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First post, first bass and some DIY lutherie

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Winny Pooh, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. Winny Pooh

    Winny Pooh

    Oct 20, 2009
    Hello hello! To date I have been playing an electric upright and after 6 years of denying myself the pleasure I finally got a an acoustic bass. Man am I happy. Its a Czech made ply bass imported under the name of British music store Boosey and Hawkes made sometime between the 60's and 90's. (more info is scarce) The bass is in pretty good condition and seems to have a shiny poly type finish, rosewood neck and came with a yucky adjustable footed bridge. With a bit of bravado I decided that I would do the work myself as the costs would be far lower.(no flames please, I built my EUB and have done a fair but of Guitar DIY) Thanks to some helpful posts on the setup sub-forum and a couple of days reading I felt okay to attempt it myself. I took a a train on a Saturday afternoon and got a beautiful ebony/brass endpin unit, bridge blank and set of adjusters from Tony at the Contrabass Shoppe. (Who deserves a medal for answering clearly novice questions respectfully and providing much appreciated advice and assistance that I cant go further into but which was very much above and beyond the call of duty so to say) So I went to work. Lots of work. I had to tool up and got a small drill press for drilling the adjuster holes, clamps, hand plane and other bits. It took ages to cut the bridge to size, drill and sand like a monkey for days at a time in the backroom cum workshop. I also had to cut the soundpost down, reset it as well as stripping and cleaning the tuners and widening the endpin hole for the new endpin. Happily it's finally cleaned up and restrung with a set of Spiro lights. Now I just have to get good at playing the thing.

    The workshop

    endpin upgrade

    new french bridge with personalised wings

    Some pics from this morning



  2. davidprice


    Jan 1, 2005
    Welcome! Nice work and nice bass!
  3. tomshepp

    tomshepp Supporting Member

    Jan 11, 2006
    Maynard MA
    Nice job. It must take a bit of nerve on the first project, but sounds like you have the experience. Looks good! How is the sound?
  4. Gearhead43


    Nov 25, 2007
    Great job! Nice bass too.


    Mar 4, 2008
    Larisa, Greece
    Wellcome to the dark side of the moon. Some info for your baby. It's been built in Luby, the Czech Republic, formerly Czechoslovakia, in the factoy that today is called Strunal. The ply is of decent quality and the construction is good. The outer linings, a strong signal of the Central European school, make the sound a bit "choked", but it delivers a warm piz sound. Strung with Spiros is a good student instrument and the personal time you devoted is an investment, since you can improve your skills in DB lutherie. The arco sound is not so good, but you obviously expect it from a student ply bass. I'm sure when you'll upgrade to a better instrument, you'll keep it as a back up bass.
    Enjoy it, find a good teacher and play, play, play.....
  6. Winny Pooh

    Winny Pooh

    Oct 20, 2009
    Interesting point about the outer linings! I'm pretty happy with the sound and for the sum investment I feel I got a good sounding bass. I play Pizz only so any lack of "complexity" in the sound is not so apparent. Thanks for the comments guys.
  7. Nice work. I'm no luthier either but have done a few of those jobs, slowly, with patience. Satisfying, innit?

    Threads on self-build EUBs are well-received here, if you ever feel like putting up some pics of that project ;-)

  8. . . . and your photography is excellent.
  9. PaulKing


    Apr 17, 2004
    London, UK
    Very nice work. Beautiful bass, especially considering it's supposed to be a student instrument.

    I have an almost identical but probably older B+H bass, labelled 'Excelsior', but manufactured under name Artia by (as MIKMAN points out) the Luby (now Strunal) factory in Czech republic. I've placed it to about 1967-9 - even managed to swap e-mails with the woman who was in charge of export to B+H at the time!
    Mine's been refinished though, in blonde.

    Your's looks a bit more recent, from the tuners and general condition.

    I own 2 Kay basses too, and have had a dozen other ply basses in revent years. My B+H is still favourite, with the cleanest, sweetest sound of the lot. It's not a complex harmonic rich sound, certainly with the nylon strings I favour, but it is pure and strong and sustained.
  10. Winny Pooh

    Winny Pooh

    Oct 20, 2009
  11. PaulKing


    Apr 17, 2004
    London, UK
    Actually there are quite a few around still. They come on ebay from time to time, along with the Golden Strad model.

    Yours is the nicest I've seen.

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