Thursday, April 7, 2011

So many basses, so little time!

The poor 1946 Epiphone B-5 bass keeps getting pushed to the side for other bass projects. What’s the old story about the shoe cobbler’s children had no shoes because the cobbler was too busy making everyone else new shoes! Well its not like I don’t have any basses to play, however there are a lot that I would like to play before I die that are not at the front of the line…1941 Epiphone B-1, 1940 Epiphone B-3, 1937 Kay O-100, 1936 American Standard…I could go on and on whining.

We have every intension of getting the 1946 Epiphone B-5 bass playable by mid-summer (as we already have two prospective buyers)…right now, the new projects are rolling in the door. We did a set up and a Bass Monkey speed neck treatment on a newer Hungarian bass last week. Lonnie prefers to NOT work on new, modern basses but this job seemed reasonable. The gentleman was very nice and really needed to get his bass playable again. The G string was lying on the fingerboard, it needed a new bridge cut for the tall overstand of the bass. It wasn’t a big project, but it pushes everything aside for a short time.

The other bigger project is Popeye! A 1958 King Mortone that is looking for some Bass Monkey TLC. This bass traveled the whole way from Fredericksburg, VA for some love. The bass is playable as is; however the new owners want the full Bass Monkey spa treatment for Popeye. He is named Popeye for the “USN” letters carved in at the button, right above the King decal. This is a very cool bass; Lonnie is excited to get started on the project. He feels the bass has lots of potential. We will give it a full set up with new Thomastik Dominant Solo tuning strings, a new bridge, new ULSA ebony end pin, new tail gut, dress the fingerboard (which is about to pop off from lack of hide glue contact) and a little cosmetic touch up and it will be a real fine player.

It is always fascinating to have two basses to compare side by side. We own a 1935 King Bass and now have the opportunity to compare this more modern, late model, 1958 King to our very early model 1935 King. While there are similarities, there are many differences. The immediate thing that stands out to me is the thickness of the neck. My 1935 has a huge neck made of beautifully flamed maple. The 1958 King neck is more similar to that of an Epiphone. It is meatier then a Kay but a different shape then an Epiphone. And of course there are those super cool King decals…they are so retro.

We need to get some of the spring festivals behind us so Lonnie has time to work on basses. So many basses, so little time. Keep coming back for the latest updates!