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DB restoration for 'Slap' style

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by mikejdexter, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. mikejdexter


    Jul 9, 2009
    I have acquired a completely unplayable DB. It is a cheap bass--quite old--not very well made. Has been repaired very badly in the past--very amateur'ish work. I want to restore it to a good playable condition -- making it into a good slap style Rockabilly Bass.

    What makes a good Rockabilly bass:

    a) Does the FB have less radius than a conventional Bass? Should it be quite flat?
    b) Is ply used for the top? & back?--If so what thickness ply?
    c) Omit the 'F' holes to reduce feedback?
    d) Should the Bass be reinforced internally?
    e) Should one put reinforcement in the neck?
    (No! I do not intend to Jump on it--not at my weight & age!)

    Do you know of any websites that would be useful regarding construction for such a project?

    Your knowledge and ideas most welcome.
  2. Hi Mike.

    You know the rule, no pic, no badly repaired BSO ;).

    Before replying to Your questions, I do feel the need to point out that I'm just a hack DB noodler, so please do keep that in mind.

    Haven't measured the radius on my Eastern Block BSO, but it's flattish compared with the other DB's I've played.
    It also has a "Romberg bevel", I'm not experienced enough really to say whether that's a bad or a good thing.
    The neck profile on mind is pretty thin and triangular, something I find very comfortable compared with the half round baseball bat necks of "rockabilly" CCB's I've played.

    Plywood is more durable and somewhat less prone to feedback, not to mention lighter and more resistant to changes in humidity and temperature, so plywood would be my choice.

    If You ever want to play it acoustically, I wouldn't omit the F-holes.

    I would probably make some temporary covers for them though.
    Even inbuilt ;).

    Just like in any other box shaped object, reinforcements are a two edge sword.

    Reinforcing something may make another area weaker, and transfer the breakage line into an area it makes more damage than the inbuilt "fuse".
    Tying the neck block and the end pin together with a beam is one of the "reinforcements" that can go horribly wrong for example.

    I would explore the possibility of making the neck detachable though, makes a world of difference when taking that instrument on the road.

    If You're taking the FB off, then definitely yes IMO.


    KUNGfuSHERIFF Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2002
    Upstate NY
    First things first, let's establish what it is that you have. It would be a shame to further hack up the remains of what could be a nice old bass to suit a purpose that could be fulfilled by a $500 used Engelhardt bass.
  4. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
  5. mikejdexter


    Jul 9, 2009
    Thank you for your replies gentleman. I will have it checked out.