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buzzing = open seam?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Justin K-ski, Apr 4, 2006.


  1. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    Hey all,

    When I picked up my bass this moringing there was an annoying buzz, not just on a few notes but anywhere I played. I tried fiddling with the tailpeice adjusters (Kolstein tailpeice) and touching the bridge.

    It sounds almost as though I've plugged by bass into an amp and I have distortion on. When I knock around the edges I think I hear the buzz near the bottom but I could be playing trickes on myself.
    I keep the room well humidified and have dampits in when I go out.

    Any thoughts? Is this an urgent, impending disaster or can I let it go for a few days until its easier to get into NY?
     
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    That type of sound usually does indicate an open seam. Knock the plate with your knuckle over the seam systematically. An open seam will produce a "thrap" sound. It is not a sign of impending doom. BTW, loose the dampits.
     
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The Thlot Plickens !!
     
  4. I had a similar problem yesterday when I was at choir practice. I thought my bass was going to fall apart. I finally realized the jack for my gage realist had slipped down a little bit and was vibrating against the tailpiece. If you have a similar pickup, maybe check that out. Other words list to Jeff, he seems to be a very knowledgable luthier on these forums.
     
  5. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    I've got the same situation going on right now. It's almost not visible to the eye, but it sure creates a racket on a couple of notes. The open seam is down near the tailblock, and barely the thickness of a piece of paper. We've had some pretty wild climatic swings lately, so maybe that's the culprit.

    The good news is that I discovered a luthier living here who can do the fix for me; someone who I never even knew was here. She's coming over this week to do the job, and she's going to give me a hide glue tutorial while she's at it. It's amazing how many guitar luthiers there are here, but this is the only one I've found with double bass knowledge. She does bow rehairs, too.
     
  6. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    I had a customer in the other day that really digs in with a black haired French bow. This guy can really get a big sound out of almost any bass. His favorite new bass that day had a harsh rattle on C# and D when he really played hard. We spent several minutes holding various parts until I discovered that the bottom treble side tailpiece corner was rattling against the saddle at the loudest volumes. At first we worried about the usual suspected hidden top crack(s), seam separation, loose bass bar, etc. It was a big relief top both of us that a simple tailwire adjustment fixed the problem.

    Steve Swan
     
  7. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    Thanks everyone.

    Jeff, they're not actually dampits. They're plastic bags with holes in them so theres no dripping. Is this still a bad idea?
     
  8. Justin K-ski

    Justin K-ski

    May 13, 2005
    Also, is there a "quick fix" solution I can use? I won't be able to get my bass to NY until friday/saturday and the sound is driving me nuts!!
     
  9. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Try stuffing a small piece of soft foam down b/w the tailpiece and the bass. That might help.
     
  10. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Justin-
    For one thing this has been an amazingly mild winter and I for one have not had to use a humidifier since Dec. You really don;t need any humidification generally by spring. If there is no dripping then your method may not be a bad idea, but what is it actually accomplishing? One can make the argument that in a tight case humidifiers may have an effect but in a relatively open dry environment they are really just a fart in the wind. I always try to convince folks that the only safe procedure is to accurately monitor the humidity and then control it. hth
     
  11. Aleph5

    Aleph5

    Feb 24, 2004
    Tennessee
    Funny (well, not really), but my Cleveland's got one too. Also extremely narrow, but in the C-bout between the back and side nearest the bass bar. Arnold advised in an e-mail, as I recall, to find a luthier who would open the gap (just widen it a little, I think), "clean out," and re-glue. I described this to a local luthier who's done at least some work on the occasional bass and he told me I could probably just get some glue up in there the best I can without cleaning or widening and without taking it into the shop. (He also said that since it's against the back, I didn't really need to use hide glue.) So I got me a set of these syringes and some Franklin/Titebond Liquid Hide glue to try this, but I've still not actually tried the surgery. I don't seem to hear the rattle as much since the weather's changed, though I still think the procedure is needed.

    Do you knowledgeable types (Jeff, Ken, Steve, et. al.) think it sounds like I can do this--squirting some glue in this paper thin slot with said syringes/glue and produce an acceptable fix?
     
  12. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    Man , I'm all ears....I've heard that most luthiers frown on the bottled stuff. I'm also curious about those "seam repair kits" that you see for sale ....I think Lemur and Kolstein both have them. Glue, clamps, and a spatula.
     
  13. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I keep a bottle of this around now that I am back with the DBs. In my younger years, I also used this stuff when I didn't have time to cook some fresh stuff up. It is good for temp repairs like seems and cracks. Recently I had a couple of small cracks in my Martini open up and glued them. I later brought the Bass to Arnold and he said it was fine and put some patches on it from the outside with long clamps. I have glued seams on my Gilkes and Dodd as well as other Basses with this Glue. Un-like white or yellow glues the liquide hide glue in the bottle is easily washed out with warm water and re-glued as necessary.

    I think keeping a bottle around is like having a first aid kit. Gotta patch up those lil cuts and see the doctor first chance..

    NEVER use white glue, yellow glue, epoxy, crazy gule or any other non hide type wash away glues to fix cracks or glue seams. One time I was making an Ebony Shim for a NUT and used Cyano quick dry (crazy glue formula) but this was nut to nut and NOT Nut to Bass. Don't do what can't be un-done later. Basses always need to be re-repaired at some point and killing it with the wrong glue is a bit of a sin.
     
  14. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Forget the syringe. Get a thin knife (like a pallette knife), and put some thinned glue on it. Now work it into the opening and slide it around as far as it will go in both directions. Clean the excess with a damp cloth and clamp it up. More glue will probably squeeze out--you can clean that with a damp q-tip or small brush after the clamp-up. Guys, don't try this on large openings, because chances are there will be some bulging or misalignment that needs to be addressed.
     
  15. Aleph5

    Aleph5

    Feb 24, 2004
    Tennessee
    You are talking about doing this on the finished side (outside), no? I don't know how an amateur like me could reach to do it from inside. Otherwise, I'm good to do this.

    Thanks, guys.
     

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