My First Double Bass Repair

That's my Dad in the 1960s with his Kay Bass

Early 1900's, Possibly German or Czech
Purchased from Mark Rubin, Violins ETC, Austin Tx

Isn't it a beaut?

It's the perfect training tool, being it  "very poor" condition with a multitude of repairs to study and work with.

Mark is pointing out one form of repair and another, so I can see several luthier styles, and some that just worked on a bass for someone.
I have the side piece that's missing as well so it is pretty complete.

2 other repairmen have bestowed their thoughts of it, in Latin of course.....:)
That tells me I have a LONG LONG way to go before this transitions from feces to fiddle! 


I have the Bass back home with me after my visit, and will work on giving myself some room.........not like a banjo!

I find it intriguing that the 16 Th. century technology is still implemented in many fine Basses today
Mark tells me this old flat back with be quite a machine if my efforts pan out
Its a constant maintenance as they begin to show age and the back is off, or the top, many times in ones life.
It should be a pleasant overtaking, or at least that is how you should approach it.



First, the best resource for all of the info I'll need in a lifetime... by Chuck Traeger

I will make a bench like the one Mark uses, so that it is close by and not in some other room.
This will allow me to do 1 hours training and one repair at a time, and I hope  to prove t myself that this can be a source of income and gratification as banjos have been.

I will build a pegboard to hang my tools on and then as with banjos........the other stuff will find its own happy place.
My plans are small........one at a time.....done correctly

if I maximize my work area I can keep one up front with me so that it stays in process


My thanks to a great friend, for helping me along in many musical adventures!
I will re-evaluate those feelings many times in the following months....


A true Austin Icon, and a world class session man...



And my main man Tyler Jackson, who has also stuck beside me and supported me both as friend and as family and allowed my to get my feet wet on his Thumper..

And now I  have to step up and make Chuck Traeger  proud of me.


Everybody has to start somewhere, so I will start with some thing simple, like removing the neck
I  will go thru and do prep work while I wait on my glue pot and repair materials to arrive

I have chosen to use localized dry heat from a Heat gun.
I have experience using it and know how not to overheat.
Sometimes I wonder about all the steaming because over time I can see that it causes some wood issues that dry heat does'nt.
I'm sure like my mentor Chuck Traeger, I will run into opposition for using "Non traditional" repair methods but it works for me and does no moisture damage.
There are steel pins thru the heel, from an older repair and they are holding fine.
I agree with Chuck on this "Iron Work" repair instead of wood doweling, I think he and I will get along just fine

Ready to soften the glue to pull the neck

Came out nice and clean, you just can't get in a hurry

Now to begin to clean up the inside and prepare it for side work

Flap sanding all of the old assembly and repair glue.
I plan to go section by section removing all of the excess glue run over and old repair compounds so that when I go back in it will be nice and clean so that I get really nice joinery.

Top section prepped and ready for cleating
Some old cleats and stripping that has failed will be pulled and reworked

The crude appearance of the construction is still quite a change from production banjos and such.

I will reform this to exactly contour the side sections for a good tight fit

Time to read the Manual a while!
I always like a challenge and I have one that should keep me occupied when I tire of banjo after banjo.

I will start on the back, popping the bracing off and the old cleats, stripwood used for repair, cloth repairs...etc

Scraping some residual glues and splinters away

Getting back to bare wood before any plan is made on reconstruction.
i want to redo each repair in a proper manner, and learn as I earn..........or burn!

Ok so it has a few cracks in it!

Basses seem to be schooling around it, it didn't take long...

Because Tyler is here., stopping in on his way to Las Vegas with Ray Price, and needed to redo a couple things on his Ply bass and dropping off his other Bass for some top crack repair.
One of the many uses of the Tsumara 1001 banjos book........as a weigh to keep the sound post from falling!
I think a 1000.00 Tome will do the job!

Making a Gut string tailpiece wire,.........old school.

But now back to some real work..

Heating off the old failed repairs
I chose dry heat and not steam because I can regulate this type heat from years of experience.
Steam is for when nothing else works, not the first choice...

All the double wall splinting on the lower bout  ribs are removed and back to only the original ribbing
I'm leaving one piece to hold it from getting worse until my fresh  hide glue arrives.

