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Quoting a Repair

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Ryker_M, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Ryker_M


    May 10, 2012
    London, Ontario
    Hi everyone!

    Recently in my travels, I have came across a rather nice fully carved bass. Perhaps not the best of the best; but being used makes it a temptation.

    On top of that, because it has been "well loved" shall we say, the price is ridiculously low. But, with a low price comes an interesting dilemma. I have to pay to get it fixed, set up, and the strings probably need to be replaced.

    Reason why I'm here; how much should I expect to pay to get the damage fixed in the below pictures?

    The picture of the back is just for looking.

    Edit: I can buy the bass for $850.00

    Attached Files:

  2. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    The top has to come off to properly fix it. If you're up for that, go for it.
  3. What is it?
  4. Ryker_M


    May 10, 2012
    London, Ontario
    Well, the person who I'd be getting to fix it has repaired more than a few stringed instruments in his 40 year career as a musician and educator. If my school trusts him to fix all of their instruments, I trust him to fix this one.


    It's a Bellafina Prima I believe. Edit: It is indeed, a used Bellafina Prima fully carved bass.

    Not the best of the best, but for $850 plus the cost of repair and setup; I'm not complaining.
  5. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I'm not a luthier, but the pic seems to show two cracks, one along the bass bar and the other heading towards the sound post. From what I've read, those are two locations where cracks can be particularly difficult to repair. This is probably a situation where you should have a luthier evaluate it directly to make sure that it is even repairable. There may be a reason why the seller is selling it as-is.

    A few hundred for the repair, a couple hundred for strings, and the likely need to adjust the bridge height when all is said and done gets this into the ballpark for a new Shen ply that might be a better bass.

    Definitely read the stickies -- lots of good advice. Also there's a thread on this model of bass:

  6. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    OK. The crack on the left seems to be well outside of the bass bar. The other one may get into the soundpost area but I wouldn't call it a soundpost crack because it didn't start there. Semantics. My guess is the wood wasn't properly seasoned (wet) and you're looking at drying cracks. The top has to come off to relieve the stress and to do the repair.

    OP, if you trust the guy to fix it, go for it but it looks like a gamble to me. It probably needs a total setup.
  7. It's a piece of $h!t. You will be complaining if you buy it. Run away now.

    I have less money in two of the three fully carved, circa 1900 Germans in my basement. Keep looking. Better deals are out there.
  8. Ryker_M


    May 10, 2012
    London, Ontario
    While I respect your opinion, (as you're probably several times more experienced than myself) but I don't have the means or resources as a seventeen year old to drive to the ends of the Earth in the pursuit of a similarly priced German bass.

    And because I'm curious, what is your experience with Bellafina basses? I'm not disagreeing that it's probably a horrible instrument, I'm just interested.
  9. That was very harsh. I apologize. I was dead tired and in a rotten mood when I wrote my post, not that that's any excuse.

    But as a matter of simple economics, that bass is a dog. I checked Woodwind and Brasswind's site, and that bass sells new for $1900 (and SHIPS FREE! That's gotta take a $300 bite out of their profit, but that's another discussion.) My experience with Bellafina basses is nonexistent, as I heeded the warnings of people who DO have direct experience with them, and gave them a wide berth.

    Say you drop $850 on that bass. I don't see any competent bass luthier charging you less than $1000 just to pop the top and see what's going on. Who knows what they'll find, and what it'll cost to repair. Now you're $1900 into it, at a minimum. You still have no idea what it sounds like or how it plays. And what happens the next time the weather shifts and the cheesy wood cracks again?

    I have no idea what the doublebass scene is like in London, but I know you're not far from Toronto and Detroit, and there are decent basses available there. There's a very nice looking Shen 150 listed right now on Rochester Craigslist for $1500 or best offer with all the accessories you may need. I exchanged text messages with the owner last night, and it looks ready to go. In my experience, that is a very nice bass for the money, and it's only three hours away.
  10. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    If it is a Prima model as it seems, they go for $1900 at big box stores. $850 is not a good deal considering it needs top off work that will cost more than the bass is worth if done right. Is that bass constructed with white glue? If so, there will be a real problem getting the top off and also may lead to more problems ahead. Pass on it, IMO. If you have a limited budget, order a Shen SB80 and call it a day.
  11. 1st Bass

    1st Bass

    May 26, 2005
    Forest Grove, OR
  12. It would be best to have the luthier use a mirror to look at the inside before taking the top off. My bass has a couple of cracks that look bad form the outside, but don't go all the way through.
  13. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    Add a few hundred for a fingerboard dressing, nut adjustment, etc to really get it setup properly. I'm not making any recommendation regarding the purchase of this instrument. I have no experience with this brand but have seen bargain Chinese basses with poorly fitted blocks and linings which can cause problems down the road. I'd be skeptical of a fully carved bass at the <$2k pricepoint. Do your homework and make the decision based on good information.
  14. Ryker_M


    May 10, 2012
    London, Ontario
    Thanks for the responses guys. I'll probably take a look at some of the stores around here. But the biggest problem with me is the huge price margin I'm dealing with. I have to buy it myself with my money. Trying to get something that'll last but won't require a bank loan.
  15. Hi.

    First of all, I love CCB's.

    Very good bargains for the money, especially if damaged/broken like that one in Your pics.
    Great way to get into DB repairs and setups as well as playing them.

    BUT, the price of "Yours" is nowhere near the prices I've paid, or what others have paid, something costing that much I wouldn't even consider.
    Or recommend.

    Good chances are that it's indeed put together with PVA glue, and that's a major, MAJOR PITA to repair. Can be done, but requires drastic measures.

    How about the already suggested ply basses?

    BTW, just out of curiosity, if You're in the process of building a DB, why drop a load of money into one just this moment?

  16. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Pass on this one.....

    Finding a broken up import bass like this is like trying to find a broken old volkswagon that does not run. They are everywhere, the owners all think they are made of gold, and they will usually cost you three times your worst estimate to get in running condition, only to wind up with something that needs additional regular maintenance and $ all of the time.

    Be patient and you'll find a beautiful old bass for a fair price that will leave you with years of happiness.:)

  17. Have you considered renting?
  18. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    Well you could try a cheap glue / clamp repair and see if it holds... But cracks in those two locations are quite common. Usually occur there because of the square block of wood inside where the endpin is. So with that stressor there, it's tough to gauge how long that repair would last... Even if they open the bass and use cleats on the crack the stressor is still there... Many modern makers will carve a taper into that block to distribute some of the pressure.... But as most people have said, this isn't cheap and after all is said and done a new Shen would probably be the way to go.
  19. Ryker_M


    May 10, 2012
    London, Ontario
    I have, but most rentals around here are very cheap ply student basses. Strunal usually.
  20. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    The Strunals we have at L&M - plywood, hybrid and carved - are very decent sounding instruments. The setup is very important on them but Ryan at L&M in Windsor is a DB player and might be able to help you out with a good rental.

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