Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

New bridge, old fingerboard

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Michael Case, Oct 11, 2003.


  1. I'm thinking about getting a new bridge on my bass and keeping the old fingerboard. The old board is kind of thin, will this be a problem with the new bridge?
    My bass is a Strunal hybrid and cost $1500.00 I just don't know if a new fingerboard is a good investment. Has anybody changed the board in a Strunal and was it worthwhile?
    Plus how long does it take to change a board and do luthiers in the NYC area give out loaner basses while the bass is out of commision.
    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    First of all, "kind of thin" is not a bona fide measurement. Please measure the edge thicknesses on both sides at the nut and at the end of the neck. Then you'll be able to get some good advice. Also, does the board flex a lot when you play thumb position? In the NY area you can expect to drop about a grand for a top notch fingerboard and new nut, including proper graduation/dressing, etc. Most shops do not loan basses due to insurance/liability issues. Putting on a new bridge may be a waste of money if you plan to replace the fingerboard later--the contour will be wrong, and it will most likely be too low. Whether doing this work on your instrument makes sense or not is a question you can only answer from the standpoint of enjoyment and utility. Yes, it would improve your bass, but it will not add as much value as the cost of the work. You can't turn a Strunal into a Hachez.
     
  3. Sorry for the kind of thin measurment. My board is 1/2" ont the nut end. I had the board plained about 4 years ago when I bought it. There isn't a whole lot of flex when I play in TP, but there is some.
    I love the bass, it has sounded better and better since I got it. The thing is I did notice a change in the sound since having the board plained and can't stop thinking how it would sound with a new fat fingerboard. I am mostly thinking about doing it because I couldn't afford a new bass, but I could afford to replace the board now. I'm not looking to turn the bass into a jewel, just something I could get more from.
    How long does a good board replacement take? I really don't wish to go to long with out the bass.
    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  4. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I would quote 3-5 days, Mike.
     
  5. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    You can do a lot of things to change the sound short of new finger board and bridge.

    1. Get some one to adjust the sound post, they can move

    2. Put a flexable tail wire on, search talk bass for the thread on this issue. This made a huge change on my bass.

    3. Try diffrent strings

    4. Try diffrent bows

    5. Try diffrent rosin

    all much cheaper than major repairs. Execpt for the bow one as they, bows, can get expencive fast.

    Joe
     
  6. I have done all of those things, I had them done when I bought the bass. I was told that thicker fingerboards give a darker sound. I don't know how true that is, but when I had the board on my Strunal plained I noticed a difference in tone. Since then though the tone of the bass has gotten richer and I like it. I just thought it would be a good idea to have the upgrade done because I plan on using the bass for a while.
    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  7. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    I know how we have a relationship with our bass. You have to detach youself a little and realize that it is just a bass and not like family your talking about.

    I don't think that putting $1000 into a $1500 bass get's you to a $2500 bass. You will have a $1500 bass that cost $2500. Sell the $1500 bass add the $1000 and buy a carved bass form "All Hail" Bob. He in your neck of the woods as I recall. I have done business with him and got good value for my money, I purchased a really small bass (cello) from him about 2 years ago.

    I am not running down you bass at all, I play a China bass too. But I not going to be penny wise and pound foolish and have a lot of work done on it because it never going to turn into a master class bass no matter what I could have done to it. Even if it sounded as good as Edgar Meyers bass it is still just a $3000 china bass.
     
  8. I get the point, I just feel like getting a bass that's truly an upgrade from what I have requires more money than I have. My thinking is it's better to have the $1500.00 hybrid than buy a $3000.00 carved bass. It seems to me that more corners would have to be cut to make the $3000.00 carved than the $1500.00 hybrid bass. It seems I should save my money and start looking when I have at least $5000.00. But maybe a bridge upgrade might be useful.
    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  9. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    Go see All Hail Bob you might be in for a suprise and what you can afford and how it sounds.

    Remember first of all it is a sound contest not a beauty contest.

    Joe
     
  10. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I've installed perhaps a thousand bass fingerboards. I've never experienced a new fingerboard causing a bass' sound to become darker. If anything, the additional mass could make the bass a bit brighter, with an increase in pizz sustain. The tonal change you experienced after having your fingerboard dressed was probably due to a change in camber (scoop), and/or getting rid of high and low spots, which evens out the response. Plus, the bass was new, and it was going through the usual breaking-in period, which generally results in a warmer sound as the strings mellow, the wood acclimates, and the fingerboard hardens under the string paths. If your fingerboard is 1/2" at the top edge, and it does not thin out drastically as you go toward the bridge, a new fb would most likely be a waste of money, IMHO. Save up for that inevitable long-term upgrade instead.
     
  11. That's where I've been leaning, saving for a new bass. Thanks for your help.