The glove is to keep splinters from running under a fingernail

There are a few repair cleats that are stable and will remain because they are done correctly


Well, my Hide glue arrived so I went old school. got a nice hot plate instead of fancy glue put an heat my water in an old pan with a thermometer to the 135-145F I need and mixed my glue in separate jar, keeping things clean.
Glue and Utilities 45.00
Stew Mac Glue Pot alone....140.00 +
Now I will let Chuck apprentice me thru flat back repair
You can see the long cleating process he used here, and I am about to use

I have removed more cross bracing cleaned and washed, scraped away all old glue(s) and repairs on the top half and have long cleated the cracks there in the Grover way.
I will plane any excess off the tops of 3 of these heavy cleats, I wanted them to hold well while I worked on down the back.
The glue process was as I expected, sharp learning curve, which I like.
I did a slurry of spruce dust and hide glue as i was working up by the neck joint where all that wood is damaged.
Ill plane all of it flat  then I will recess that surface 1/32" and veneer over it for a nice finish on that repair area
Following instructions from a book is easy for me.
Now Karen.....thats another story!

Keeping water filled containers on all nite for weight, as the water evaps from the repair areas

What I did held very well, and I'm encouraged at the outcome so far.
I will keep the weights on it and do the top cross braces next and seal that broken area on the Bass side top bout.
I'll need to fabricate one small piece, that is all that was missing on original back
Then move on to bottom bout
Remember I have to get the back done and back onto the body, before I can pull the top.....and start working on it in a traditional manner!
Its turning out  like a breach baby!
A little at a time, when a banjo is making me angry.......perfect for that!

Crossbrace clamping jig

I have made an impromptu clamping station that will work well for horizontal bracing, and I will over time, make all types of thru bar clamping jigs in this and other styles.
This is Maple billet, with all thread and nutted on top for fast clamp down capabilities
I can get it this close, apply the glue to a hot crossbrace and a heated surface and get a long enuf set time so that the hide glue will react properly in the cooler weather months.
I will heat some glue, center up, and stick it down.

Very tight....... and also a clamp to hold while I work the bottom half.

Moving on to the soundpost crossbar.
It matches up with the sizes required and was in good shape

The area between the 2 is prepped for long cleats

While the glue heats, I will start working the old repairs from along the bottom bout
 The clamping device is more than enuf to hold it while I work.

The infrared makes it look HOT, but really Im keeping the work areas at around 85 degrees.
Localized heat is something I know alot about so that transfers into this field as well..

After gluing and clamping the new cleats are set.

And all the old repairs taken from bottom bout, ready to wet out and remove the remaining glue and prep for more repairs
I put in a couple hours a day.
Made me a mallet from an old Maple tree I grew from sapling and an Oak handle from my Bro in Laws latest splits of cordwood.
I am going to retro as best I can!

Cleaned up Bass side, bottom bout
Starting long cleats
This time, I plan to run them under the crossbar, relieving a little wood on the bottom of the crossbar on all the proper places and using this to "Key" the back since it has a multitude of cracks, I want to retard differential expansion as much as possible

Everything will be spanned left of the centerline first

Repairing to the treble side bottom, where the wood was missing using sectional pieces contoured to the cavities

Making a "Cam" to push the big cracks when I get them prepped for cleating

You can see when I add pressure, I get results

going across cleating and clamping, using my crossbar clamp and a lateral piece of maple each time
Several cleats are shaped to follow the crack they are sealing

Ready for crossbar

Drawing lines to cut relief's

Relief's are cut

Glued and clamped

Ill set that under heat lamps 24 hours

Ready to move the  top corner, bass side

Prepped, I am also making 2 keys under this next crossbar to help hold that corner together
Remember it is cleated already for the big section, this is the end cap that was missing from the Bass

Ready to glue

Second cleat/key installed
I scored the back and bent the wood to match the break angle
Also a thin pin of wood under it for "Rebar"

Ready for last crossbar, its prepped and ready for glue.
Then I will work that area by the button

Top crossbar clamp off
I'll add one small shim at the end where there was missing wood
Also Ill thin the open end of that one key shim near the end, I was plugging some missing wood on the crossbar there as well

After that dries Ill scrape my shims to profile some more, thinning the edges down and remove any glue excess and leave it be awhile.
I plugged all the drilled holes in the crossbars with glue and sawdust.

