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Please Help: Possible Issues with my Bass

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by jmain, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes! Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    Can you guys help me out with some possible issues? I hope it’s just the nature of the beast, but I’m a little worried.

    I bought an Upton Hawkes laminated bass in 2005 and was fired up to learn. I took one lesson from a guy that graduated two weeks later and left town. I started grad school the next year and then got married; meanwhile I was playing 3-4x/wk on electric, so I didn't have much time to learn.

    She’s basically sat in an Ingles stand and then a really nice oak stand my father-in-law built. No playing outside the house (sounds so pathetic “never gigged, perfect condition”).

    Well, things are settling down and I want to get back on it. Need some new strings and setup, so been reading threads on this side again. But I just noticed a few things that are troubling. The bottom seam is raised (can feel it) and the finish is cracked right along the seam that runs through the endpin. Here is a few pics. What do you think is going on?




    Also, there is a bulge near the bottom of the lower bout on the player side. Hard to see in the pics, but it is about 1/8-1/4” raised for about 2-3”in length.



    I’ve been an electric player who has always longed to play the DB and had some unfortunate turns, so forgive my paranoia. My first DB was a ¼ size carved top I found in a music store and traded to who I thought was a well-respected guy, for a CCB in 1998. :rollno: That one has been unplayable since day one! I hope I’m not having a repeat or another near-death experience.

    Please help me out guys and gals. Preciate it!
  2. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    I think the missing varnish along the rib joint is filler from the factory being squished out with expansion/contraction over the seasons and the lacquer is not that flexible...so it shattered. Prob just cosmetic...just make sure the ribs are not coming off the block (highly unlikely, its such a large glue surface).

    The "bump" in the rib looks like an irregular figure in the maple (those are solid maple ribs). It might have been there all along and your just noticing it now that your in that neighborhood? If you can peek inside the ff hole (flashlight in the other ff hole) and make sure the bump is not a crack on the inside. Otherwise...just make a mental note of it's shape and watch it over time.

    Since you mentioned needing setup work (did your bridge warp from sitting un-played at tension and not pulling it back periodically?) have the whole thing checked out by a luthier...but my guess is everything is stable and should not cause you concern...just a few cosmetic things.
  3. uprightben


    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    Wow, I wish the vp of the company that make my bass replied to threads on tb. Eric, that is some good business you're practicing. The only thing I would add is to tap on and around the areas of concern. Any noise besides a clean tap could indicate a problem, but clean taps means you can just change the strings (one at a time!) and let 'er rip. Be aware that you fudgesicle coud become a drag....
  4. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes! Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    Really appreciate your input here on the forum. I would have emailed you directly, but figured this was more of a general question and not specifically related to the UB.

    I think your assessment of rib joint makes sense. I can feel the seam, but it doesn't feel or appear to be opening. I'll keep an eye on it.

    Makes sense on the "bump" too. I'll take a look in the opposite F hole to further ensure that's what it is. Probably right about the extra scrutiny in the area.

    I've been "playing" it off and on in the jam room - more like doinking on it for 10-15 minutes at a time the last couple years. I've tried to keep an eye on the bridge and have adjusted it a couple times as it pulls up from tuning and tension. By summer I should be done with school and will start taking lessons again.

    I will take your advice (and Bob's - thanks for the PM man) and bring it to a luthier. I haven't brought it in since I bought it, so it's past due for a checkup and could use a string change. (Reminds me, I need to call my doctor also. ;))

    Thanks for setting my mind at ease and please know I meant no disrespect. Just mentioned the make/model so folks would know what they were looking at.

    I'll follow up here after I get it in the shop. May be a couple weeks b/c my money is tied up in a custom porkchop that should be ready any day. I'll let you know.

  5. jmain

    jmain Oo, Uhn't uh, Yes! Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    Took a look inside last night with the flashlight. Nothing noticeable on the lower bout. I see what Eric was saying about the bottom being a big glue section with the block. Everything looks tight.

    Looking closely on the outside back of the bass with the flashlight, I notice a good smattering of birdseye in the maple. Pretty cool.

    I've got some good suggestions on luthier's in the area. I'm gonna bring it in when I have the cash to get some strings and the setup. My custom bass guitar is coming in anytime, so can't pull money from that right now.

    edit: Spirocore Mediums/Mittels en route.

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