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Repairing a DB

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Keco, Nov 11, 2005.

  1. I've bought an '46 DB, thought that was laminated in a bad shape.
    It was covered with 1mm lack. I'm trying to clean it up and I've found a wood instrument underneath :) . Now I'm changing fingerboard, ...
    I can't find any ebony wood in Europe that is not already made as a fingerboard. Do you know any dealers or shops for ebony?
    I'll use vax as finnish, is that enough? What's the best neck angle?
    Thanks for informations!!!

    Attached Files:

  2. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    I'm going to ask you some questions because your english is not great (that's fine) and I'm trying to understand your post....

    1)The instrument is being stripped, and you are finishing it with vax. What is vax? Do you mean wax? Wax is not a desirable finish for an upright bass.

    2)You need ebony for the fingerboard, right? So, do you want to make your own fingerboard out of raw ebony lumber, or buy a fingerboard "blank" and do the final fitting?

    3)There is no "best neck angle". Can you post some pictures of the old bridge, as well as pictures of the neck block? The old bridge will give us an idea of how high your neck projection was/is, and the neck block pictures will tell us what kind of "overstand" you have on this bass. The "overstand" is the measurement of the neck foot-sticking-out-of-the-body.

    Can you also post more pics of the belly/top of the bass, and pics of the back?

  3. Uff!
    Sorry for my English. I'm studying in Austria and I mix-up both of languages.

    1. Yes. I'm thining about it. I haven't done it yet. I thought that wax is better than varnish (Lack-German) :) . If not, what should I use (which varnish).

    2. I want to make an ebony fingerboard out of ebony lumber.
    I've found a dealer on internet. DICK Gmbh - Germany. It costs around 80 Euros.

    3. I hope that this pictures will help.

    Thank you for your help!!!

    Attached Files:

  4. Another picture.

    Attached Files:

  5. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    DICK is a good source for instrument parts. Why do you want to cut a fingerboard out of raw lumber? It's a lot more work than using a fingerboard blank...

    Spirit varnish is easy to work with. Garnetlac (shellac) flakes and denatured alchohol will get you a nice medium brown color. There are also some commercial oil varnishes that are suitable for your project. I don't know the names of what is available to you locally... is there a woodworker's supply store in your city? DICK also sells varnishes.
  6. I thought that it would be cheaper but I was wrong. I've found a craftsman in Germany that can sell me ebony fingerboard for about 120 USD. Is that normal price or should I be aware?
    That's cheaper than I thought. I saw prices in Gewa catalog. There were all over 400 USD :meh:
    Thanks for the information about varnishes. I'm sure that I'll find something good. We have many woodworkers because we are a green country.
    Should I use brush or spray gun?

    On Monday I'll write down what's going on with my DB.
    I think that it was broken at the back, I'll attach pics.

    Thank you!!!
  7. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    120 USD is a very fair price for a fingerboard blank. Make sure that the blank is slightly wider than the neck you are gluing it too. You need the extra room for the final fitting and shaping of the fingerboard.

    Unless you have a lot of experience with spraying (and have a spray booth) I would use a brush. A good quality 2" or 3" synthetic painter's brush will give you good results. What finishes have you worked with before?

    good luck...
  8. I have a chance to spray it but I've spoken with one painter and he said that shellac is super when you dilute it with almost 100% alcohol. I'm going to use brush. I've worked with wax and also with varnishes (on a boat). It was not so precise work.

    I've found something weird on upper side (you can see it a bit on 1st right picture). It looks like that it was broken and than changed. When I want to change this part, should I change whole curve or can I replace just 'broken' piece? Is this hard to do?

    Thank you !!!!
    I'll post some better images as soon as I get my camera back.
  9. Measures for neck angle.
    I hope it will help.

    Attached Files:

  10. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    That bridge needs to be thrown out. Get a quartered maple blank through DICK Gmbh. They are measured by the width of the outside of the feet. You want the E foot of the bridge to sit centered over the bass bar. Measure how wide the bass bar is from the center seam, then double this number, then add 10mm. This will get you within the ballpark of a acceptable bridge width. Ask for a "low heart cut" when you order a bridge, as well.

    The overstand (the 3 cm measurement) is good. Unless the neck is loose, I wouldn't reset the angle. You have a big project already... new fingerboard, new finish, and setup.

    Garnetlac (dark shellac) is easy to use. Dilute the flakes 1:3. That is, 1 part flakes to 3 parts denatured alcohol. This will give you a user-friendly finish. It will take 10-15 coats to get a nice color. But, thinner (more dilute) varnish is easier to use for the beginner.

    I'm not sure what part you are talking about with the repair. Maybe some more pics will help.

    What woodworking experience do you have?
  11. I've found that the bass bar is under G ??? I've seen that at Rubner's DB by now. I think that bass bar should be moved a bit.
    I remember that A was very dark.

    I think I'll replace upper part of ribs (you can see that plywood and a lot of glue were added). I'm going to replace it with 3mm maple board (shingle?) after I'll soak it in water. That will make it flexible.

    That's, I think, all. If I'll find something weird I'll ask you for help.
    I really appreciate you effort!!!

    About my woodworking. I'm a quick learner and my family has that in blood and I have almost all tools that I'm going to need already at home.

    Attached Files:

  12. More pics.

    Attached Files:

  13. M_A_T_T


    Mar 4, 2004
    Hey Nick, does it have to be denatured alcohol? I've seen people recommend 'Everclear' grain alcohol because denatured is so toxic.
  14. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
  16. nicklloyd

    nicklloyd Supporting Member/Luthier

    Jan 27, 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Matt- I use the SLX Denatured Alcohol. It's not very toxic, and I'm very sensitive to fumes, as well.

    Keco- you want to get an idea of which bridge blank to use. Follow the directions in my previous post: measure from the center seam to the outside of the bass bar... the side of the bass bar that is close to the left ff-hole. Then double this number, then add 10mm.

    This repair/refinish project is very big... good luck. :eyebrow:
  17. I'll post images when I'll finish! I hope that will all go without major problems.

    Thank you!!!
  18. Bob Rogers

    Bob Rogers Left is Right

    Feb 26, 2005
    Blacksburg, Virginia
    Denatured alcohol is grain alcohol to which a toxin has been added so that people won't drink it. I don't believe the fumes are any worse for you than those of Everclear, though they are less pleasant. (People with bad memories of college frat parties with Everclear and Wyler's cherry drink mixed 1:12 may think otherwise.)
  19. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Is he talking about the soundpost? The bass bar is under the E string side, innit? Was this a left handed bass?
  20. jmain

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

    Apr 23, 2005
    Alexandria, VA
    ...or grape Fanta :(