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Found in the Attic

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by carlopetro, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. Today I was contacted because an old bass was found in a friend of a friend’s attic and the owner wanted to know if this instrument could be brought back to life.

    More photos:

    The story behind the instrument is that the owner worked as a lighting tech for the venue of our local symphony. (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) and some time in the 80's he was to throw it out in the trash along with other items in the Orchestras storage space. The owner asked if he could have it as at the time it was a functioning instrument. He then put it in his garage attic for storage. Well 30 some years go by and while cleaning out the attic because he is now moving from the house he finds the bass.

    The instrument was left with the tension on and no protection from the elements. Here on the prairies the summers are hot and dry with winters that are brutally cold and even dryer. As you can see from the photos the bass basically disintegrated.

    I told the owner that I would place it on the forum to see if anyone had any ideas if this instrument was worth putting back together.

    The bass seems very small to me the length of the body is around 44" and the width of the lower bout is around 25". There are no id markings or labels on it.

    That’s about it, any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance,

    Attached Files:

  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I kinda think it's been repaired once or twice.
  3. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Well....if I found it, I'd be pretty excited, but.....

    It can be brought back to life, at a considerable amount of time invested. It would be cost prohibited unless done by a luthier (or learning luthier) for their own benefit.

    You basically just found a rusted out, completely derelict old VW bus and that glimmer in your eye wants to bring it back to the summer of love...Do your homework, ask a lot of questions, get yourself a copy of Chuck Traeger's bass repair book, and find a good mentor to help you through the long, long, long project or put it on ebay as a parts rig...

  4. George700DL


    Jan 9, 2009
    Looks like the usual wear and tear, not too bad :)

    The first thing that caught my eye was the tuners - they seem to be in a good shape. Whatever you do, save those, at the minimum.

    It would be really cool to restore it (more like build a new bass), but the person would really have to be into basses.

    What's up with the top braces, perpendicular to the bass bar?

  5. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    I think it will burn really well. :meh:
  6. You may be entering a world of pocket/purse pain. .... Just for curiosity sake I'd start light sanding the top to see what's solid and what comes thru. If that's OK I'd continue sanding then fitting to see what can be salvaged. While inquiring locally for a good repair guy. Might have to truck it to Saskatoon..... The worst would be to spend sanding time and learn something along the way.
  7. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    It will make a nice decoration to a well-protected wall or doorway to your back patio. It will never be a bass again.
  8. My first impulse as well- a nice wall hanging/conversation piece. A coupla those shots would make a lovely avatar.
  9. Cody Sisk

    Cody Sisk

    Jan 26, 2009
    Lilburn, GA
    Ronald Sachs Violins
  10. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    Whew, those prairie winters are hard on instruments!
  11. 360guy

    360guy Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    Lansing, MI USA
    I would give it a try ( restoring it). There is something about a dog that's rescued from the animal shelter... always seems to be so grateful.
    I do a lot of this kind of work because it's a great learning experience for myself. You won't make any money but if you approach it like a hobby ( just for the love of the challenge) it could be fun.

    I'm not sure I have the quote accurate but " make no small plans they don't have the stuff to stir men's souls" Well I think this bass qualifies as a big plan.
  12. blockinlay


    Feb 21, 2009
    Phila Pa
    If you don't want it, put it on Ebay. Someone will want to breath life into it, or use it for a prop. My old neighbor would put wrecked, worn, and weathered items like that on display in his flower shop. Then he'd hang stuff for sale on it. Made for a cool display.
  13. Bass


    Nov 10, 2003
    Steve McLellan is the local repair guy. In addition to repairing stringed instruments, he plays bass in the local symphony. My wild guess is that he doesn't have time to waste on this.

    Prairie winters are not only hard on instruments, they're also hard on vehicles (and me too).
  14. swingingoodtime

    swingingoodtime Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    "It's just a flesh wound...!" ;)
  15. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Hang onto it for the next time someone from the EBG side posts, "does any have an old bass that I could get started on for under $600? I'm pretty good with legos and things, so it doesn't have to be in good shape, I could fix it up and adjust the truss rod and stuff..."
  16. bigolbassguy


    Feb 13, 2010
    Billings, MT
    I've got everything I need. Epoxy, super glue, a disc sander an old dresser, wipe-on polyurethane - and a backsaw. Furthermore, I made a cutting board in wood shop once that held together for almost two years. How hard can it be?
  17. Some of the parts might be useful. Tuners, tailpiece, etc. I would strip it down before discarding it.

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