Have you ever seen a neck/back break like this?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner [DB]' started by ironfist, Oct 19, 2021.


  1. ironfist

    ironfist

    Feb 5, 2000
    St. Paul, MN
    I'm talking to a local guy who is selling a Shen SB-88. He's selling it for well under a grand, so it would be a no-brainer if it was in great shape. However, he told me it has a few issues so I asked for pics and here's what I received. The seam separations don't bother me as much but I'm not sure about the crack across the back. I know that I'll have to put money into it to have it professionally repaired, but who knows how many issues the luthier would find. Do think it's worth the time to check out in person or is it a pass? shen2.jpg shen1.jpg shen3.jpg shen4.jpg
     
  2. That button crack could be a sign that the neck took a hard hit. If the neck is loose, it could be an expensive repair to do properly. You might want to have a DB luthier have a look to get a better idea...
     
    eh_train and stefaniw80401 like this.
  3. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I believe that both the neck and plates are glued not with hide glue but a synthetic. That means that removing the neck for a proper repair would be VERY expensive, and the seams could not be glued with HHG unless both plates were removed and cleaned. Still, if the neck seems solid in spite of the button crack, the thing might be workable. The seams could be glued with something synthetic. Many luthiers would not go anywhere near this, but there are some who have done this work and would share their methods. Maybe try the Double Bass Luthiers group on Facebook.
     
  4. Run away screaming.
     
    james condino and misterbadger like this.
  5. Levin S

    Levin S Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Charlotte N.C.
    I put about 150 gigs on an SB-80 a few years back so please know I'm not hating on the brand. That being said, button breaks are not easy fixes and I would wait for another bass to pop up.
     
  6. stefaniw80401

    stefaniw80401 Supporting Member

    May 18, 2004
    Evergreen, Colorado
    Where did you get that info that Shen doesn't use HHG on their bottom line basses? This is first I'm hearing this, and I figured I'd would hear this from the luthiers I hang out with.
     
  7. ironfist

    ironfist

    Feb 5, 2000
    St. Paul, MN
    Thanks for the replies everyone. The seller is at $600, which would be an incredible deal if the bass was undamaged. However, without knowing how much repairs would cost or even if it could be repaired up to a 'good as new' state I'll take the advice and pass. I'll be running away, but maybe not screaming yet. Even though we have good DB luthiers in my area, I don't have a relationship with any of them so I wouldn't even know if they'd be willing to take the job.

    I'll keep looking for an inexpensive ply (non BSO) so I can thump out vague root-five patterns in songs that consist of I-IV-V and sometimes (but not very often) II and VI minor.
     
  8. I know I read something somewhere that Arnold Schnitzer wrote about this. I think the long and short of it was that the lower models often had poorly executed neck joints and were glued with something other than hide glue...
     
  9. stefaniw80401

    stefaniw80401 Supporting Member

    May 18, 2004
    Evergreen, Colorado
    Not sure why shen would go through the trouble (and reputation) to use something other than hide glue, when the hide glue is right there in the shop and they know how to use it.

    It really makes no sense on multiple levels does it?
     
    bassmanbrent likes this.
  10. JeffKissell

    JeffKissell Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2004
    Soquel, CA
  11. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Hide glue is more time consuming to work with. To offer such a price, you need to be getting them out the door as fast as possible. That means cutting corners.
     
  12. stefaniw80401

    stefaniw80401 Supporting Member

    May 18, 2004
    Evergreen, Colorado
    Kay and Englehart I believe use HG, and their production numbers were way higher than SB-80/88 -- no?
     
  13. My understanding is that Shen uses flour glue.
     
    james condino likes this.
  14. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    Thank you, Jeff!

    No, the seams, bass bars, necks, etc etc are not some weird glue, they are hide glue.
    The glue between the plies is a proprietary formula that we don't share, as is our method of making plywood basses.

    Ironfist's prospective bass looks like it took a fall over backwards and will need a neck reset. The neck was set in hide glue at a medium strength, allowing the neck to bang loose without ripping the block apart. So you should be able to get it out of the shop without parting with your first communion money. $600 is a mad steel! Where are you located? I might know the "right shop" for what you want to accomplish.
     
    robobass likes this.
  15. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    John,
    I apologize for providing misinformation. I feel like I have read what I reported in several places. Was white glue used in the past?
     
  16. ironfist

    ironfist

    Feb 5, 2000
    St. Paul, MN
    Thank you for the information. I might see if the guy is still interested in selling. I'm in Minnesota, specifically the St Paul/Minneapolis metro area.
     
  17. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    There is a shop in Minneapolis that I would recommend, and I believe there are others there that I'm just not familiar with. In your shoes, I would call Leo at All Strings Attached and let him know what you're looking at. They're reasonable and their work is top shelf. 763-542-9542.
    Good luck! Your seller may be fine with meeting you at the shop for a quick evaluation.
     
  18. stefaniw80401

    stefaniw80401 Supporting Member

    May 18, 2004
    Evergreen, Colorado
    Three days ago I started a thread in the Double Bass Luthier's page on FB, asking this same question to the experts who are in the trenches and who see Shen bass regularly. They were unanimous in that Shen does not use any PVA's in their joinery, which is great. However, there was some discussion about luthier quality glues made from fish and rice. The latter being "vegan". I applaud Shen for exploring practical alternatives for hide glue in lutherie. In fact, they probably should elevate this to a higher level and use it as a "marketing advantage", if they think there might be one.

    A different conversation altogether is the glues used for the lamination process. Here, you'd probably want something other than hide. Lam master, James Condino, would be able to speak to this.
     
    marcox likes this.
  19. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Lam master sounds very close to lame ass; please pick another description.;)

    I know nothing about Shen or other Chinese bass manufacturing processes; I do not work on them.
     
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