Angus MacGyver, Luthier

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by rickwolff, May 12, 2017.

  1. rickwolff

    rickwolff Supporting Member

    I recently got a used BSX Allegro bass. The bass is only a couple years old and in very good contition. However, after playing it a bit it was clear the A and especially the E string were a bit too low compared to the D and G. The main problem that caused was a 'buzzing' when fingerting F and F# on the E string when the adjustable action was set to be correct otherwise.

    I took it up to a local string repair shop that works primarily on violins and cellos to see if they could put a little additional scoop in the ebony fingerboard. They took one look at the bass and said they had no way to secure it on the bench and couldn't guarantee their usual high-level of workmanship on this particular instrument - basically they declined to work on it.

    A little adjustment to the bridge (lowering the G and D string on the bridge, then raising the actions slightly would have been an easy fix. However, this particular bridge with the built in piezzo elements is no 'carvable'.

    What to do? I never watched MacGyver when I was young - even though the actor who played him and I from from the same metro area (AND his father was a well-regarded bassist in the area). But my dad, being a bit of a MacGyver type guy himself had taught me that most physical problems can be fixed with either coat-hanger wire or filiment tape.

    It didn't seem either one of those would work, but I ended up cutting a couple pieces of stiff cardboard (similar to box-board like on a cereal box, but more dense). I double it up on the E string and put 1 thickness under the A string on the bridge. The pressure of the string presses down on the cardboard and forces it into the groove on the bridge so it will stay in place. I tuned it up, adjusted the action, and 'voila'. Just about perfect.

    My wife, the resident sceptic, said "That's fine until your in the middle of the gig and the string slips off the bridge". Well, I'll bring it tonight and see. I think it's going to work just fine. And it makes no noticable difference in the tone or the sustain.

    Eat your heart out, MacGyver.

    MacGyver Bridge.jpg
    Who da Ville and Don Kasper like this.
  2. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Cardboard is a well respected tonewood

  3. Sawdust and Superglue in the string slots.
  4. Jim T

    Jim T

    Nov 28, 2004
    Rick - I had the same issue, same location with my BSX... The luthier I use for my carved bass said no. Took it to a second luthier (happens to have worked at same shop, and taught luthier #1) and proactively asked if he could place the unbolted neck in a vise to plane it - which he did, and vastly improved.
    rickwolff likes this.
  5. rickwolff

    rickwolff Supporting Member

  6. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Angus - Is it true that you use double-sided Scotch Tape to affix fingerboards? I've heard this about you...
  7. rickwolff

    rickwolff Supporting Member

    Shhhhh. Don't give away my trade secrets. (And my friends call me Mac (but you can call me Mr. MacGyver)).
    Don Kasper likes this.
  8. birgebass


    Nov 7, 2011
    I have done the same thing in the past with an old snare drum head. It worked just fine until I could get my bass to a luthier.
  9. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

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