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New bass bar

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by superman, Apr 23, 2009.


  1. superman

    superman

    Mar 5, 2007
    Nashville Tenn
    I have a old Kay that the bass bar was cracked and loose,I removed the back which was already about to fall off. and have the old bar out,, I have a new bass bar from Englehart on the way. does the new bass bar need to fit the top?? or does it need some gap to put tenison on the top?? how much gap?? thanks,,Kent
     
  2. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    It needs to fit the top perfectly from end to end.

    Use chalk to show where the high points are and have patience. When you think its good, leave it for a day, then come back and re-evaluate the fit.

    Hide glue, obviously. :)
     
  3. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    Might want to check the top isn't sunken, you might need to stabilise that before you fit ze bar.
     
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Don't even try to glue a bass bar in from the back...
     
  5. vejesse

    vejesse

    Apr 8, 2006
    Madison, Wi
    Double Bass Workshop
    If you're not going to take the top off you're probably better off using the old bass bar. Clean it up and see how it fits.
     
  6. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I was curious about the OP's question regarding fit and tension. My question to the luthiers: On a Kay, is the bar supposed to fit the top with no gaps before tension is applied? Thanks.
     
  7. HogieWan

    HogieWan

    Feb 4, 2008
    Lafayette, LA
    he mentioned that it is cracked
     
  8. zeytoun

    zeytoun

    Dec 19, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    What would be different about a Kay that would require the bass bar to be fit with tension? (not challenging, asking)
     
  9. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    I don't know-- that's why I was asking. I seem to recall luthiers discussing different philosophies/methodologies regarding sprung or un-sprung bass bars. I was asking what would be appropriate for the Kay specifically as it seems the appropriate method could very well vary with the design of the bass. I was just asking-- not assuming anything.
     
  10. zeytoun

    zeytoun

    Dec 19, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    hehe, then it's two of us wondering. I just fitted one to my ply top (homebrew bass, not a Kay) last week, so I did my reading, and ended up fitting with no tension, so it's been on my mind :)
     
  11. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    i do no tension, and i clamp the top to something flat (think big donut, or if a fresh build, I like to clamp the top to the ribs and fit the bar that way) so that the top is how it would be on the ribs. you may think your fitting in no tension, but if the top is warped and you fit the bar to a distorted top, then you really have put tension into it without intending to.
     
  12. vejesse

    vejesse

    Apr 8, 2006
    Madison, Wi
    Double Bass Workshop
    Well, this is a common thing on a plywood bass. The bass bar will start coming off, maybe CRACK for short length, maybe take some of the plywood with it. If the guy has time and he's going to take the top off of his plywood bass, go for it. Fit a new bass bar. May be even experiment with adding some spruce to the center of the top, a la Chuck Traeger.

    That's a worthwhile project. For schools and people of modest means( i.e me :) )I bet the old bass bar could be used, especially if a lot of it is still glued on. Consider this order of operations: Open the top to the upper corners; glue the crack; clean up the area; check the fit; make adjustments; glue the bar.
     
  13. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    In my experience, bass bars on Kays crack from runout.
    If you glue the crack its likely to crack again, probably right next to the solid glue joint.
    If you replace the bar with a well-quartered piece of spruce with no runout it won't crack again - at least not in my lifetime! :D
     
  14. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Being a self-described "wood idiot," I wondered what "runout" is. I found this that seems to explain it quite well. I figured I'd post it here for other non-experts. I hope Jake approves. ;)
     
  15. Pentabass

    Pentabass

    Dec 11, 2007
    Winnipeg
    It is said that the vikings used split wood planks (not cut with a saw along the grain) for their ships. The fibers are not transected, except at the very end, of course. This way you get thinner planks, yet less likely to break.

    Now I wonder: is this maybe a better way to make your bassbar -- split a bunch of spruce, and grab one from the bundle where the fibers sort of follow the inside of the top naturally?

    (The rest of the splits become soundposts, naturally...)
     
  16. vejesse

    vejesse

    Apr 8, 2006
    Madison, Wi
    Double Bass Workshop
    Here in the midwest these Kays are everywhere. Every school has racks of them and there's one on every block. It's hard to tell these folks with a P.O.S garage sale Kay it's going to be $1000, $1200 or more for a new bass bar. What's the solution?
     
  17. Gearhead43

    Gearhead43

    Nov 25, 2007
    NorCal
    Remind me not to take my POS Kay to your shop.
     
  18. solution...move the decimal one click to the left ;)
     
  19. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    A lot of tonewood IS initially split to divide it. Then it gets sawn along a grain line (or as close as possible) to create a piece of the right dimensions without runout. As far as finding a piece where the fibers naturally follow the curve of the top--that is a one-in-a-million chance, I think. What would one do with the rest of the wood? Also, if you use a piece with a lot of curvature, it will likely bend even more later.
     
  20. wouldn't this apply to necks(hardwood) as well, but on a larger scale?
    Like proper handlewood, vertical grain..shock and stress resistant, balanced stiffness.
    admittedly it is rare to find logs that yield sizeable vert.grain, but they are out there. i am not meaning to de-rail the OP but drurbs' timely link is a great illustration.
     

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