My H.G. Thor epoxy job

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by jsp5107, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. jsp5107


    Mar 20, 2004
    A while ago, I decided to have the fingerboard of my Warmoth fretless bass epoxied. I originally wanted to go with H.G. Thor since he has quite a reputation for his epoxy jobs, but the quoted wait time of ~4 years scared me off. Luckily for H.G, just about nobody in NYC is willing to epoxy a fingerboard (I seriously contacted about 20 luthiers in the area. Only Mas Hino agreed to do it but he admitted he hated doing it). I bit the bullet and sent H.G. an email asking about his expedited service. Fortunately, he had a slot open for me so I was able to drive up to his shop in upstate New York and hand over the bass to him. I got a chance to talk to H.G. as well, which was a blast. He's a super fun guy to talk to and very knowledgable about lutherie. I even got a few compliments about the construction / setup of my Warmoth, which was nice.

    In any case, about a month later H.G. let me know the bass is ready, so I meet up with him at a guitar show outside of Philadelphia to pick it up. It was well worth the wait. I tried to get some good pictures but I only have my camera phone:


    I opted for the classic thick coat. You can see how thick the epoxy is at the nut in this picture:


    The action on this bass can get insanely low. When I got it back from H.G. the strings were almost touching the fingerboard. Regardless, there are absolutely no high spots on the finish so you can basically set the action as low as you want without choking out notes:


    I've had the bass for a few months now and I have to say this is probably the nicest fretless I've ever played. The neck feels incredible and the action is perfect. It's also very easy to set the neck dead straight and get a great singing tone out of it. The epoxy is extremely tough too as there is barely any scratching on the fingerboard from the roundwound strings.

    Anyone on the fence about having H.G. epoxy a fingerboard should absolutely go for it. I can't believe I even considered anyone else for the job.
  2. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Harris is a master craftsman of the highest order. His reputation is well known. I met him at NAMM years ago while working for Del Casher. Damn near everyone knew him. After an obligatory wait, I was able to get a slot for my baby, a 1961 Fender Jazz stackpot. The work was phenomenal.

    I will dig the pictures out in the morning and post them here. You need to see this.
    jsp5107 and Jim Carr like this.
  3. Basshappi


    Feb 12, 2007
    Looks fantastic, congrats!
    I've admired his work for years, I wish his lead time wasn't so long.
  4. jsp5107


    Mar 20, 2004
    Can't wait to see them.

    Thanks. To be honest, the expedited slot is worth the price for H.G.'s work.
  5. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    Would you mind taking a radius gauge to your neck? I have an H.G. Thor neck. I thought it was fine until I took it to a luthier to get a ramp made. After taking a look at the board to determine the radius I found the radius was all over the map. I think he was intending to go for a 9.5" but it is 10-12" in spots. I am just curious if others are as inconsistent. For what it's worth, the bass does play just fine with a nice low action.
  6. brutuscheezcake

    brutuscheezcake Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    The promised pics! Used with the permission of Harris Thor.

    61JjointA[9].jpeg 61JmidA[3].jpeg 61JboardA[3].jpeg 61JnutA[3].jpg body[3].jpeg
  7. MarkoYYZ

    MarkoYYZ Commercial User

    Jan 31, 2012
    Hammersmith Music
    In experimenting with this myself, it is a ridiculously tedious thing to do and so incredibly easy to do wrong. If he's good at it and willing to do it, then pay whatever he asks. I'm curious what the ballpark on that might be, actually... ?

    After 3 tries, I've found the right brand of CA and activator that we're going to use here, but won't do it often. The amount of work can probably never be charged for in the right way.
    eastcoasteddie likes this.
  8. jsp5107


    Mar 20, 2004
    Unfortunately I don't have a radius gauge. H.G. could probably answer this better than me, but I assume the compound radius is to allow for the ridiculously low action you can get with an H.G. Thor epoxied fingerboard. I think H.G. mentioned something like this to me when I talked to him months and months ago, but I can't remember.

    No kidding. I wasn't exaggerating when I said I contacted about 20 luthiers in NYC looking for this kind of work. My favorite one was a guy that insisted there's no type of work he wouldn't do until I told him I wanted my fingerboard epoxied. He changed his tune pretty quick :)

    As for pricing, what H.G. has on his site is accurate (HG Thor Epoxy Fretless). Mas Hino quoted me about 800 dollars to do the job, which is fair considering how big of a pain it is to do.
    MarkoYYZ likes this.
  9. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Cool stuff. Thanks for posting.
  10. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    I've been there with custom film processing at the old lab. There were a couple of special processes that no other black & white lab would tackle, but we were always up to a challenge but, yeah, pricing it for the client to try and keep it sort of reasonable pretty much meant we were doing for almost gratis.

    EDIT: missing word!
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
    MarkoYYZ likes this.
  11. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Agreed 100%. H.G. did an epoxy job on my fretless Carvin LB70, like about 12 years ago. As expected, he did a wonderful job, and I couldn't be more satisfied.

    Wait time 12-13 years ago was closer to two years than it was to four years, but absolutely worth the wait - if you're truly committed to having the job done, you have an alternate instrument to use during the interim, and you can appreciate the value of dealing with the best in the business. :cool:

  12. 2saddleslab

    2saddleslab Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    Those are gorgeous.
  13. jsp5107


    Mar 20, 2004
    Nice. I love the all black look. Almost like a polar opposite to my all white bass :).
    Lownote38 likes this.
  14. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I was under the impression that Thor didn't request your instrument (or neck) until your name came up in the queue, no? So it's not as if you're without your bass for 4 years, you just wait 4 years until you get the call, then you send it in and you're without it for several weeks.

    Or did I completely misunderstand what his website said? (Haven't looked in a while, maybe I should revisit before spouting rumors on teh internetz. Eh...)
    DiabolusInMusic likes this.
  15. OP - I'm not even a fretless guy, but that is one of the most beautiful necks I've ever seen. It's good to see that true craftsmen, like HG, are still out there doing exemplary work.
    jsp5107 likes this.
  16. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    You are correct, Bob. If I paused a bit longer before making that comment, I probably would not have made it...or at least would make clear that the job takes only a few weeks, so that once the job begins, wait time is minimal. Still, there are players who would regard even a few weeks of separation from their baby as a significant hardship.

  17. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    Yeah. I went with the all black as a tribute to 5 basses I had stolen (including a blue fretless Jazz). I named it "Black Widow".
  18. mysteryclock

    mysteryclock Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2010
    Franklin, TN
    Where did you have yours done around here?
  19. Lownote38


    Aug 8, 2013
    Nashville, TN
    I'm not allowed to say. The guy is from Miami and worked on a few of Jaco's basses. The epoxy job is so labor intensive that he doesn't do it for very many people. He does every other type of repair you can think of as well, and just doesn't have the time. If I didn't know the guy personally, he wouldn't have epoxied my bass. :cool: