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neck repair

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by slapfish, Feb 8, 2002.


  1. slapfish

    slapfish

    Jul 16, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    Ok, I need a little advice. I recently had a mishap with my bass, where while setting it down during a break during a pit rehearsal (where, of course, I had no space to work with), the bass crashed down, and the neck popped out. Being that it looks rather ugly, I normally would have flipped out. However, I've been through this before, and was able to get the neck reset with minimal expense. However, my problem now is that I am far away from home (at college), and I am unfamiliar with most of the repair shops in the area (South Bend, Indiana). After consulting with my jazz band director (who couldn't offer me any advice), I decided to take it to the largest store in town that deals with orchestral instruments. Of course, biggest is not necessarily the best...the place back home in New Jersey that repaired my bass the first time was a small mom-and-pop violin shop, and they did a superb job with it. So my question, essentially, is this: what is an acceptable method of reparing this kind of damage? I'm not sure how many of you have had to deal with this, but since it's happened to me twice in the space of 4 years, I figure there's some sort of precedent for repairs of this type. I think the first repair was done by simply gluing the neck back into place, or something along those lines. My reason for asking is that the repair guy isn't supposed to be back in till Monday, and I want to be able to talk to him before my bass goes "under the knife," so to speak, to get an estimate of exactly what he plans to do and how much it is supposed to cost (as compared to the $70 price tag the first time around). If he proposes some absurd solution, I would prefer to know just how absurd it is without blindly accepting it. I would like to trust them to do a professional job, and I suppose I should, but I've heard some ghastly repair horror stories (bolts being driven down into the bass' body, etc.) that make me cringe at the thought of anyone hurting "my baby" like that. So, if you are still reading this, I commend you for being able to tolerate my long-winded rambling, and hope that you can lend me your advice. Thanks for any help you guys might be able to give me.
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Aren't there any classical string folks at your university? I would get a hold of the bass intructor and see what he would recommend as far as luthiers go.
     
  3. slapfish

    slapfish

    Jul 16, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    tried that already...unfortunately, I haven't been able to get in touch with anyone on the classical side...I don't know most of the string teachers, and haven't been able to get in touch with the orchestra director or the bass teacher (he's an adjunct, as most are, and thus aren't on campus too much; ND is not a "music school" by any stretch of the imagination). I'd wait around, but I'm under a serious time crunch; I've got two gigs next weekend, and I'd really like to have my own bass to play (since I'm absolutely horrible with any bass other than my own). So, I had to make a commitment, but by the time I got there, I found out he wasn't going to get to it until Monday...but going back and getting it, and taking it somewhere else (that probably won't be open on the weekend anyway) is just too much of a hassle. [sigh...]
     
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Hyde-glue is the prefered method, as it can be easily un-glued when need-be. I would be miltantly sceptical if he is planning on carpenter's glue, epoxy, nuts, bolts, etc. See if you can get TB member Jeff Bollbach's attention. He's a maker/luthier that hangs out here.
     
  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    sorry to hear about your accident!
    I am new to this board, but experienced with neck repairs. (I setup, repair, and make new basses). Since your bass isn't in front of me, I can't speak of it with confidence. However, there are some questions you can ask yourself, and your luthier...

    1)was this a clean "break"? is the button intact?

    2)was the neckfoot (tenon) glued flush into the body (mortise) originally? regluing a bad joint won't do you any good. you may have to add more spruce to the mortise, then refit the neck. more work, more time, and more money. and worth it!

    3)does your luthier have any pictures or examples of their work? if you are new to him/her, simply ask.

    4)and of course, INSIST on hide glue.
     
  6. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    There goes the neighborhood! Just kidding NL, welcome. I'm the old man luthier here [been here about 3-4 months- not sure how long that is in e-years-prolly decades] Your advice to Mr. Fish is sage given the lack of info.
    You say you make basses-let's talk! Love to talk to bass makers.
     
  7. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Those of you that know me probably think I've got a little shrine to hide glue in my house. Well, yes that is true, but it's also true that I keep "alternative" glues in my shop. In a perfect world no luthier would ever glue any perfect joint with anything other than hide glue. Let's say though that a player with a $1000 bass drops it and it breaks at the heel of the neck. The break is nasty and frayed. Proper repair is a neck graft-cost $3000. No can do. Just glue it with clean fresh hide glue? Hide glue is the worst glue when it comes to filling gaps.[those who read my glue rant-I am repeating myself here]. Hide glue works on a molecular level. Specific adhesion- an electro-chemical attraction. This type of repair will need a glue that fills gaps. ie. carpenters glue, poly-glue, epoxy. But that alone won't be enough-this break is at an extremely weak point and no glue alone will reliably hold it. More extreme action may be required in this situation [bolts, Ray] There, I said it. Sometimes it's just the way you have to go