bass bar

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by farmerdude, Oct 24, 2001.

  1. Well here is another sad story for the week. I just discovered that the bass bar on my Kay has come unglued the last 4"s or so on the end pin side. Now, taking off the top is expensive work. Is there any trick way to glue and clamp the bar without taking the top off? If not, should I play the bass in this condition?
  2. If you like your bass, have it repaired as soon as possible. Under the pressure of the strings the belly will begin to collapse along the F-hole, just like not having a soundpost would do on the other side.
  3. Wow this has been a real bad week for the DB.
    I think I will lock mine in the closet.
  4. Ouch!!!

    I took my bridge off after reading your comment David. Thanks for the info.
  5. Unfortunately if 4 inches of the glue has failed the rest of it is probably ready to pull off. A good test, with no tension on the top, would be reach in and well, just try and rip it off. If the glue is failing it will probably come right off. If you can't get a grip on the bass bar get a helper with really long fingers who can reach in. My teenage son can easily grab the bass bar on my Swingmaster. I can barely touch it! Kays and Englehardts have a little bigger F-hole than most. You do need to look with a mirror and make sure the inner veneer isn't tearing away with it. If the veneer looks like it is peeling STOP. If the bass bar does just peel right off at least you know for sure the top or back has to come off for the repair. If the bass bar seems tight except for the 4 inches that has come loose and the top and the back seem nice and tight rig up a post that will put pressure on the bass bar when inserted and have it ready to go. Slip some slow dry two part epoxy in the split with whatever rigged up stick you can come up with. (the hard part) Now insert the post as a clamp. Is there any trick? Well it is all done with smoke and mirrors. Minus the smoke!
  6. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
  7. Sure, after all the gymnastics of getting in there I would want to be darn sure it's going to stick and stay put. If the rest of the bass bar comes loose except for this repair I would use epoxy on that also. It's not meant to ever come apart. Is it?
  8. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur In Memoriam

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    Good you removed the tension. Take it to a good luthier for an evaluation. They may be able to glue it without taking off the top. It's been done, but it will depend on the condition of the rest of the bass/bar connection.
  9. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Do you use hide glue or epoxy to attach a bass bar?
  10. Hide glue is the norm. I, me personally would use epoxy. At least on a plywood bass that didn't follow any traditional rules of instrument making when they were gluing up those plys.
  11. Hey thanks for the info Wellspal. I never thought of using a post as a clamp. It may have worked in this case. Hard to say. ...a little update on this bass... I took the top off and everything looks ok. Just the 6" or so needs glue and a few patches along the lid. Showed it to a luthier friend and he agreed on a permanent glue (as Wellspal said) since we did not want the bar to ever come loose. I would not do this on a carved. In the case that it would come loose, the laminate would more that likely come with it and would need a new layer of laminate. That would be worse case now that the bar was easy to fix...I need to figure how to glue the top on again:D
  12. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Heretic Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    You're a braver man than I (or more luthieriologically inclined!).
  13. Youve met me. You know better than that.:)
    I guess I did ok for my first removal.
  14. Once again hide glue is the standard for gluing the top. I just glued my dads' 40's Regal plywood back on with exterior carpenters glue (Elmers) and lots of pipe clamps with the plastic protective covrs on them. No bass police came to the door and it sounds great!
    But yeah, I wouldn't do it that way on a carved bass. Glad I could help.
  15. vanderbrook

    vanderbrook Heretic Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2001
    Denver, CO, USA
    Does that mean you've got the top back on? Or is it too early to congratulate you on the reassembly?
  16. Glueing anything with epoxy makes it so permanent, that it's impossible to take it apart for repairs in the future. Think about it...

    What surprises me is that any luthier worth his/her salt would make such a recommendation. I've always been told that hide glue should be used... always... NEVER EVER USE EPOXY! ...don't even THINK of using epoxy!

    - Wil
  17. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    I can just see Jeff Bollbach, poised over the keyboard, coiled for the strike....
  18. I'll say it agian, I guess I did ok for my first removal. ;)
  19. Uh-oh, here come the bass police now. Before all the purist in the crowd start a lynch mob let's remember what we are talking about here. A plywood bass starts out as a sheet of plywood in a gigantic factory in southern Indiana. The plys are glued together with PVA glue. (poly-vinyl-something) The reason they use this particular glue is that it is permanent. Will not re-melt. When the plywood is dampened, heated and clamped into a mold at the Englehardt-Link factory in Elk Grove Village Illinois they really don't want those plys coming apart. However when they glue all the pretty pieces together they do use hide glue just in case you want to open that baby up. So with all that in mind I am really not going to lose any sleep if I know my bass bar is permanately glued. As for the top and back, well I would definetly stick with hide glue. The 40's Regal I used carpenters glue on gets alot of abuse and is stored half the time in a basement.
  20. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I agree to an extent with Healthyfriend but recommend further thought. Being a "purist" regarding a plywood may on occasion be taking it too far. However, there are no permanent repairs and one has to always consider what happens if the repair fails. Basically we're looking at a choice of hide glue, aliphatic resins, or epoxy. Hide glue, while those who got to read my rant know I have a fetish for, would not be my recommendation. It has poor gap filling properties and only excells in fine joinery. This is usually not the case with a ply. Plus it is not really compatible with the glue that was originally used which is almost certainly an aliphatic resin[carpenter glue]. Epoxy may hold but for how long? Then what do you do ? It cannot be cleaned out-plus it is very thick and heavy which could affect the tone. I would recommend the carpenter glue for the bar. After it is glued I would put a strip of linen over the end of the bar in such a way that it forms a "U" over the bar and extends 1.5centimeters onto the top oneither side of the bar. Impregnate this with hide glue as insurance.