New Restoration Project

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by B. Graham, Sep 20, 2004.

  1. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Inspired by the American Standard restoration chronicled here and online, I'm starting to restore an old Czech bass I've had in the basement. My web skills have gotten very rusty, but if anyone wants to see where I'm starting from:

    The images themselves are here:

    There are also before and after shots of my '39 Kay at this location (I didn't do the work on this one though):

    Right now I am taking the bass apart. It basically was already apart anyway. The question for today pertains to old cracks.

    Should I work out the glue in the old cranks and re-do those repairs? Most of the cleats for these cracks have fallen off entirely or are nearly unattached anyway.

    Thanks for your comments.

  2. Hi Bill,

    Congrats on starting work on your bass - Bob Beerman would be proud! The last time I was in his shop (couple weeks ago) I mentioned that we had met.

    I'm looking forward to seeing pics of your progress...

    Good luck with the work!
  3. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    Whew! I'm buying stock in hide glue!

    I've been putting off my Engelhardt restoration -- maybe this will give me some incentive. Good luck!
  4. Holy #### that thing is in bad shape. You'r going to need to build a mold and reassemble piece by piece.
  5. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Bob's a great guy. Had the last couple of years been better, I might have been able to afford his services. Did you see the 100 Czech bass that he and Gael restored that was in there? Sweet bass.
  6. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Yeah, it's hurtin', but I think it can come back together. I've seen worse. The neck and scroll are really solid (the board is maple and warped but it will go away). Most of parts where is't separated are glue joints, not cracks, and the separations are pretty clean. It's on "missing" one 2" square piece of wood at the edge of a rib.

    Anyway, it's worth my time and good for some conitnued Ed.
  7. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    You and me both. Thanks for encouragement.
  8. I did - I think that's what experienced bassists call a cannon. I actually saw it in pieces a few months ago. It had an integrated bass bar (ie carved in with the top). Bob said it was one of the worst sounding basses he'd ever played. It's definitely not that way now. Interesting how new spirocores sound so warm on that bass. I just need another $8000 and I can buy it - only 80 gigs away. ;)
  9. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Hard to tell from the pictures, but the bass I'm starting on is fairly similar to that one at Bob's place (in appearance anyway). It won't be as nice when I'm done, but it should be a nice step up from the Kay.
  10. bassbaterie


    Dec 14, 2003
    Houston Texas
    Director, Quantum Bass Center
    How did it get so beat up? It has a nice shape and ought to be fine lookin' when you're done with it. Good luck! Hope it sounds great too!
  11. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Not sure. It was part of auction lot that was place in a shop for repair and abandoned I think. So, I bought it with a 5 year restoration project plan. Might was well get started. I like flatbacks, and the ribs are pretty deep. It might be terrible, might be great, but either it's mostly sweat equity and learning.
  12. If it turns out anything like the one in Bob's shop, you'll have a GREAT bass. If not, the ribs on yours should look really nice which may be worth something when you wanna sell it...

    He did mention something about him selling it to you on the condition that he wouldn't have to see it again. ;) Whatever the deal, I'd go for it. Sounds like a fun project. Even if the outcome isn't worth the sweat, it should be a meaningful experience. If it turns out well, even better...
  13. I find this bass somewhat interesting because of the lack of outside liners. Most Czech and German basses of this ilk do.
    Also Bill, judging from the screw holes in the scroll cheeks, the bass probably had/has the old wooden hat peg style machines on it? If not, would you tell us what they look like?

    Ken Smith....Whadya think? :help:

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I was actually just given an old Czech bass in pieces. The bass is painted black, and the neck has been completely broken off. I am using a cabinet scraper to remove the finish. I am pretty sure it is a plywood....After that, I am having my luthier do the rest of the work.
  15. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Yep, no outside liners. I'm not very educated on traits of basses from different locations, eras. No telling what it REALLY is, but Czech was what I was told by a trusted luthier.

    The bass did have the hat peg style machines. Those are my personal favorites. I had to rob a few off of it to put on the Kay. If the bass comes together well enough, then I'll pick up a new set from International Violin ($180.00 for the set).
  16. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I've taken a few more pictures as the bass comes apart. They have not be resized to be smaller in file size, but if you're broadband equiped, they are all here:

  17. The "bass bar all" picture posted Sept. 28 clearly shows a crack that runs from the top eye of the G side f hole all the way to the bottom of the plate. While this crack is not directly over the sound post, it's probably not more than 3/4" away.
    Does this bass need a post patch? How far away from the post must a crack be before a post patch isn't needed? I ask because my bass has an old, repaired crack in pretty much the same spot, and no post patch.
  18. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I'm sure if it needs a patch or not. It didn't have one before. I think it was just cleated. Either way, I'm going to clean out the old glue in the top and back cracks and redo them. I don't know if it will hold. I hope so.

  19. From my experience with hide glue it's pretty strong stuff when used properly. Get your luthier friend to show you how to mix it and heat it, and in what proportions. And spend some time making clamps or devising some means of applying pressure across the top so you can clamp it securely.
    I'll be interested to watch your progress too. Keep us posted, please.
  20. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    Here's a status message. I should have some new pictures soon.

    Top and back are off. Trying to decide what to do about the broken button.

    Upper and lower ribs now have a layer of natural untreated linen applied to them. Where needed, a couple of very small and thin cleats were applied to cracks, but under the linen. The top and back will get wooden cleats to their cracks.

    Next, the two piece flat back will be glued back up. Still not sure what to do about the button. Probably go with a false button under the back, and maybe a ornamental button graft in the back.

    Digging out old glue in the top cracks to prep for re-glue, clamp, and cleating.

    I stabbed myself pretty badly in the hand tonight. Thankfully, no nerves hit, and the cuts stopped bleeding. Nothing really stupid, but it got my attention.

    More pics soon. Thanks!