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New Fingerboard

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Monte, Sep 25, 2002.


  1. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Well, after 5 years of wanting to do it, I finally replaced the too thin fingerboard on my '30's Juzek and got it back last night. Props to luthier extrodinare Jeff Bollach on steering me toward a great source of fingerboards for my luthier. He was so impressed by the quality for the price that he will be calling him in the future.

    Anyway, its a big ol' hunk of ebony with great straight grain, and I think the old boomer may even be louder now. I know it sounds better. The gut strings I use have more clarity, and thumb position is much improved. Because the old fingerboard was so thin, Rocky cut another nut and added some wood below the bridge adjusters (nice joint by the way, you can hardly see it) to add to the height, and then improved the curve of the bridge because the new fingerboard is not as flat as the old one. String crossings are infinitely easier. A player was in the shop from Pittsburgh and was dying to buy my bass, but Rocky told her (rightly so) that I wouldn't take 2x its appraised value for it. This fingerboard was the best money I could possibly spend on that bass, and I only regret waiting so long to do it.

    Monte
     
  2. kuku

    kuku

    Sep 18, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    I know this is kind of a personal question but I am thinking about doing the same. Can you or anyone else for that matter give me a ball park price?

    I know it really depends on the bass and on all the other work that might need to be done. I am just looking for a range.

    Thanks

    Tj
     
  3. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    I don't know if I'm the right person to ask, because Rocky WAY undercharges for the work he does. Luthiers in Dallas are 2-3x what he charges me. I got the fingerboard itself for $175 (+shipping); your luthier may mark it up.

    Then my luthier charged me $240 for building the "franken-bridge" to be tall enough for the much thicker fingerboard. He cut a new nut rather than shim the old one. He rounded off the edges and dressed the fingerboard for the right amount of scoop, and that is an awful lot of work. In the process of putting back on my strings, the winding on the Eudoxa gut A broke, leaving a very rough spot that would eventually replace, so he took it off and put on an old Flexocor A to get me through. Total cost was about $420. I remember that when my college restored an old fine bass they had at Robertson's in Albuquerque, the total for new fingerboard, nut, bridge, and fixed a few cracks was $1200. While this was more work than my bass needed, I remember an awful lot of the cost was the fingerboard, nut, and fitting the bridge.

    Rocky is a treasure we are lucky to have in Oklahoma. He is slow as Christmas, but his repairs are about as good as it gets in my biased opinion and the opinion of judges that gave him his trophies for being a master luthier.

    Monte
     
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Does Rocky want a job in NY?
     
  5. kuku

    kuku

    Sep 18, 2002
    Oakland, CA
    Hey Monte

    Thanks for the great info. It gives me some idea of what to talk to my luthier about.

    Thanks

    Tj
     
  6. Great to hear Jeff hooked you up with a nice board.
    Nicer to hear his search for "ebony" finally got him the results he was looking for.
     
  7. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Yo GP! I see you remember the ol' days with Ebony and her sister Rosey Wood.
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY

    How were they set up?



    * cricket *





    * chirp *






    * coyotes *
     
  9. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Local musicians wouldn't allow it. I suspect he gives "discounts" to those of us who are working musicians. The only drawback to his prices is his workload, which requires a wait to get your instrument worked on.

    Actually, Rocky (or Roland Werning) is from the East Coast somewhere; but he moved out here years ago and loves the pace and cost of living in Norman, OK. He has more work than he can do and has started limiting what he does with schools (especially those that are slow to pay).

    The other funny / great thing about Rocky is his hours. He sleeps in and works from about 5-6pm until early into the a.m. hours, so if you have a problem on a gig you can stop by his shop (connected to his house) at 2 am!! He says he gets disturbed and interrupted less that way.

    Monte
     
  10. I have a 30+ yr old cheapo school bass gathering dust in a corner somewhere. Wife has been after me to sell it for several years. But I have bought a nice ebony board to replace the black-stained cheapo board on now, plus new, decent machines, new, good tailpiece, new, good endpin and of course a good soundpost. I suspect that if I ever get around to doing this (I should say, having this done), I'll end up with quite a nice instrument.

    In fact, aside from crap fittings throughout, its a fully carved bass, with nicely grained wood in the plates (though really coarse graduations, it weighs a tonne) and 30 yrs of settling in. I just believe there's a pretty good sound in there waiting to be drawn out.

    As part of this envisioned makeover, I am convinced a good fingerboard will improve the sound, not to mention of course, the playability. Thus your experience is encouraging, Monte.

    Of course, problem is, if my hunch is right, then I'll end up with another bass that I can't bear to part with. I've always found something endearing about a bass of low pedigree, but which tries really hard, and does its job quite well anyway.

    Anyway, Monte, glad things went well for you.