Now to do the area up by the button

Flipped over to take a look
With all crossbars holding tension, back is much flatter but there is still much work to be done on this side

I will build this back up after i work the other side in

Grinding excess glue and debris away

Filled in all the missing wood, I will veneer over this

That will be under the neck block and I should get a good even seal across that span

Final cleating on the edge of the treble side upper bout

2 of the new cleats split vertically during the curing of all the crossbars.
Repaired with cross-grained spruce cleats
With differential shrinkage and building in a high humidity clime, I felt this not odd in the least since I could hear it cracking and popping for days after the crossbar installs
Now after a week, no new ones so I think its settling in

RIB REPAIR - Upper bout

I have the Belly supported on foam covered blocks and two stops thru the fholes and a couple on the outside you cant see, to stabilize it as I work the ribs
I have to work them from the backside so  this is good enough for this procedure

The back is clamped to a piece of 3/4 ply to keep it stabile while I work these aspects

I will start by pulling the Bass side

The top has been off so many times that there is alot of missing wood where the ribs contact.

There is a 1/64" x 3" cavity on the edge that must resurfaced, to achieve level

Bass side....

Someone shot "other than hide glue" all under this area, and it really chipped out on the rib removal, pulling quite a bit of wood with it.

I will be using 5 minute 2 part epoxy for the filler.
This will make a firm bond to the substrate, and can be planed off to level once it hardens.
It is a hard substance, so will not deaden sound, so little will be left, and most under the rib and liners

I have many years experience with epoxies and know the properties.
You start working it soon after its initial kick, as soon as it is not "stretchy", so you are not stuck with alot over overburden that is rock hard when it cures fully

After about 20 minutes into the set, it can start to be rasped down

All back to flat and smooth, I say that is a success

Now for the Treble side

Nice and smooth

Now it has full contact down the length of the rib and will glue down nicely when the time comes

There is some cupping of the wood on all the main breaks, Ill try to flatten it during reconstruction

Centered in the cupped areas, its pulled down flat for the repair

I will use linen on the ones that are 4" or less, and on the others I will cleat between linen every 2-3"
This is just my shop rags cut into sections.

Dredged in the glue pot and spread flat by hand, it works the same as a modern fiberglass cloth
After it cured, I smoothed it with 80 grit, nice solid repairs, and I will add an upright strengthening bar on the next glue run

Bass side upper rib completed and drying.
I have wider spans to cover the double cracking, with cleating
They were too close to use single linens or cleats
I will be installing these onto the back, not back onto the top in my quest to build this thing as backasswards as I can.
This way the top will be cleaned of parts, and with the back and ribs all intact, the neck installation can occur, and lastly, the top re-installed.
I take it as it comes with this baby, no rush

Removal of C Bout ribs went as planned

The Lower bout ribs.........very ATTACHED to the end pin block face, with fresh hide glue, and some other repair glue as well, so it was hell to get loose, alot of steaming and working in the blade to free them
That block looks less than 5 years old and is still very attached to the top!

Clamped down the ends that were wetted with steam, to keep them as flat as I can until I get to the repairing stage.

Now to start on the C  bout ribs

All done except for sanding the excess on the one in the bottom of the pic.
, now for the  lower bout ribs, Ill do 1/2 at a time

Outsides scraped and sanded smooth with 150 for now

Working the bottom half of the lower ribs, cloth and cleating, this time with poplar, Im trying a few different things on each area

Filling large gaps with linen packing, that I will wet out with a thinner hide glue, then lay cloth over these.
Again, much like my old fiberglass repair days, I feel that was good training.

After this cures, I'll sand the excess and flip them over and start the other end

There is quite a bit of warp on this  rib panel due to the severity of breakage, so I am doing a few at a time, to work the warp out

The final 2...
I have already reduced the volume of both cloth and cleats, with my drum sander so that all is smooth, with no excess weight
I guess that this repair is at least half as light as the old one on this rib

And now you can see the packed linen repair on the backside has sealed the large cracked areas on the front side
I will seal these with a thinned hide glue and then sand smooth

The treble side lower rib is sealed and warming under the lights, and the bass side is completed, and ready for profiling

The final rib completed and sanded smooth
Ends will remain clamped to prevent bowing while I prepare the back
I will make a jig next, for this procedure

Completing the edge repair-TOP

Before I go back to the Back/Ribs, I will finish my stabilization of the edgewood with 2 part epoxy
This is 3 small mix's, its 5 min, so you cannot do large amounts at a time, so this is how you can do a longer section

I just flow it into the broken areas and low spots with my spreader

6 mixes got me around to the other side where I meet the first application

You can see how thick it lays up, so this fills all the gouges and breakouts caused from the many top removals in its life span.
Im trying to give it a fresh start

After the mix is about 3/4 cured, it is then  time to rough out the excess before it totally hardens
It works best this way, more of a bondo consistency at this stage.
You can see the larger particulate that the sander is removing, not a fine dust.
You move over it quickly, and come back again and again, not stay in one place

I repaired the really broken area under the end block with new wood and epoxy and am leveling that now
The original repair was good so some of it was used again

All roughed in, ready to smooth sand

That's all stabilized  and smoothed and i am moving back to the back.

