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Looking for a qualified luthier in Bucks, PA

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by MagnificentB, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. MagnificentB

    MagnificentB

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    Hi All, I'm a newbie here. I've been an electric player for years and started dabbling with DB a few years back. Anyway, I recently purchased a 1960's vintage Kay M1 that needs some work done, specifically the bass bar has become partially separated from the bass top causing the top to start sagging. I'd like to get an idea of how much something like that might cost to repair (I have been doing some homework prowling around the forum...) and I am looking for a qualified luthier in Bucks County PA or New Jersey area. I'd also like to have the bridge replaced (assuming the repairs can be made reasonably) and pro setup. Can anyone recommend someone?

    Thanks!!!
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

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  3. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

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  4. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

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  5. Blaine

    Blaine

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    +1 on Shank. He's great.
  6. MagnificentB

    MagnificentB

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    Hey thanks guys...I found a few online, including Jack Hill, and I saw Shank (he's in Hersey and that's a bit of a hike.) Bucks County Music said they couldn't even look at it until late next week, and then they might have it for a while. :(

    Bil Mitchell's Guitar Parlor in Reigelsville took it on for me. He makes beautiful acoustic guitars and his partner Sarah Dieterichs does all the repairs. She thinks she can sort it out without removing the top and get it back to me pretty quickly. Nice people, too.

    www.guitarparlor.net
  7. Goatee220

    Goatee220 Bassist/Goalie Ordinaire Supporting Member

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    Ask Glenn at Bass Specialties on Street Road in Bensalem - I'm sure he can recommend someone.
  8. Jeremy Darrow

    Jeremy Darrow

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    Endorsing Artist: Genz-Benz Amplifiers
    Mike Shank is the real deal. One of the most respected guys in the country and reasonably priced. I can't say enough good things about Mike and Linda.
  9. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

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    Technically, he's in Elizabethtown, but I dig- still worth the trip! I actually enjoy the three hour ride there from my place!

    Joe
  10. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

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    Reglue the bass bar without removing the top? Really?
  11. MagnificentB

    MagnificentB

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  12. MagnificentB

    MagnificentB

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  13. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

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    Thanks... just not sure that's how it SHOULD be done. Would like to hear from and would defer to the respected luthiers around here. Perhaps it's a reasonable choice under limited conditions.
  14. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member

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    Owner/The Bass Spa, String Repairman/L & M Vancouver
    I've tried re-gluing bass bars with the top on and they just don't hold. The joint's impossible to clean out, the glue cools too quickly and its a bitch to clamp properly. With a real bass, the top pops off easily enough and you can make a lasting repair.
  15. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

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    Thanks for some authoritative infirmation, Jake. Your post confirms what was my understanding. I've heard that it can be difficult to cleanly remove the tops of some old Kays. That would seem to make it all the more important to be sure the job is done by an experienced pro.
  16. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member

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    Easy there Doc - IME the only old Kays that have hard-to-remove tops are those which have been re-glued with white or yellow glue. :( The ones with 50 year old hide glue are pretty decent to work with. ;)

    I recently removed the top from a '53 S-8 to re-glue the loose bass bar (impact...). While the top was off I went ahead and glued in a little breast patch to give the centre of the top some thickness so it could reproduce some higher frequencies. I'm happy to say that the bass turned out really well - it has much more definition to the sound and you have to look really hard to see that the top was ever off.
  17. MagnificentB

    MagnificentB

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    I get it and I appreciate all of your responses. As I said, I'm new to DB and that's why I posted this message.

    Well, it looks like the top is going to have to come off in order to make the repairs. I'm not sure if it's going to be worth the investment. I'm told in the neighborhood of $1000. I've got $950 invested in it already, and I doubt it will be worth $2k when it's repaired. The question now is, what do I do with it? It's otherwise decent shape, and even with the bass bar problem, it sounds pretty sweet. It'd be a shame to "total" it. :bawl:



    Jake does this bass qualify as "real"?

    Attached Files:

  18. MagnificentB

    MagnificentB

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    Actually the estimate is more like $1500...
  19. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

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    Here are some Kay retail prices.

    http://www.fretwellbass.com/kay-bass-c-33.html

    Looks like you may have room to sink some money in yours, or sell it and get yourself a restored one. You need to get this assessed for all the work needed before you start. I would take it to a couple of double bass luthiers for opinions.

    If you are just looking to play on a decent bass for the money, I'd sell it and get a Shen SB80 for $1.5k.
  20. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC Supporting Member

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    Easy there? :) Thanks for defining the "some" in my post.

    Well, those are sure the asking prices of some fine exemplars. I'm quite confident that a '60s-era M-1 won't fetch upwards of $3k. +1 on the recommendation to move to a Shen.

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