is this worth it?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by hateater, Nov 4, 2004.

  1. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    4 string early 1900's double bass.. not sure of the size, but medium.

    nice string spacing, light and comfortable, low action.

    Spruce top, maple sides, maple neck, ebony fingerboard, possibly plywood back.

    only problem? tons of cracks (one in the back is about a foot long) and bad stain make the bass hard on the eyes.

    oh yeah, this baby SINGS arco, so that is another plus.

    guy wants a grand for it. should i do it?
  2. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    its gonna be a hard call for anyone here w/o some pics. could be a bargain if those cracks can be fixed. see if you can get a luthiers opinion. and . . . .post some pics. there are some great luthiers right here . . . inside your computer! and theyre watching! :ninja:
  3. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I am going to get an opinion from a teacher....
  4. Gee, it wasn't very nice of you to not thank Savino for his opinion. Welcome to TBDB anyway.
    Anyway, he's right on with what he says. If the back has cracks, it's not ply wood. Unless one of the laminations is starting to come undone. If you see another piece of wood under the crack, then it's laminated. Is it a flat back? It could be something good and worth putting money into...still can't say without some pictures.
    The ebony board, of course, is good news.
  5. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR

    I didn't mean to say it like a dick, it was a short post saying that I am taking it to my DB teacher to get a second opinion. I have had a few people that tell me that if there are cracks, just forget about it... how important is it to have no cracks if the tone is solid, and I am playing with a pup? This baby SINGS.
  6. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    There is no "forget about it", basses have been reconstructed from little smashed bits (Red Mitchell's bass comes to mind - the one that was in the car).

    The tone may be "solid" , my man, but the bass won't be if you don't repair it. Cracks only get bigger, then the bass breaks apart. And think of how good she will sing if she's repaired.
  7. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    OK, let's get a little more precise.

    a) "Crack" as in "seam separation" can probably* be repaired in a straightforward fashion by a competent luthier for not too much money.

    b) "Crack" as in "small crack in middle of instrument" might* be temporarily** fixed by a competent luthier with glue from the outside for not too much money.

    c) "Crack" as in "crack near the edge of instrument" might be fixed by "slipping" the top or back -- opening up only a modest section, instead of total removal. This usually requires more than a bit of money.

    d) "Crack" as in "crack in middle of instrument" usually requires removal of the top to repair properly. Plan on several hundred dollars just to remove the top. That's before any actual repair work is done, and before the top is reattached.

    e) "Crack" as in "center seam split" or "bass bar crack" means top removal is just about mandatory.

    Your mileage may vary. Not available in rural areas. Offer void where luthier lacks double-bass experience.

    And that is why nobody wants to give you a precise answer, hombre.


    *"Probably" and "might" mean that there may be problems which are not visible on our computer screens.

    **"Temporarily" means that the fix could fail at any time in the next fifty minutes to fifty years, based on factors which are not visible on our computer screens.


    Hey Hat -- FWIW, the guy who taught me what little I know about guitar-fixing had a dog named Gemma. Your sig brings them to mind.
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Are you maybe thinking about Scott LaFaro's bass?
  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    One of the best sounding, loudest basses I ever played looked like a box of kindling when I first met it (before luthier Steve Grimes pieced it back together). Lots of folks have tried to talk the current owner into selling that bass, to no avail.
  10. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    Hmmmm, I knew that using the word "crack" wasn't the right thing to do... but to be honest, I didn't analyze them much. HOWEVER, the two cracks that I remember the most were:

    A) Crack down the middle of the back starting from about half way up, and working it's way down... at the edge it stops.


    B) crack on upper right side. The crack is about 5 inches long and does not touch any sides.

    damn it all.
  11. azflyman


    Apr 24, 2004
    Astoria, OR
    Pics? Shoot some pics and post them or post a link. Is there a label in the bass? If so what does it say?

    What you are asking is like: "I have a car I want to buy, it has a squeek fom under the hood, it is $1,000.00, should I buy it and is the squeek worth fixing?

    No brand to the car, no age, the squeek could be a belt or a bad bering, no picture of the car (could have one side missing).

    A good student carved bass is about 3K. A old bass could cost 5K to repair. Ken Smith is putting somewhere near 10K into a bass for restoration. Is it worth it in your case? Depends what you have. You are asking alot with very little info.

  12. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    I seem to remember a thread posted here with pics of one of Red's basses, which had exploded because it was in a car and the airbag expanded - it was in bits....maybe it was someone else's bass???? I can't seem to find the thread either......
  13. I don't remember who that was, but not Red. I do remember the post though. I've posted several pictures of Red's basses though.
    What might have confused you is that I mentioned that Red ( one of Scotties mentors) was involved in finding that little Prescott for Scott. After the accident, Red took it to Sam Kolstien for total restoration. An old ISB (International Society of Bassists) did a story of that process with pictures.
  14. msw


    Aug 21, 2003
    I know that on Jay Leonharts website there was a picture of one of Red's basses after being in a car accident, and the caption said it was at Gage's shop.
  15. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    What an exploding air bag can do to a bass in the front seat...ouch!

    Red Mitchell's famous lion head bass was smashed into peices when an air bag exploded against it in a car. I bought the peices and David Gage hopes to rebuild Red's bass into a glorious instrument, even stronger and better than before. Profits from "The Bass Lesson" will pay for it.

    AHA! I was right! Paul, I get to borrow your bass now, right?? :bag:
  16. Way to go Mingus! I looked too, because I didn't know about this accident.
    However, I do know the bass! The Lion headed bass was a Lowendall!!
    If you get your ass outta that musical nightmare you're in over there, and find your way here, you can borrow the bass for one gig. I won't get the gig for you though.....
    Sorry about another off topic.
  17. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    We're bad........I wonder how many threads have been hijacked that include the phrase "Red Mitchell" LOL
  18. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Hey Paul.. Look at Jay's pic under 'bio'. He looks a little like you. Will I 'also' look like that when I reach your ages?? lol......
  19. Ben Joella

    Ben Joella

    May 31, 2004
    Boca Raton, FL

    Does "Location: LA" mean that you are in Los Angeles?

    If so, why not run it up to Lisa Gass from LA Bass Works and have her look at these "cracks". She is the best out there hands down.
  20. Andy Allen

    Andy Allen "Working Bassist"

    Aug 31, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'll second that - Lisa is extremely knowledgable and helpful - and something of a "secret". It took me a while to track her down from rumours of her reputaion - none of the main shops would refer me to her.

    As it turns out she is in Silverlake, a mile or so North of the 101. Ph: 323-953-5122