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Christopher hybrid top plate crack experience?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by etorgerson, Mar 5, 2017.

  1. I have a Christopher hybrid from 2006 that is starting to show a crack in the gloss finish along the seam between plates from the saddle up several inches (maybe 20ish cm) towards the bridge. I have several questions.
    1. Anyone else have this happen? How common is this.
    2. How is the gloss finish to work with for luthiers?
    3. I assume that the plate will need to come off and be reglued with patches inside.
    4. I live in suburban Chicago. Now that Classic Contrabass has closed up shop, who would you recommend? I would be willing to drive as far as Madison or Milwaukee as well.
    Luckily, I have a friend's plywood on loan.
  2. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    A few quick things: Pictures would help. The gloss finish should not make any difference. Depending on what the pictures show, you may not need to have the top taken off. Chicago winter makes me think you may have a low humidity problem.
  3. vejesse


    Apr 8, 2006
    Madison, Wi
    Double Bass Workshop
    I seem to recall there was a period when Christopher basses had a problem with the center seams opening...
  4. I was afraid of that. It's too clean. Right along the seam. I wonder if it was bad glue or bad prep work.
  5. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Andrew Hassel chicagobassworks.com is worth checking with as well as Scott Henrie (my luthier) and Mark Sonksen. They are all good so price may guide you.
    etorgerson likes this.
  6. Eric, thanks. I always appreciate your spot-on advice.
    I think I might have met you years ago when I was an assistant engineer at Universal.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  7. Just got an evaporative humidifier with digital humidistat controls on clearance with two sets of filters for under $30. It is now living in my practice room with my stringed instruments. Hopefully that will keep me from having to get $$ repairs. I tried using dampits and other humidifiers before and have two problems. 1, I don't play daily, especially since I double. 2. I don't like shoving drippy wet things into expensive wood things, especially the ones I have that are about 100 years old.
  8. That's why you wring out and wipe down the wet things so they're not drippy. Common sense.
    james condino likes this.
  9. Still doesn't answer the everyday thing when I'm often gone for 16-18 hours, have to take care of animals And have six instruments to 'wipe down wet things' for.
  10. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    It may not be a crack. Often the center seam shows a prominent visual line where it was glued during seasonal changes- you can feel it with your hand, even more so if it was put together with a modern glue. A thick finish can crack there and appear to be in the wood, but it is just a finish check if you are lucky. Have you contacted the manufacturer? They may be aware of certain problems and batches and be willing to help resolve them. I'm not a Christopher dealer, but have found them to be very helpful folks. The regional rep calls me up all of the time to chat it up and offer deals whenever they have them going on- they seem like nice people to work with. A photo or two would help the visual nerds here.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  11. "Still doesn't answer the everyday thing when I'm often gone for 16-18 hours"

    Yeah, me too. So what? Do it right and manage environmental conditions correctly and you can go away for a week in the dead of winter without worrying about it.
  12. My thoughts exactly. I figure if all the paper, wood flooring, and furniture in the closed door room is at least at 40%, then the humidity ought to be more stable with less swings. I hadn't had any problems with my other instruments --yet, so I thought the house was ok. Guess not.
  13. I was thinking the same thing since I haven't heard or felt anything different about the instrument. This is the only epoxy coated instrument I have and boy is it a tough finish-nothing like the oils.
    I bought it second hand, but do have a couple of dealers in the area. Will check around during my week off.
  14. From what I can see that crack is tidy so it could well be the case that the center seam is letting go.

    What you could do, in lieu of having the top taken off, is blade strong hide glue into the crack, clean up the slop and leave it alone.
  15. That would be worth considering! Thanks.
  16. RSBBass


    Jun 11, 2011
    I have a weekend getaway place in Vermont that we use year round but somewhat less frequently in the winter. I have a large evaporative room humidifier that I use there. It has a five gallon reservoir and can keep a fairly large room (12' X 36') at 35% for over two weeks. Evaporative humidifiers have their drawbacks (potential for mold) but it works.
    etorgerson likes this.