Hi I just joined the forum and see some really exciting discussions here. I'd like to start by apologizing...I'm really a trumpet player, but have fallen in love with string bass, and am trying to get my fingers around it. Please forgive me for my tarnished past... Anyway, here's my 'help the newbie' request. I recently inherited my grandfather's bass, and I would like to learn a little more about it and about restoring it to playing condition. For the past forty years, I don't remember it doing anything other than standing beside the fireplace. I don't think it's laminate...the top looks bookmatched, and my father says it's a carved full back. By his estimate, it was bought new about 60 years ago near Toronto, Canada. The only interior clue as to its origins is a sticker that says "made in Germany". The part that holds the strings to the bottom (tailpiece?...pretty technical language, eh?) has come off, and I guess the original gut strings are older than I am. What are the chances that this thing will take flat wound strings? How do I start to restore this bass without affecting the neck, given that it hasn't seen any real tension in more than forty years? Any info or reference to sites that could identify its origins or that could assist with repair that are already on the net would be great. I have no idea where to start with this project. Thanks for any help you can provide.