Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Harvey the 1939 American Standard Bass

A few months ago when visiting with Alan Bartram of the Del McCoury band he mentioned that Jerry McCoury (Del’s youngest brother) love his (Alan’s) 1939 American Standard Bass.  Jerry played the bass at the IBMA showcase in Nashville for “The Masters of Bluegrass”.  

The MOB has just completed their first show of the season and low and behold Jerry is center stage playing Alan’s American Standard bass.  

 I guess he really does love the bass!  And watch him pull those strings...WOW!

It gives us a warm fuzzy feeling to know Harvey was resurrected at our workshop.  It is flat out awesome to know this bass is back in circulation and making joyful music with some of the greatest living legends alive today in bluegrass.   

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


Nothing inspires you like a visit from the 4 time and current IBMA bass player of the year Marshall Wilborn and a deadline!!!

We had the delightful pleasure of hosting a workshop visit with Marshall Wilborn and his lovely wife Lynn Morris this past Saturday.  What an absolute thrill to have Marshall and Lynn visits our workshop.  They looked over the entire herd…I mean collection…of basses while we got to see and hear Marshall play a little ditty on each one.  Lynn has an excellent ear, she knows what she likes and see’s when it comes to basses.  Marshall even brought his beloved American Standard #506 (his back up bass) for a little show and tell.  What a beautiful and pristine example of an American Standard.  After a full tour, dessert and coffee Marshall and Lynn moved along with their evening plans.  What a joy, what wonderful people…how blessed we are to know such fine people.

Working on carving the back side of the bridge to lighten the overall weight

Ruben and Lonnie taking in the evening news

This bass arrived with no Epiphone tail badge.  We have been hoarding a supply of vintage original "bikini badges" for accurate restorations.  This vintage tail badge is the crown jewel on an Epiphone bass.

With a self imposed deadline looming Lonnie has resumed his work on the 1941 Epiphone B-5 named Ruben, #623.  A new second bridge is underway as Lonnie was not happy with his first effort.  The fingerboard has been dressed and is as smooth as silk after much scraping and sanding.  This bass will retain the original wooden end pin collar and none adjustable wooden stick.  I plan on keeping this bass for a while so it is being set up to my playing preferences. 

The string combination is old school with Marshall approved Golden Spirals on top and medium Spirocore on bottom.  I have never tried the Golden Spirals so this will be new for me.  Marshall said they were his string of choice and he was introduced to them by Ed Ferris of the Country Gentleman many years ago…that is a mighty fine recommendation. 

Hopefully Lonnie will continue to be inspired and push on through to competition with this bass.  I would like to get a few hours of playing time before we take this big ole boy on vacation.  This bass has great character and colorful history.  I hope he booms with the best of them.  We have had some awesome jams the last three weeks; I learned a new tune, Newton’s Grove.  A Johnson Mountain Boys tune.  It’s a mighty small world…but gosh is it good.