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how long can you play with an open seam?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by eerbrev, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. eerbrev

    eerbrev

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
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    Hey folks,

    My bass has developed an open seam on the lower treble bout close to the endpin block (but not directly up to it). New bass, low humidity, you know how it is. Since there's no local luthier here, I have an appointment with the Cincinnati Bass Cellar for next friday (not the current coming one, but next week).

    I have lessons, orchestra rehearsals, and an orchestra concert over the next 10 days, and I kind of need my bass (5 string). How kosher is it for me to keep playing on this bass, and what steps can I take to prevent it from getting worse and/or damaging it?

    The bass room at school has a humidifier, and (though I hesitate to use them) I do have some dampits I can employ for other areas. I have a humidifier at my apartment, but it's pretty draughty (outside access, -5 overnights lately) so I don't know how much good it does.

    any advice? Thanks,

    eerbrev
  2. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
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    Disclosures:
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Is it the top that's loose or the back?

    If the opening is say, 8" or less, I wouldn't worry too much. If its more than a foot, the tension will be distorting the rib or the top plate.

    Look at it in those terms and evaluate the unnecessary stresses being placed on the instrument.
  3. gerry grable

    gerry grable Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Likes Received:
    3
    Jake--
    You are so right. I speak from recent experience:
    I had an open lower (bottom) back seam. It was about 12''
    from the right side (top view down) of the peg, upwards.
    I blithely continued playing it, hoping to get it done Some Other Time (great tune ) :) Then about a month or two ago, I heard a great thump, crash, rattle! The bottom of the bass caved in, the bridge slipped out and the strings slapped on the top.
    My hind-sight advce: Get 'er glued. I'm now reduced to playing my old fender-- just to keep my hands in shape.
    Gerry

    P.S
    My first thought was that the cable you sold me broke or slipped.
    It didn't :)
  4. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Likes Received:
    0
    Disclosures:
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Its always best to get things repaired before they forget their old shape...

    That would have been embarrassing for me! ;)

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