I will clamp this down... then I will place a globule of hide glue  in 10 points around the periphery
in essence, this is like "tack welding" and when I am done installing the ribs, I can pop them loose easily with my chisel
This will allow me the freedom of no clampage in my way while I work the ribs into position
The work is about to begin, all up until now was playtime....

I have made a brace to push the ribs into centric with the back edge, so that it goes back to its original profile.
I have made small push blocks around the bottom to properly gauge the lip width as I move around
I am clamped off and directly over the center seam of the back

I have a cam clamp giving the exact amount of pressure on the seam

And around to the other side.
I have this setup like I want it, so that I can just heat the work area and surfaces lift a section, feed in the hide glue at around 145f so I have good working time and then add some weight to the top side.
I have a template made to hold the tops of the ribs in line so I have vertical sides, not canted

  Heating the area and the glue, and  making sure all aspects are covered for the process

Mixing some fresh glue
I'll make up 4 of these and be sure to have enough for this lay-up

Getting to 140F

Ready to work

First the bottom 2 ribs, with some weight applied during curing

now for the C bout ribs
I have cammed some clampage to press as I wish and have added the weight to the top, for cure time

One single cam, one double cam....
Nice pressure, good profile

Good and tight on this side now

Adding a little cloth to tie into the ribs


I have good contact in the corners, and the edges meet up very well so I am please so far with the effort

Im adding a few more small cleatage to the back, its still finding itself as far as differential shrinkage, swellage...
The downside of working on solid wood....I hear it pop about every 10 minutes and it cures and settles..


A couple small cleats at the top...

Starting  on the upper ribs

The upper ribs have the angle that coincides with the "break" in the back
There was wood missing from this area on the angle, so I am clamping off to profile, so that I can see how much I need to build the area back to profile.
Im keeping weight on it so that the angle in the back lessens a bit as the ribs push on it
When the crossbar gluing  dried, it pulled upwards a bit and I may need a little steam to release of the weight is not enough

Camming and clamping, I am at profile with the center rib

I will add my inside bracing next, to push out in the center
I have a measured block in the Neck cutout, that is sized the same as the neck joint to keep that at the proper width

 I will chalk the areas that need addressing, and pull the ribs to add the repair wood

Now I want to go cut me a block of spruce, this Maple end block is not the norm, it needs to be spruce
I will orientate the grain as I have the sample on the left laid out.

new spruce end block glued and clamped


Rasping to profile


More differential shrinkage, that is showing its ugly head on the maple strip cleating and in small areas

Where the white chalk is, there is a crack

I am seeing even a repair cleat giving way so I will up the thickness of these and change to maple, and go forth

Now a crack is walking down the other side of this cleat, with no cracks in the cleat

Adding in some new repair cleating on the stripping

You can see it is thicker, but smaller squares and is made of maple, not spruce.

A different "Angle"
After I got to the point of installing the upper ribs, I determined the angle where the back "break" is, that the angle was too steep and the ribs would not seat properly.
When I set the upper crossbar, glued and clamped ,it was at the proper angle but during the curing the glue "pulled" hard, and the angle changed.
I have removed that crossbar again, and will install the ribs, then the new bar to achieve the desired results

The glue integrity was superb, and it left a layer of spruce on the back that I had to chisel back off, so this time a new crossbar is needed

I will go back thru all this part of the process, cleaning the old repair first

The rib is now meeting on the back at the break and had been glued into position with a couple temporary stops, to hold the profile correct

They are also jigged and clamped on the outside


The back is a little more warped on this side at the top, and I will use some cloth on the bottom against the liner to help tie it down.
Later as the instrument stretches back into whatever form, this may help pull that corner back into alignment

That will give a good retention, with little weight or mass.
I used a heavy 1/4" maple billet to hold the long edge on the broken corner.
Ill grind off those  temporary spruce cleats and make 2 cross ties that go under the crossbar, to lock the pieces together this time.
Now you can see why I chose this particular bass skeleton, as a training aid!

