think about this…at this rate I have a few weeks to make my decision. Two steps forward…

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

American Standard con't...

Have no fear…progress is near.

There has been more thinking then action in the workshop recently. Did you ever hear the saying “measure twice, cut once”…well that is what has been going on. Thinking how to correctly repair the delamination in the bass back while doing a good job that will last the ages. I will say Lonnie has employed some unconventional techniques but they are giving good results. Where the plies are now glued in place with hide glue we are getting a good woody thump which replaces the hollow dead sound we were getting. As progress moves along we should have this bass (hopefully) back in thumping condition for the spring festivals.

Two steps forward…

Saturday, January 3, 2009

American Standard removing the back...

The back came off pretty easy only to reveal several cracks in the lamination. We feel this could be the source of the vibration but regardless while the back is off we get to inspect everything. The good news is the bass bar; neck block and end pin block are all good and tight. The bass is remarkably clean on the inside. Once we get the plies glued in place on the back we should make forward progress…or two steps forward with no steps back.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

American Standard Upright Bass # 2012


What's going on in the Bass Monkey workshop?

A 1950 American Standard that has been in the workshop for two years...but we just started the repairs in this spring. This bass was shipped to us from the south...Alabama I think...its been two whole years...I don't remember the details. We knew this bass was going to need some finish touch up but it has proven to need much more then cosmetic work. Each time we think we make progress we take two steps backwards.

One thing that is great about restoring vintage basses as a hobby is we have no limits to our time and no budget...we do what needs done regardless of how long it takes. Lonnie's motto...if it is worth doing, then it is worth doing it the right way.

We started out by working on the large cosmetic spot on the back of the bass that had been filled with spray foam and paint. That led to working on some open seams, which led to the fingerboard. We discovered the neck was loose and there was a split in the fingerboard. So we re-set the neck and gave it a new ebony fingerboard. Lonnie had already installed a new end pin and tail gut. It looked like we were making good progress so we moved onto the set up. Lonnie cut a new bridge and we put Thomastik Dominant strings on the bass. The bass had great punch with lots of volume...but a weird roar on the open D string. At first we thought it may have a loose bass bar...but that was not it...we tried all sorts of things to find the weird noise. By carefully looking on the inside our best guess is delaminating plys on the inside back of the bass... so off with the back...Whoa...there is more then one loose ply...and that is where we are...back to the beginning again....AGRHHH!