Broken Fingerboard

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Joe Smithberger, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Well, it has finally happened. Got home from work on Friday to find that my bass was knocked over by one of the kids. The end of the fingerboard caught the edge of the keyboard on our piano and the fingerboard popped off. To make matters worse, my luthier is on vacation untill the middle of the week. I have tuned down the strings to reduce the tension, but I am afraid to loosen them all the way for fear of dropping the sound post. Am I worrying about the wrong thing here? Will my guy just remove everything anyway once he gets it?

    The break is pretty clean, so I think I am lucky there. It looks like, for the most part, it just seperated at the glue joint. The bass in question here is a Shen plywood if that alters anyone's response.

    What should I do for now?
  2. Joe,
    Dang man that sucks. As far as the strings. I would loosen them completely. I mean why risk warping or cracking the neck cause of a soundpost. Its gona go to a Luthier anyway and spend some time on a work bench. Not a big deal to put it back.
  3. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Loosen the strings. Quickly.
  4. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Yes, what Geoff said.

    (Actually, it's good the neck didn't break or come loose from the joint. Fingerboards should be able to come off, if need be.)

    A couple of other pointers. Lay the bass down on your bed/sofa, put a towel under the tailpiece, tune the strings down, and take the bridge off. If the strings can come through the holes in the tailpiece (and on Shens I think they can) remove the tailpiece from the strings. With the 4 loose strings, gently coil them together into a 6" circle. This keeps them from flapping around and scratching the instrument. Make any sense? Also, a neck without a fingerboard is a VERY delicate piece of wood. It's actually a little surprising, but the strength of a neck comes from the fingerboard/joint. When you transport the instrument to the shop, keep all the weight away from the neck.

    Sorry to hear about your mishap. What was the punishment?:confused:

    (by the way, how far is Canton from Cincy?)
  5. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Thanks guys. Unfortunately, the two year old was the culprite and I just had to sulk about it. If it had been one of the older ones...?

    Like someone said, Canton is 4-5 hours from Cinci.

    I appreciate the help, the strings, bridge, and nut have been set down and a towel wrapped around the tailpiece. Did you know a fingerboard fits OK in the bow compartment of the cover? Without the bridge, the bass in it's soft case has kind of a body bag look to it. Definitely a bummer.

    I bought it from a local violin maker who should be back in town today. I just hope he doesn't see anything worse than I did.

    I guess I'll need to bungee the bass to that Hamilton stand from now on. Beware the unbungeed Hamilton.