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An old 1/2 bass potential purchase

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by ksdaddy, Mar 1, 2016.

  1. ksdaddy


    Jul 5, 2002
    Caribou, ME
    I've got a chance to get an old flat backed 1/2 sized bass. I did see it in person a year ago but didn't pay much attention, as I didn't think he was interested in selling. It's very rough but I may be able to get it for $500. Thoughts?




  2. Nope. Do a search for "blockless wonder." YUUUUGE can-o'worms.
    carl h. and salcott like this.
  3. rickwolff

    rickwolff Certified Gear Junkie, Amateur Adjunct Professor Supporting Member

    Doesn't look that rough from what I can see. I have a very similar looking half size (no longer playable) that I played jazz on for years. Loved that bass. If the one you're looking at is 'healthy' I'd buy it in a minute. (but then I'm a total bass junkie) ps where is it? Lol
  4. The bass doesn't have a neck block, the neck heel has broken in a really bad spot and been repaired, the button has been damaged and repaired, the back center seam is separating, the fingerboard is dyed softwood and the back is coming off.

    It's that rough.
    salcott likes this.
  5. Remyd


    Apr 2, 2014
    St. Louis, MO
    There ain't much bass to that bass; it needs some $1000's of love at the violin shop, and that neck is a mess (are those holes from an L bracket?).

    I'd pass.
    salcott likes this.
  6. rickwolff

    rickwolff Certified Gear Junkie, Amateur Adjunct Professor Supporting Member

    Much better advice than mine. I'll just crawl back into my cave. And I hadn't even seen that the back was coming off (must have been my Rose-colored glasses).
  7. The good thing about rose-colored glasses is that they tend to be fragile...
  8. I'm not seeing what some of you are seeing. For example, when looking for the back separation I see only shadows. And the neck repair, bad as it may be, seems to be holding up under string tension. Wouldn't a top tap reveal if there was a neck block or not?

    For $500, I'd take a gamble. But then, I'm very partial to half-size basses and hat-peg tuners.
  9. rickwolff

    rickwolff Certified Gear Junkie, Amateur Adjunct Professor Supporting Member

    Well, brother, you and I certainly suffer from the same addiction: 1/2 size basses and hat peg tuners. I no longer have a 1/2 size as I found a deserving student (or he found me) who needed it more than I did.

    As for the hat-pegs, I did a $10 mod to my 7/8 Shen, and when I showed the picture to my luthier he was surprised when I told him they were just decorative. He thought they were the 'real thing'.

    Hat Pegs 2.
  10. ksdaddy


    Jul 5, 2002
    Caribou, ME
    Thanks for the replies. The numbers are actually a little better than I stated. He has this old bass plus an Old Kraftsman (Kay) archtop from the 50s and he was asking $600 for the pair. Before the conversation was over, he said he'd wiggle on the price, which led me to believe $500 was a number we could agree on. The archtop is very rough cosmetically but it's got a straight neck and good neck set so I could probably squeak $100 or more out of it, thereby dropping the exposure on the bass. Understood it could become a floor lamp; not my first time with that scenario but I also don't give up easily:

    The Miserable Wreck | Facebook

    And I just blew $200 on a 1972 Seeburg jukebox that hasn't been fired up since the mid 80s so I'm a sucker for punishment.
  11. Jeez, you are persistent. Have you fitted neck blocks and bass bars before? I'm fairly sure that Tyrolean will need both.
    salcott likes this.
  12. drurb

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

    Apr 17, 2004
    Send me $500 and I'll ship you a floor lamp. I'll save you a bunch of aggravation. :D
    salcott, KUNGfuSHERIFF and carl h. like this.
  13. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Having owned an Olde Tyrolean for many years, here's my two cents: just from the pix, I think this bass will need a neck block and most likely a new neck or graft. The bass bar may be integral (left during carving rather than being a separate piece)-if so, it will probably need replacing. These basses are prone to collapsing on the lower part of the top around the bass bar as well, especially if it's integral. I'd pass on it unless I had a lot of disposable income that would never be recouped in a future sale. Too bad.
  14. Wow, Rick! That's some fine work. I've been toying with the idea of making a three-string Frankenbass and doing the same thing, although my fittings won't be brass and therefore won't flaunt the panache of your Shen. How did you drill the screw holes through the hat-peg crowns: drill press or free hand?
  15. rickwolff

    rickwolff Certified Gear Junkie, Amateur Adjunct Professor Supporting Member

    I did it free hand and covered my mistakes with spackle. lol. It was rather a hack job but you'd really have to look closely to know that, and I don't let anyone get that close to me bass.

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