Saturday, July 30, 2011

The King Moretone...

Some days you are the hydrant, some days you are the dog…today Lonnie was the dog!

The King Moretone is coming along nicely after getting the fingerboard back on and the edges cleaned up. Lonnie had it off the table to work on another bass (that is a whole other story) and when he picked Popeye up to put him back on the table he felt a slight wiggle in the neck. Never a good sign, the previous repairs are beginning to fail. Now is the time to reset the neck while the bass is apart and before the set up. These vintage beauties are a fickle animal. You can take two steps forward and one step back, more then one time during a restoration. You need persistence and patience or they will drive you crazy.

After a short consult it was agreed the neck needs removed and reset. Now in the past this can be an easy task or a long drawn out mess. Well today Lonnie was the dog and the neck released in less than five minutes. That is by far the easiest neck removal in Lonnie’s repair career. There was not much glue holding it in place, with the fingerboard repair I guess the neck wanted some attention too. Lonnie was over the moon happy the neck came out easy. He started in the workshop at 7:00 am this morning…this was a good day.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How hot is it...

Whew it’s hot! It’s so hot, I saw a robin pulling a worm out of the ground with an oven mitt. Now that’s hot!!!

Well, I have all but recovered from my foot surgery. I have been geeking out the last two days because my hard drive on my computer crashed…but all is not lost.

Lonnie continues to plug away after spending his days in a huge warehouse with no AC. The basement workshop feels pretty darn good at a nice cool 72 degrees.

While I was hovering over two computers Lonnie magically got the fingerboard on the King Bass re-glued. It is in traction right now waiting for the glue to dry. The cosmetic details around the edges is looking real good too. He will continue to work away.

Come back soon…

Thursday, July 14, 2011

King Moretone...

Lonnie made a bit more progress last evening. The top of the bass had lots of rosin and old dirt. He has a magic elixir for getting old dirt and rosin off the top of a bass. The bass now has a nice deep glow and looks fresh and clean (little bit like a facelift). He wanted to get the top clean so he can begin to work on some of the cosmetic edges and open seams.

The neck had a spot where the fingerboard would not release and a sliver of wood raised up. Lonnie used hot water, steam and a large palate knife to run up between the neck and fingerboard to pry it loose. The neck looks really skinny with out the fingerboard attached. I have to laugh when folks complain about a skinny Kay neck. Few realize much of the mass of the neck is made up of the fingerboard. If you want a thicker neck, put on a new fingerboard…that will really beef up the thickness.

Stay tuned…Lonnie’s on a roll…just call him butter.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

American Standard, Epiphone and the King

Here we are…mid way through summer…and what a summer it has been. New twist and turns every mile (the Tour de France is in stage 10, no pun intended).

I am now recovering from my second foot surgery and Lonnie is pushing forward in the workshop. He has been busy taking care of me, the house and working full time in addition to the workshop back log.

Our 1939 American Standard bass named Harvey is relocating to live with a young jazz player in Maryland.

The Epiphone B-5 named Luther is finished except for some final details and will soon be taking his long journey home.

And now, finally, it is Popeye’s turn. The 1950’s King Mortone is on the radar screen and repairs are underway. The fingerboard was not making full contact with the neck and was a source for vibration. So Lonnie removed the fingerboard, after a bit of a struggle, and now the neck is all clean with a fresh surface for re-gluing. The original fingerboard is in great condition and things should go back together with fresh hide glue fairly easily. Lonnie removed the old endpin and reamed out a new larger hole for a new ULSA adjustable ebony end pin. Once he gets the fingerboard back in place he will move on to the set up and a bunch of cosmetic work on the edges of the bass. The owner wants the full Bass Monkey speed neck treatment and face lift for this bass. This King Mortone had a powerful voice with some really old strings. I expect once the bass is set up and tweaked it will have a strong punchy sound, not to mention it will look good for other 60 or so years.

Keep checking back for updates. The Epiphone B-5 #811 slideshow of the completed bass will be coming soon. This Epi bass is headed for a long journey to a tropical paradise…Aloha.

The fun never stops! Have a great summer and be safe.