I have rebuilt the missing wood on the top edge, 5" section, using maple veneer.
Superglue is the best for this.
It will harden the edgewood and bind the veneer harder than hide glue, and will not affect the pulling of the top later

Edge repair complete.
I have also went around the periphery, and made it all smooth and flat, and sealed with cyano for hardness factor.
Even Chuck uses hi tech materials sparingly, as will I, when I feel the need.

Everything is cured again, and tight to the back
Area for crossbar is prepped for reinstallation

Nice chunk of Englemann, straight grained

All cleating   (and cleated cleating) has been sanded to profile and I am hearing less and less cracking so... I am HOPING its settling down.

Tyler was in for a quick visit and he got to check out the Magpie banjo and the ongoing Bass work, 2 of his favorite things.

Kelly cut me a nice billet, to trim out for the crossbar

Shaved to profile on the top, and the angle on the bottom


I wanted to do a little work on the back, and clean the table of glues so I could see how flat my topside is, and I was very pleased to see I am really close to where i need to be.
I will do a basic rough sanding for now and flip it back, to add the new crossbar

Its nice and flat against the table even with just light weight on it

So lets pressure it up while the glue pot warms!
That will hold the profile while I prepare to reclamp it to the table, then press clamp the new crossbar
That's not coffee, that's water :)

Ready to clamp so time to add some glue

Simple "Go bar" style clampage

Ill let that cure for a week, to ensure all the moisture is gone before final sanding, etc.

I will fabricate out of another piece of Spruce leftover from the building of my log home

Making some radiused cauls from the outside of the log.

Now to cut off the excess

I plan a quick pull clampage and will achieve it in this manner

And then an additional clamp on bottom to pull it in will top off this jig

I will complete the push by backing up with a straight push stick
With this jig I can add the glue, and then suck it up with the backing screws, slap in the push stick and get a good squeeze out all around

TJ is here, and we are beginning to think out a fingerboard, maybe using this old high grade rosewood.

12 -2011- back on it
Fitting neck to body

Seeing how it will all go down, I have alot to deal with in there so Ill cut to the chase pic-wise, to save time.

I devised new wedges and glued them into place and tied in some support at the bottom and now I will clean up excess gluing and make a keyed neckblock that I think will hold the tension on such a repaired area.
I centered the neck with a string line and did the best I could to guess how it would all end up after gluing.

You can see the wedges  and cut tight and I have good support here for the neckblock to butt up against

After the wedges cured the neck looks pretty darn level and straight up and down, Im optimistic a tad...

I never thought I would see it this far along!


Flipped it over and sealed all the cracks that were still existing after inside repairs and some new ones that appeared while it was curing 4 months.
Now all is sealed and block sanded as best as it can be with the amount of damage it had

I shot my tint coat and a coat of clear, that will be all for now.
Tobacco brown was my choice with a darker edge and some contrast for the light/dark areas
That's just a reflection since it is still wet
I tinted the white filler areas with stain and it all looks as uniform as I plan to get it.

It's a nice warm color, now I will finish sand the sides and do them up to the top.
It will also get one coat of inside sealer, another retardant against future cracking.
It's a school of thought I want to follow.

NEW NECK BLOCK - Laminated ply
Not Traditional but on this Bass, what is?

Fitting the new pieces for gluing
Bottoms are keyed for the lock I made on the inside of the button where the back was weakest

There will be cloth laid into the bottom  and side recesses so that when I clamp it down I will get a good seal on them.
1/8" Maple

5/8" ply
Profiling the 2nd block

Now the 3rd

i will use long  wood screws as well to help squeeze off and they will remain into the heel for added support

Hot Hide glue is between every mating surface
Wax paper is sealing  the top and block from that additional  temporary clamp
I added a 1/8" Maple top to seal over the laminates and give me a nice smooth gluing pad for the top

After curing I added a thin veneer of birdseye over the top laminate and soaked it with thin cyano to make a "Hard point" for future top removals and installations and this should need a few as cracked up as it is.
I will do the same on the end block and corners

Screws will stay
Everything bedded nicely on the bottom, only String tension will tell the tale.
Top cap appears to have gap, on bass side... but its actually sealed to the liner and that is a fully level surface.

