Restoration & Repair

From small jobs to large restoration projects, our shop stays busy performing repairs of all sorts. The approach we use involves time honored techniques and traditional glue for best results.

We also pride ourselves on our playing setup work. The form, fit and shape of the fingerboard, bridge, nut and soundpost need special attention for an instrument to play and sound it’s best, according to the needs of the individual player.  Custom C extensions are also available from our shop.

And we should have an instrument to loan you while yours is being worked on.

EXTREME neck repair

Have a lot of time on your hands? Of course not, and neither do we.  But sometimes it’s fun to go nuts.  I know that many shops would recommend simply replacing a neck when you have damage to the neck heel like this. But the truth is that just anything can be fixed.  Plus  when faced with the bill,  the public school that owns this bass  would likely put this instrument out of commission rather than replace a neck.  In Wisconsin, before close to one billion dollars was taken out of the public school system in 2010 I didn’t think

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blockless neck conversion and restoration

This was a demanding project involving a large South German bass with “blockless” construction and an integral bass bar.  The bass was in rough shape and had suffered through many of the typical amateur repairs. First we started with the top, repairing all the top cracks, then we planed out the integral bass bar and judiciously took out extra material in that area until both sides of the top were symmetrical. A bass bar was fitted,  edges replaced to widen the top and the table edge was patched with half edging all around to reinforce  the new edge replacement and

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top reforming

A German “shop bass” came to us where the top was badly sunken and cracked  around the sound post area.  After opening the bass it was clear the the top had been regraduated at some point and had been thinned too much in the area around the F holes.  So after stabilizing cracks we started with a partial plaster cast of this area to help  reshape the top.   The work involves removing the bass bar, thinning the top where you want to make changes, “correcting” the mold to give you the shape you want, then pressing hot sand bags

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new tuning machine spindles

The tuning machine spindles on this Eastern European made bass were made from soft die cast zinc and the driven end eventually deformed.  We made some new ones from hard wearing stainless steel and this little project was a good excuse to use the lathe and milling machine we have here.

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New neck for a Kay bass

We installed a new Engelhardt neck on a nice Kay bass from the Forties. You can get the new neck without the dovetail precut which allows you to get a tighter fit in the old mortise. In this case we increased the neck angle and overstand for better neck projection.

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Carbon fiber neck reinforcement

Here’s one way of stiffening the thin neck of a  bass – using a carbon graphite bar.  Shown is the routing setup post cut, the carbon rod and the maple filler strip that goes over the top.

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Doubling the button

This nice Romanian bass suffered a blow to the neck and as a result the  button broke from the back and stayed with the neck heel.  The repair involved reattaching the button, then removing the back. Then we prepared the broken area for a patch and fit one in. The bass was then reassembled, the neck reset and the varnish touched up. The final image in the set is of another bass where we did a similar repair.  

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New Bass Bar

We installed a new bass bar for a smaller German shop bass. The bass had cracks right along the  bar at the top and bottom of the plate so we decided to reinforce the glued cracks with egg patches and fit the bar over them. While the top was off we also replaced some ragged plate edges, patched in spruce around the upper and lower block areas and  fit half – edging all around.

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