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Bill Merchant...good?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by sibass89, Apr 13, 2006.


  1. sibass89

    sibass89

    Jan 29, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    I've had some bad experiences with one NYC repair guy and I need to bring my bass in for a routine checkup. The bass used to be open but when the top was taken off the soundpost wasn't put in the right place, so that needs to be moved back to get rid of the wolfs that it created. Also, I've had two poorly repaired cracks on the top that need to closed, and it's time for a new bridge (or atleast top because I have adjusters).

    I was curious about people's experience with Bill Merchant. Is his work good quality? Is he quick with his work? I'm just looking for some feedback about him and his work.

    Thanks,
    Nick
     
  2. jonas

    jonas

    Dec 9, 2003
    Frankfurt am Main/Germany
    Kontrabass-Atelier, Lando Music (Germany)
    I never take off the top to put the soundpost in place. In Germany, we do this through the f-holes ...
     
  3. sibass89

    sibass89

    Jan 29, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    Oh I know that, but there is a crack on the top where it had to be taken off to be repaired. When this happened and they reset the soundpost, it created a lot wolf tones. There are a lot of things that can be attributed to wolf tones but thats the only thing right now that makes sense as I was using the same strings before and after the repair.
     
  4. Jeremy Allen

    Jeremy Allen Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    I've heard good things about Bill Merchant, but have never used his services.
    I see you're in S.I.; you could also hop on the Verazzano Narrows Bridge, head out on the Southern State, and see Jeff Bollbach, one of our esteemed TB luthiers. Although the work he did for me was minor, it was well-done and completed quickly.
     
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I heartily concur about Jeff Bollbach's work. There are pics of my before and after; click on my name in this post and go to my profile to search ALL THREADS STARTED BY and look for one called GETTING SOME WORK DONE.
     
  6. BGreaney

    BGreaney Guest

    Mar 7, 2005
    A friend of mine had taken his bass to Bill Merchant earlier in the year to have some small repairs addressed and to have an extension put on (very nice chromatic extension aside from small problems w/ the latch on the E that were fixed). Anyway, recently I took said friend out to see Jeff about some lovely cracks that had developed in the top of his instrument. I had strongly reccomended to him that it would be worth the trip. While we were on the LIRR making the trip out there he says, "Geez man, this is really a long trip, do you think it's worth it?" When we were on the train back to the city after we had picked our instruments up a few days later, he says, "Dude, that was totally worth the trip, I'm definitely going back to him from now on." I also hear from a lot of people pretty consistently that Bill tends to be a little rough with instruments in his workshop as a few of them had gotten their instruments back occasionally with a few fresh dings. In conclusion...you can draw your own conclusion. Not to say Bill Merchant is bad. For the few bad things I've heard, I've heard a lot more great things (I suppose the same could be said for almost any well reputed luthier, right?). He's very smart and knows what he's doing. But, if you have the time to drive out to Freeport (probably 40 minutes from the Verrazzano), it's definitely worth the trip IMO.
     
  7. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Hmmm. My instrument is far from "blemishless", but I saw no evidence of "rough handling" in any of my dealings with Jeff. My teacher was so impressed with the fingerboard replacement Jeff did for me that he took his "A" bass to Jeff for a new fingerboard.
     
  8. BGreaney

    BGreaney Guest

    Mar 7, 2005
    Oh, sorry Ed, I fixed that error right before you posted the reply. I meant Bill is the one that I've heard is a little rough w/ the instruments.
     
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Oh.


    Never mind.
     
  10. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Gilda Radner, 1977
     
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    I also do a great Edward G. Robinson...
     
  12. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York

    I know the guy in that story...

    Seriously though, Jeff did some great work on my bass. The cracks on my bass were really well repaired and my extension didn't even work this well when it was first built. I can't reccomend his work highly enough.
     
  13. sibass89

    sibass89

    Jan 29, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    Hey guys, thanks for all of the great feedback. I was thinking of going to Bollbach (I'm actually family friends with one of his neighbors), but I was thinking of Merchant because I don't drive (I'm only 16) and it was more convenient. I'll definately be going to Bollbach.

    Thanks for all the help. I just want to get my bass working perfectly before I go off to Cincinnati next year for school.

    I was also thinking about putting an extension on my bass. Anybody else have experiences with Bollbach's extensions?

    Thanks,
    Nick
     
  14. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Yeah, they are OK. Which neighbor? BTW, don't trust nicklloyd-he is a biased drinkin buddy.
     
  15. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    You are moving to Cincinnati? There's no good bass luthiers there.
     
  16. Uncletoad

    Uncletoad

    May 6, 2003
    Columbus Ohio
    Proprietor Fifth Avenue Fret Shop. Technical Editor Bass Gear Magazine
    Or much of anything for that matter.
     
  17. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Try to run down Bud Rink (well , not RUN DOWN, you know what I mean) he has JB extension...
     
  18. sibass89

    sibass89

    Jan 29, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    Nick - If everything works out I'll be going to CCM next year, so I'm moving to Cincinatti.

    Jeff - They are George and Tony Dabs (I think I spelled it right). I'm not sure if they live right next to you or on the same block but they tell me about you every holiday, and always say how people from all over the world come to get work on their basses.
     
  19. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Cincinnati.

    Do you eat meat? Get a 3-way chili when you move to town.
     
  20. sibass89

    sibass89

    Jan 29, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    Sorry about the typo, I had it right the first time I posted.
     

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