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French Bass cut/restore finished

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Contrabates, Nov 27, 2005.


  1. A few months ago I started a thread about my 200 year old,cello shaped french bass w/ a "Gand Pere Mirecourt" stamp inside. I was planning to cut it down and well, a mere two months later, the work is done and as you can see, the difference is pretty amazing. The difference in playabilty is quite incredible with absolutely no loss of sound or character- in fact if anything, it has a bigger sound now. Mike from David Gage's shop did the work which entailed cutting both the top and back, building two new upper bout ribs, purlfing, building a new block, extending the string length from 39.75 to 41.5 and additionally, mounting a new set of Sloan tuners on the original brass plates. He did a beautiful and meticulous job. The new ribs are perfectly matched and varnished to the original ones and the new shape is exactly what I had hoped for. I'm very happy.

    Incidently, extending the string length was, in my opinion, very important because it made it possible to cut a very small amount off the shoulders but still make the bass easily playable. It also certainly helped with generating more sound.

    Looking forward to your comments...
     

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  2. more photos for you...
     

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  3. more...
     

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  4. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    Looks like your bravery really paid off. I'd be scared to death to have that done. What was the final bill?
     
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Well done and great looking Bass. I think I was one that was for the cut when you first came up here. On the Scroll, is that original? The Peg box has a slight Tyrolean flair to my eye. The French usually had straighter peg boxes from what I have seen and with a larger head. I have seen earlier French Basses with more curve in the peg box but not at all like yours. Do you know the year of the Bass?
     
  6. Thanks Ken,

    yes, you were an early supporter of getting the work done and it certainly helped a lot.

    The scroll has been grafted so who know if it's original but for what it's worth here are two more photos...

    Also on one of the ribs that was replaced I found a stamp that MIGHT say 1811 and also has some other writing that has almost worn away and is too faded to read at this point....I plan on getting a magifying glass to see if that helps.
     

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  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    On two Basses I own that were cut, the Original Ribs were re-bent. You can see the Varnish was affected as the 'ground' is still there but the touch-up Varnish has worn away. I would have had them keep the original Ribs and re-bend them. I like old things..

    The front of the Scroll looks anything but French. I would guess Tyrolean or Yankee (USA). The Slim long Peg Box looks Yankee or French to me but the head pulls me out of France. Go figure..
     
  8. I like old things too and keeping the original ribs was definetly discussed. Both were covered in old repairs and not in very good overall shape so while rebending would've been ideal, it was decided that they would probably not live through that kind of duress.

    Thanks for the thoughts about the scroll. I definetly own a "Frankenbass"
     
  9. but a rather scrumptious looking frankenbass, my good sir! job's a good 'un!