Sides  sanded, tinted and sealed
I made no effort at all to remove what patina is left, just scuffed all the repairs one more time and added shading once more

After a clear coat I'm pleased so far, I actually have a little more hope for this beast.
Those are not open cracks, that's where the cloth repairs are bridging larger gaps
At least all this wood is sealed from the air inside and out, Im hoping that will give it a chance.
I will work on the top, prepping it for install next.

I sealed up the final few cracks that were left after my inside repairs
Sanded old residue and added a coat of tinted Vintage Amber finish to the spruce

After one coat of clear Nitro the color suits me


I will drill out the end pin hole ,check once more inside, add my repair label, and glue down the top
This top lies perfectly flat on the body with a VG edge bead all the way around and will not require the top to be stressed at all upon installation.
I had it in a jig all this time holding it flat and it shows.
Luck of the draw.

Label in, Latin added

I'm adding in a couple of cut dowel to hold the tops of the ribbing out just a tad in strategic places before gluing on the top
they will be taken out after curing

Using the Brownell method on glue up
 End blocks, then corners then bouts

That is the exact same amount of "ledge"  or "land" the last saddle had.
I will make a new saddle that can use this and still have support

Everything is level enough on this body and top to do the corners and bouts all at once

The other side was so flat it actually had to be LIFTED all the way round to get the glue in, ...not pushed down.
Feels good when something goes easily on this baby.
Binding tape is more than strong enough for this operation

Checking all the seams, everything looks good
 a couple small cracks on the top edge from clamping, I will inject a little glue, nothing at all major happened, it went really well
I have shot a little tint around the seams and I will look for any open areas after 0000 steel wool it off, then 3 coats of clear Mohawk over the tint, all I want.

After a few more air brushings to blend in the colors and make it appear "busy" so as not to focalize on all the repair areas
All the clear is applied

I will work on that new saddle and while I await funds for the fingerboard I'll look for new cracks, seal anything up, just keep going on that part as it settles in

It will look VG when I get all the steel wool and a little new patina on it.

 I will remove those 3 MOP dots in the neckside and get the neck all done and a few coats on it

 With so little area to land the saddle on the top, I opted for the corner router and channeled it for a double gluing surface and this allows it to go up onto the top in a better fashion

Shaped and dyed

Final fitted for glue-in

Just a quick mock up after I got the saddle made for it, now for a fingerboard and nut.
I just smoothed that broken spot on my used tailpiece and dyed it back to black, gave it a "cutaway" look
When my new belt sander arrives I will shape the bridge profile

Added the matching neck shading after final sanding.
Not so much as to cover old patina, just enough to make the old color blend with the new.

The neck back will remain without finish, I'm 0000 fine wooling it after each coat and will Tung oil it at the finale.

With a coat of clear, 2 more to go, that's all it will need.

Tuning machine pegs are long for this peghead width so I will whack off the ends and they should be fine

Ready to screw to the peghead, I'll drill pilot holes


Adding in a section of 1/4" bar stock.
TJ thought it was a good idea to go ahead and get one in there and i said yeah, why not... so in it goes, time to rout a cavity.

That is to depth, I'll bed it in with sawdust and glue

All sealed in and ready for the fingerboard

Fine wool on all of the finish to satin it up, and then polish it some with plastic wool, then a coat of wax while I wait on the fingerboard.

Fingerboard / Nut Blank is here, I'll need to shave it some before instal and them more afterwards
New old spruce soundpost and aluminum bridge adjusters
Will use Ebony for the nut then seal and dye the Cherry wood board black

I'm not very high tech and will cheat the board to match the neckset

From all I read on the web a neckset in a Bass that is perfect is rare anyway so...lets give it a shot
...But I am not going anything fancy about getting this board aligned and will do it like a banjo....indicator pins
Allen wrenches in this case
There will be no drifting during clamping

One on each end.. will index it during clamping and I have drifted the board to match the neckset I think..I hope...

Funny,...I kept talking about clamps like I was going to use them...

This is Stew Mac binding tape ran in doubles and pulled the length.
I leveled the neck to the fingerboard and got a flush fit before beginning
I heated the neck and fingerboard both before I hot hide glued the board to the neck
I scored the neck and bottom of fingerboard properly
I got all the squish I could ask for with the binding tape, it has a tenacious grip and I am a believer in it as well as hide glue tightening on its own and pulling hard when water is absorbed into the wood.
There is such a thing as too tight a clamping and squishing all the glue out and the film left is inferior bond
This board will suck down just fine and dandy.

