Thursday, November 12, 2009
Lonnie is making slow and steady progress by working on the bass a little bit each evening. I stood and watched him for a while last evening; it is still amazing to me after 25 years of knowing him how meticulous he is. He cleaned the old hide glue from the edges of the front and back of the bass with warm water and a stiff brush moving along the edges inch by inch. The kerfling (the slotted rib lining on the inside of a Kay bass) was cleaned tooth by tooth to get the old glue out from between the slots...a slow process to watch.
During the process of removing the back some small pieces of wood broke loose with the old hide glue. Lonnie is taking each little sliver of wood and re-attaching to the font or back of the bass where it belongs. He is also gluing together any loose plies around the edges of the back. We have found in working on these vintage basses they produce the best tone and volume when the wood is making full contact and can vibrate freely while playing. This is why Lonnie takes such great pains to glue any open seams, plies or makes paper thin shims during the neck re-setting process…the more solid the bass is, the better it sounds.
The patch work on the upper bout is going well; the huge wooden C clamp is from his grand-dad’s workshop. Lonnie’s grand-dad passed away when Lonnie was young and he barely remembers him…but he remembers his tools and his work ethic very well. It is cool to see an old tool being used on and old bass, they go together like milk and cookies.