Dress or Replace?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by mattwells, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. mattwells


    Mar 19, 2003
    Well, I had my FB dressed a little while back, but the luthier did a crappy job (to the point that I am not going to take it back to him). I either need to have it re-dressed or replaced. I am considering a replacement since my current FB (on an old American Standard) is a rosewood FB and I am starting to run out of wood on it. It probably has a few dressings left, though.

    Just wanted to get some of opinions from luthiers whose opinions I actually respect.

    PS - anyone know a good luthier in Atlanta?
  2. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    PS - anyone know a good luthier in Atlanta?[/QUOTE]

    This was previously posted by Mike Childree on another thread:

    FYI for you Atlanta-area guys: If you need work, advice, or just wanna see a bunch of nice basses, Ronald Sachs Violins in Lilburn is a good place to visit. I got a very good feeling talking with him. I'll be going back when I need local luthier work.
    Mike Childree
  3. A number of bassists in the jazz community here in Atlanta like Edward Svetlovsky. I have two numbers for Edward. If you are interested PM me.
  4. Heifetzbass

    Heifetzbass Commercial User

    Feb 6, 2004
    Upstate, SC
    Owner, Gencarelli Bass Works and Fine String Instruments, LLC.
    You might want to track down Emory Clements. Does great work... Don't have his number handy...

  5. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    I can't say that you should replace the board without seeing it, or maybe you could measure the side of the board and tell us what it measures in mm; that might help? That wood is very easy to plane though, and it may not need much work to make it right. It's generally thought that ebony produces a better sound, but you're probably looking at around $750 to replace it with ebony, whereas planing the board would be under $200 and probably under $100 if it's not too messed up.
  6. Martin, do you (or others) think you could post a "minimum" fingerboard thickness? I did a quick search on this and didn't come up with anything (or I didn't go back far enough).

    I'm another who's had a botched fb dressing in the past and I'm betting there are players like me who look at the side of their fingerboards and wonder "how much further down can this thing go?"

    Thanks so much!
    - Rob
  7. I replaced my fingerboard last fall. The old one was down to a thickness of 6.5- 8.5 mm at the edges, and 18.5 mm overall thickness at the overhang at the end of the neck. It was in need of some dressing and Bob Branstetter had advised me that if it wasn't too thin now it certainly would be after another dressing. It was probably the original board, old and very hard, the last guy that dressed it said it dulled his tools very quickly. But I had also noticed that the scoop in the board increased noticeably between unstrung and strung- an indication that the neck/ fingerboard was flexing.

    Steve at Heinl's in Toronto fitted a new fingerboard, bridge and tailwire. The change in the sound of the bass was HUGE, much more fundamental, much more 'air' to the sound, more projection, you can really physically feel how much more the whole instrument vibrates. Not just the body but the neck also, especially in half position you can really feel the neck vibrate. This is a big part of the reason I'm not prepared to dismiss A0 B0 matching as bubbermeiser (love that word...)
  8. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    Put a metal straight edge on it along where the fingerboard meets the neck and if it's not straight there I'd have it looked at. 10mm is a normal starting point, more than that and the bass feels too thick and clumsy. A lot of factory basses are 12mm or so. I'm not sure how thin to say is too thin, I suppose it would depend on the strength of the board and the neck. I don't think I'd want to go less than 5-6mm. I replaced the fingerboard on my bass a few years back and I believe it still had the original board on it from around 1840!
    The fingerboard was very thin and the neck had a slight bow in it.