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Fingerboard not attached

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Ph3e, Oct 23, 2010.

  1. Ph3e


    Oct 23, 2010
    Clermont, FL
    I just received my first upright and the fingerboard is not attached to the neck. Is attaching it something I can do myself or do I have to take it to a music store (If so, about how much would it cost?)?
  2. You should take it to a luthier. If it was just a loose fingerboard you could conceivably glue it yourself with some hide glue and a few good clamps. However, I suspect there may be other setup issues which a trained professional could help you with. Where are you located? Perhaps someone here can help you find a trustworthy luthier in your area.

    Where you did buy this instrument from and what is their return policy? A completely detached fingerboard is not normal even for unfinished factory instruments.
  3. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    +1. This is strange. Was the bass set up otherwise (i.e. strung up and bridge in place)? If so, take down the string tension immediately, as the neck will bend or break without the fingerboard being there to support the tension. Also, this is not a job for the local music store. If you can't work things out with the seller then you absolutely must get the bass to a real luthier. Attaching a fingerboard does not require level five wisardry, but it's not something for a newbie to attempt. Also, the soundpost is certainly not properly fitted, and almost anyone on this forum will agree that that's something best left to a luthier.
  4. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC

    Was this a new bass? Where from? I can't think of a good reason why a bass would deliberately be shipped in this way.
  5. Ph3e


    Oct 23, 2010
    Clermont, FL
    I bought it off wwbw. I've never purchased from them before; I usually only buy from MusiciansFriend or from a brand's website. It's a Bellafina Bionda bass and it is by far the most gorgeous of my instruments. The bridge was not set up; it was in the front pocket of the case. The strings are on, but they are not tightened, they're just sitting there. The fingerboard is completely unattached from the neck. It is tied to not bounce around the case, so it looks like it was purposely shipped like that. I can post pictures later. I am in lake county (in central Florida). About how much will it cost? I pay for most of my instruments on my own and definitely cannot afford anything too outrageous.
  6. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Unless you made a deal to buy a bass with an unattached fingerboard, you should return it and get your money back! And read the noobie links here before buying anything else.
  7. The instrument in question can be found here.

    They have sent you the bass, but no where on this page does it say it will be set up. This would explain the low price. Most shops factor in set up time and materials as part of a new instrument's cost.

    Without seeing your bass specifically (though I've seen plenty of internet-ordered, unfinished basses), here are the things I would guess still need to be done:
    -Glue fingerboard
    -Plane fingerboard
    -Recut bridge (the feet probably fit, but the bridge top will need to be fit to the fingerboard)

    Additionally, the strings, tailpiece, and endpin that come with these types of instruments are usually of very low quality and would be replaced at most reputable shops.

    Depending on how much needs to be done, you're looking at anywhere from $300 to $1000 of work and replacement parts. I see there is a 45 day return policy for this instrument. I would strongly advise taking advantage of it.
  8. They sent you a broken bass. Send it back on their dime. Accept no excuses.
  9. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    One of my favorite quotes, lately:
  10. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I think they are being a bit deceptive by not disclosing that the the board is not fitted. It's in place in the pictures, right? Still, when the luthier is finished and paid, it may not be a bad deal after all. You'll have supported a local luthier, and probably will get a better setup.
  11. Without seeing the bass in question, I'm going to have to disagree. In my brief experience working at a shop, it was ALWAYS cheaper to buy the bass directly from our shop. When people came in with unfinished eBay finds we were required to charge full price for all the work they needed. Very often their set up / repair bill was more than the initial cost of the instrument. Additionally, the instruments we had for sale were of significantly better construction.
  12. Ph3e


    Oct 23, 2010
    Clermont, FL
  13. That sucks and is odd. That bass shouldnt have shipped out like that. Have you contacted the place you bought it? They should give you full instructions on a return at their expense and give you a full refund or exchange option....if you want to go that route.

    Or...they should send you a check for whatever a luthier is gonna charge you for the job. I doubt they would do that though. I don't know how their return policy is, but if you bought it from musiciansfriend, I don't think you would have any troubles or issues of them makin' it right.

    Is it a ebony or ebonized board? I was also interested in that same bass. I ended up finding a nice used Holbein 50/2 for $650 on craigslist that was setup by a pro shop and also had a bridge upgrade.

  14. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    The fingerboard was knocked off in transit. About 6 years ago I had a brand new $9,000.00 Wilfer arrive this way. Amazingly, there was only 1 slight ding in the top and Jeff Sahs reinstalled the fingerboard overnight. It's not that big a deal if you go to a professional doublebass luthier.
  15. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    That's it exactly. I've had a well-packed DB show up with the board knocked loose too. Its a pretty simple repair for a DB luthier. You'll need a full setup from your luthier anyway, so its not a huge problem. ;)
  16. shadygrove


    Feb 14, 2008
    Marysville, WA

    +1. For the amount of money it will take to repair and setup this bass I think the OP can do a whole lot better. If after making the repair you have a 9k Wilfer that's one situation, but if you wind up putting many hundreds of dollars into a Cheap Chinese Bass to make it playable that's another. It's your choice OP, but please do read the newbie links at the top of the Basses [DB] forum before deciding your next move.
  17. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Sorry to hear of your troubles. It seems, however, that you haven't learned the most important lesson. That is, buy a double bass from a bona fide double bass shop/luthier. Stay away from mass-market instrument retailers and guitar shops. You will end up with WAY more bang for the buck following this advice. The absolute minimum you'll pay for a decent new instrument with a proper setup is $1200-$1500. There are virtually no exceptions; there is no magic. IMO, you should investigate a full refund and start over. That may mean looking for a good deal on a used bass. I suggest you not throw good money after bad.
  18. Ph3e


    Oct 23, 2010
    Clermont, FL
    I just received a response email from wwbw. The person who sent it said he would speak with his supervisors tomorrow to get me a final answer. He said that the bass was not to have been shipped that way and it would probably be better for both of us if they just reimbursed repair costs because of the cost, distance, time, and risk of damage during shipping. He also said that if there is not a good luthier nearby, they could exchange the bass for a new one that will be checked before shipping.
  19. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Not surprised that they didn't offer to refund you your money. My advice would be to push for that as hard as you can. WWBW says they have a "45-day satisfaction guarantee" policy. Seems the only thing they won't normally cover is the original shipping fee. The bass you bought, however, seems to ship for free! So, there are no original shipping charges.

    Remember, even if they cover the repair costs, you'll still likely be on the hook for substantial charges in set-up fees in order to make the instrument reasonably playable.
  20. Here's my case with Musicians Friend (I know different stores/different return policies), I once bought a Squier Classic Vibe bass. After about 30 days, I decided I just didn't really want the bass. So I called up customer service and told them I wasn't satisfied with the bass. Told them the action was too high and I couldnt get it low without paying out to have setup work done. They said fine, they emailed me a pre paid return label so i could just drop the bass off at any UPS store. It was a "free shipped" item too. They even refunded all my money.

    So, maybe their return policy will work out the same. Or maybe a luthier can over quote you for the job (and WWBW pays the cost) to help cover cost for other adjustments too. Is that dirty or wrong of me to think to try that? Haha...


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