New Fingerboard

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by pdbass, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. pdbass

    pdbass Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    I recently had some major work done on my bass: new fingerboard, shortened the length (from 44"+ to 42"3/4) with a new nut, new bridge. The work was exceptionally done by a luthier named Mike Magee in Slippery Rock, Pa ([email protected]). Mike studied bass at Eastman and came to PA from Michigan. He was highly recommended to me by Jeff Turner (principal, PSO), and I would highly recommend him myself!

    Anyway, I love the bass. I love it! The board is perfect. I play a mix of styles, but mostly jazz. It's LOUDER now (even w/ a shorter scale length), MUCH more focused while seemingly being a little more resonant on the 'A' and 'D'. What I don't like are my STRINGS. I had discovered D'Addario Helicore Hybrid Heavy gauge strings about 4 months prior, and loved them. They sound like crap now! Scratchy, hard to start, overtones galore, much less 'mellow' than when I had the old board/bridge on the bass. I can live with the pizz, but the arco leaves much to be desired!

    So my question is this: does adding a new board, perhaps, add a bit of brightness to the instrument? More focus? It's becoming way apparent that while my old setup dug Helicores, the new setup doesn't really care much for them, particularly arco. They seem much brighter now, a little less quick to start, and even a bit tighter(?). Has this ever happened to anyone?

    I guess this is my excuse to buy another set of Evahs to try on "this" bass!
  2. Ask your luthier if he adjusted the soundpost while he was working on your bass. My guess would be that the soundpost may have dropped while the fingerboard and nut were being replaced.
  3. MingusAmongUs


    Nov 11, 2006
    Newtown, CT
    Maybe I am just dumb, but I don't get how you can make all those conclusions. You love how the bass has improved, but you now blame the problems on your strings, which are the only thing that *didn't* change?

    Pretzel logic.

    But yeah, take it back to the luthier. It's possible that the new setup doesn't like those strings, but that seems unlikely to me.
  4. Paul:

    You had hybrid strings on a 44 inch scale bass for a couple of months, took them off and then put them on a 42 inch scale bass. Ok, it's the same bass but to the strings, it is effectively a different bass. I'm pretty sure hybrids don't like being taken off and put back on the same bass much less a different one. This is just a guess but maybe the strings are slightly damaged.

  5. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    Like Bob said, I think this has more to do with set up issues.
  6. pdbass

    pdbass Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    It looks like it was, ultimately, set-up. Believe it or not, there was a 1mm bump in the bridge curvature around the A-string, as well as a bump somewhere near "C" on the A-string. Mike compared it to me not being able to sleep on a pea. . . LOL. It also helped to go back to Spiro Weichs (again). This new board/bridge just doesn't like a high tension string, especially for arco.

    Again, I need to say that Mike Magee is unbelievable. He is not as visible as the David Gages or Mike Shanks of the world, but his work is exceptional. I spent over 4 hours in his shop yesterday playing the bass and then getting the fingerboard planed to a place to where my setup would be comfortable, and I was treated like Jeff Turner (whose bass he's working on right now). He's a class act and his fingerboard work is exceptional, if not downright artistic. Highly recommended!
  7. I'm rather surprised that you can keep calling your luthier's work "exceptional" with the problems that needed to be corrected after the fact. I would think that someone doing "exceptional" work would have done it right the first time around.
  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    LOL! :D
  9. pdbass

    pdbass Supporting Member

    Jan 2, 2007
    Well, not having the time to go to Kansas City (or Vancouver) really hampered me.

    The guy deserves kudos for taking a day to get my setup right. . . for free. Of course, you're totally welcome to come to Pittsburgh to install my next fingerboard!
  10. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    You're right Paul, the guy deserves your gratitude for spending the time to make it right and I'm glad your bass is speaking to you - that's the important thing.

    We're just thinking that if he were exceptional, you would have got the bass back properly set up in the first place. :)
  11. Any competent luthier should do fixes for free when he doesn't get it right the first time. You don't stay in business very long if you don't. I just have trouble with using the word exceptional to describe a luthier who has performed non-exceptional work. Exceptional is a word that should be reserved for very best of the best in my book.
  12. nsams73

    nsams73 Guest

    Nov 12, 2012
    How about super-friendly, knowledgeable, and trusted with Ken Smith's DBs? Those adjectives/attributes also describe Mike...