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Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by LouisF, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Has anybody had any experience converting 3-stringers. I found a really beat up (photos to follow soon, I promise) small Tyrolean (we think) flatback - circa 1880's? in the back of band instruments shop and gave the guy $600 for it.

    The cracks on the sides - and there are ALOT of them look like they've been filled from the outside in with some sort of poly-bond0-filler; the back looks as if it has been replaced with a plywood from the 1950's (screwed on with the screws visible)

    The scroll has the original 3 tuners and a large cello peg stuck in about where the D tuner would go - maybe a little higher - to hold the G string! The fingerboard looked like an Olympic ski run with humps and bumps and it hand nylon rockabilly strings tied in knots around the pegs. The bridge still had the center notch for the 3 string - and was very low.

    Despite all this the top is in very good shape, the bass has punch and sustain and has some character

    Gary Chen-Stein took a look at it for me and we both decided that for the moment it probably wasn't worth the cost - and risk of taking off the back or from and tha since the cracks seemed to be holding, we'd leave well enough alone there too.

    He planed and stained the board and adjusted the old bridge bridge to it and put on a set of low tension Corelli's. His only solution for the tuners was to take them all out, seal the holes and reposition them, but again, that seemed to be a lot of work and expense for a bass that probably isn't worth it.

    I'll take it to Lisa Goss at LA Bassworks on the weekend, to see what she thinks - but I was wondering what, if anything, anyone thought.

    Photos will follow (I promise - I just have to learn how to send them!!)

  2. Anon2962


    Aug 4, 2004
    Sounds like the bass is pretty beat up, but if you like it, then that's definately enough to warrent a conversion, after all, it's not much practical use with just 3 strings. I had a 3 to 4 string conversion done on my bass. I don't think there's any way of avoiding filling in the old holes in the scroll and repositioning them for a 4 stringer...unless you found another scroll lying around that you could graft on! but that may be alot more expensive than the other option. it sure is sweet tho, seeing the bass for the first time with 4 strings.:hyper:

  3. I got a 3 stringer currently under the knife.
    In a moment of weakness I purchased a 3-string basketcase on eBay. It’s currently with Dave Mallard here in SD. He’s taking his time. Right now the top is off with various repairs going on. I’m eager to see how it look at this point. I have to run a set of four old obligatos over to him soon.
  4. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks, both, for the moral support. Good luck Fred -

    I'll keep you posted on this end.