Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Making major progress on the Epiphone...

This Epiphone is getting close to being completed.

The back has been re-glued and Lonnie has quickly moved onto the set up. Like always, when Lonnie kicks it into overdrive, move over because he smells the finish line. He worked the past two evening late into the night. He is really pleased as everything is going together very smoothly. For as much trouble as the upper bout repair gave him the back off and back on went very well. The neck of the bass is very true and in perfect alignment. The string, bridge and tail piece are have fallen into the perfect spot.

The upper bout repair looks really good.

In set up mode

He is working on the set up and once again is detailing the bridge in his own special way. He loves doing the detail work and giving every bass a unique Bass Monkey touch.

He said I can take the bass for a test drive Friday night. I only wish…I am still on the mend from foot surgery. Standing to play a bass is still a few weeks away.

Enjoy the view!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Peeking inside for a good long look...

Lonnie is making slow progress with getting all the slivers of wood back into place along with the rib linings that came off in the removing of the back of the bass. I think this maybe the first Epiphone bass we have taken the back off. This gives me a great opportunity to really study and document the interior of the bass. This early 1946 post war Epiphone has solid rib lining verse many Kay basses having the kerfed rib linings. I don’t know how much, if any, difference this makes in structural integrity or tone but it is an obvious difference between the two manufactures. Another big difference is an Epiphone has a square sound post patch on the top plate verse the Kay bass having a round disk for a sound post patch on the back plate of their basses.

Corner blocks with centering pin hole

This Epiphone is super clean on the inside and the wood has very little oxidation, the wood is nice and bright. I love looking and studying the inside of a bass. The wood has a very faint image of newspaper print or some type of typography that was transferred from a slip sheet during manufacturing. It is too faint for me to read. I can see the pencil layout lines of where the center of the bass was marked and the FF holes cross alignment. There is also pencil marking from the luthier on the inside showing “T” for top and “B” for bottom on the corner blocks. The bass even has nails/pins at the corner block, neck block and end pin block which are factory original and were used in aligning the back to the sides. All of these things are fascinating to me because you can only see them when the bass is apart.

The bass bar has some interesting details and its over all shape

The repairs to the upper bout are just about finished, and then Lonnie can re-glue the rib lining to the same upper bout area. It is one of those multi day processes where he can not get out of his own way. And the hide glue needs 24 hours to set up before the clamps can be removed. This weekend he hopes to get the back glued on so we can finally move onto the set up. This bass has been on the work bench far too long for the minor repairs it needed. When we bought this bass it looked very clean and only in needed a set up. Which shows even to our trained eye there is more to be done then you can see or hear. You really need to get the bass on the work bench for a full examination before you can see the flaws…and even then we can under estimate what needs done.

The faint pencil lines used for layout and the square sound post patch

The bass bar is feathered into the top plate of the bass

The back of the bass is beautifully flamed maple

Patience, Patience, Patience…fast and easy is never fast, easy or cheap.