Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An 1800's "German Joe" blockless wonder...

Here we are half way through February all ready, where does the time go.  No real snow this winter so we have been keeping busy.  

With the Stanleytone banjo project behind us we took on a small repair project.  An 1800’s fully carved German blockless wonder bass that belongs to a local man.  His wife had the bass completely restored for him in 1996 by a local luthier David Waltersdorf.  Mr. Waltersdorf was a well known violin maker and repair basses on occasion.  He passed away a few years ago and there really has not been anyone locally to pick up bass luthier trade, so we agreed to help out. 

Cleaning out the old hide glue with hot water and a palette knife

This bass has had major work with lots of cleats on the inside, a new neck block and new oil finish.  It is lightly used and the top had begun to pop off.  Lonnie is going to clean out the old hide glue and re-glue the top in place with fresh hide glue.  Hopefully this will bring the bass back to fine playing condition.  These old “German Joe” basses are known to be great basses and the popular choice before American made plywood basses became available in the late 1930’s. 

The lower bout is wavey, this bass has some intresting curves

Big carved scroll and hat peg tuners.  Classic German shop bass

This bass looks pretty good and I am anxious to hear it in top playing form.  Curiously the neck block shape is the bell shoulder that closely resembles the early American Standard basses.  We own a German blockless wonder bass but it does not have the bell shoulders…I love that look.  When Lonnie is finished with this small project I look forward to putting in some playing time before we return the bass to its owner.  It’s a rare opportunity for me to play a fully carved bass.  A real treat, hopefully the other basses won’t get jealous.  In the mean time we need to select the next bass for restoration…hummmmm.  Too many choices.  I would really like to get the 1941 Epiphone  B-5 named Rubin in playing condition…he is going to be an awesome bass with such a colorful past.