Board is nice and tight after 3 days curing
Profiling the last little bit with my sureform and rasps and then paddle sanders.
I will hide where the MOP dots were pulled and filled again now with  the same fade job I did on the mock look.

Sanded and ready to string up after I fab the nut and the strings arrive

I'll go ahead and put the first  Fiebig's oil dye on the board.
If I have to do some leveling this will work as my indicator dye and I can add more later

It almost looks like a Bass now.... and the neck set and angle SEEM to be close enough for the setup.
We will see how that crapshoot goes in the next few days.

Refinished the neck area and shot another 2 full coats of clear on the Bass


I fabricated an Old Growth Ebony nut, not the Cherry that came with Fingerboard

Installed and ready to slot

getting the bridge blank ready to profile
I will use .080" Weedeater line for string up line, I have plenty of that around!

Old Spruce soundpost fabricated and set tight ...dialing in the bridge feet/ slots/ Nut slots


About 3/4" action at the end of the board with barely any pressure on the top and I haven't added adjusters do I think I'm good to go here


Im pleased the neck is pretty straight and level I can get both outside strings to land on the fingerboard and  the action looks like it is where it needs to be.

G side bridge foot is landing n the Bass bar and the E side is landing by the soundpost correctly so I guess this blank can be dialed in for this 5/8 sized belly and stay on it.
Strings should arrive today and in the mean time I'll knock that sheen off the finish and dial in the bridge and nut and add the adjusters.
It already sounds world class with just Weedeater line!  :)


Strung up on some used  medium gauge Steel  strings for now, I still have alot of bridge dialing in and a little more on the nut but so far so good no weird noises or pops at all, seems to play up and down OK
I tried some 1/2 sized strings on it but they were too short so full size it is.

I 0000 wooled the entire instrument and am on my 3rd coat of Renaissance wax, it is looking better now for sure, I do not like the look of the finish before it is satin'ed out

Its first meal...
It  trapped a smaller species that was swimming past it.
They operate like squid and take no prisoners!
Oops..thats Dereks fiddle!

That's OK, they made fast friends now someone can look after little brother until my friend Deke Mhebebebe can pick up his Minibasso

Now I will spend an hour a day learning setup and trying a few things to optimize the tone and hopefully have it ready for Tyler to do a trial run on it and tell me what needs addressing from here.
I'm no Bass player, Im barely a Bass Mechanic!

Bridge profiling

I have no string pressure and will use them to guide me a bit as I countour the feet to thebelly
You can see my first contact after final reduction is inboard

While Im doing it both hands are holding it down , flat and centered with fingerboard.
You can see the pattern lengthening



Full contact

No tension yet

Measuring fingerboard radius so i can accurately match the bridge top to this shape
Pin gauge works good for this


Reduced and thinned on the top, time for another test run
Old school bevel top

Down to around 1/4 on the action now, getting low enuf to add adjusters
Plays pretty nicely here

Nice contact, its a "steep" learning curve! (PUN INTENDED)

 That's' all for now as far as pics, I may add a few when it's completely setup and if it ever reaches the stage I'll snap some shots of it then too.
It's been quite a journey and although its not perfect it went from something on it's way to the Dump, to something that's going to THUMP
Thanks ( I think)  to all my friends that offered advice and encouragement and were interested enough to keep me interested.


Prepping for drilling

I got them in, but not to my satisfaction
They work and hold but are difficult to operate, a slight bind on them is my guess
It was a learning process for me and I'll do better on the next one.


Now to get it to Tyler for testing...............and  me get back to Banjos!

Professional Debut

Tyler was kind enough to have a couple of pics shot of him playing the Bass at "Bohannon's" in San Antonio Tex


He says it is a great "Sit Down" Bass with its size versus his size so he can get off his feet from time to time
He says with just a little more dialing in, it can be a contender and that it has great projection both on and off the Bow.

Here is  Tyler  playing that Bass on stage with Ray Price, he has been his main Bassist for over 6 years now.
Ray looks a little pale in all that Spotlight!

Now that pretty much completes the cycle of this instrument as far as back from the dead, and back into the ranks of an actual performer.
He has played many gigs on it now and receives alot of compliments on its tone and projection.
When TJ gets a chance he will take it in to a well known Bass Luthier to finalize the setup and tweak it in ways that are beyond what I could have done to it and then it really will be ship shape.

Shown with his Full sized 4/4 Bass

Now that its size can be seen, .........it proves dyna-mite can come in a small package!

Thanks for watching,