At what point does crack repairs negate a carved top ?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Anglico, Dec 11, 2017.

  1. What I'm getting at is if the carved top has one or two cracks repaired properly, did the repairs somewhat negate the benefits of a carved top ? I'm just talking loss of tone or resonance, is it now much closer to the higher end plywood models available ?
    Kickdrum likes this.
  2. That depends.

    Not all basses are equal. Some plys are better instruments than some carved basses.

    Financially, the point of diminishing returns hits when you experience a bad bass bar crack. The cost of repair can exceed the value of a cheap carved or hybrid bass.

    Sonically, you have to lard up a decent carved top with a lot of weight for it to sound worse than a mediocre ply top.

    The question frames a false dichotomy. Find a good bass. Play the heck out of it. Care for it appropriately. Have a talented luthier on speed dial when it inevitably needs repair.
  3. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
  4. I have never found this to be true in 25 years playing a lot of basses, traveling and touring. I've heard it said but have never experienced it. A carved bass has more going on than just tone, it is how you co-operate with the instrument, the ease of moving from one sound to the next, etc. The cracks do not seem to be a big deal, just have them repaired properly.
    DrayMiles likes this.
  5. I see your point, but not every individual instrument excels at every possible application. If that was the case I wouldn't own multiple instruments optimized for various applications.
  6. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    I have experienced a ply bass sounding better than a carved one. Once. Under unusual circumstances. My bass is a Shen SB 80 ply. My teacher has several basses but uses a pre-war German carved bass to teach with. One time in August with the humidity insanely high his bass sounded like mud and mine sounded better. A note, his bass is strung with gut which may well be the reason.
  7. Thanks everyone for the feedback