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Replacing fingerboard on Kay M1B

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Phil Smith, Sep 5, 2001.


  1. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    The rosewood fingerboard on the Kay that I have is pretty thin and I'm considering having the fingerboard replaced with an ebony one. Anyone have an idea i.e. range, that something like this would cost?

    If I had a fingerboard, would it be okay to take the board and the bass to a luthier and have them do the replacement or do I have to purchase the fingerboard from them for them to do the work?
     
  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Depending on the grade of ebony (price goes up based on apperance) and how much luthiers charge in your area, figure about $350-500 total.

    I'm sure most guys could care less if you supply the board, in fact it saves them the hassle of ordering one.

    Keep in mind that changing the board will make your bass sound and feel like a whole new instrument. If you don't have bridge adjusters, you may need a new bridge (or have adjusters installed) as the new board will be higher. The idea is to put a thick slab on so it can be planed down over the years as it wears. This also means that the neck will be thicker...it will be very noticeable at first.
     
  3. A top grade ebony fingerboard and nut, top grade luthier, $850. NYC area.
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The latest Lemur catalogue I have lists ebony fingerboards from $206 up to $286, depending on the quality of the ebony. Only your luthier can tell you what the charge to install it would be. Remember that in addition to removing the old fingerboard and nut and installing new ones, your luthier will have to do a complete setup, which will be the most extensive your new fingerboard will ever need.

    Brian was dead on when he said it will make your bass feel like a completely different instrument. Whenever I play my plywood these days, it freaks me out to play in the upper positions because the fingerboard is so thin compared to my carved bass. Once you make the adjustment, though, you'll be really glad you did.

    DURRL
     
  5. Hi Phil,

    Figure on somewhere between 850 to $1000 for the job. Since you're in Brooklyn, you should go see David Gage in Manhatttan. He'll walk you through an estimate and help you figure out waht to do and at what cost. He's a little pricey, but he's the best.

    :)
     
  6. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    Thanks for the replies. I've been to David Gage to have my bow rehaired and I've been to Kolsteins to have an endpin and tailpiece wire installed, the bass when I got it originally had the metal tailpiece do-hicky with the two screws. I'm partial to Kolsteins because I like the vibe I got from the place more so than the one that I got at David Gage. I do understand that the bass will feel totally different, but it's something that's got to be done especially for the upper register.

    I think I may need to replace my bridge as well. It is adjustable though currently to play with the action that I'm using, the adjusters might be up to the maximum. Is it possible to get new bass feet and keep the top part of the bridge if your bridge is adjustable?

    Is there any benefit to having a tailpiece that has tuners on it? If so, what is that benefit?

    Thanks guys.
     
  7.  
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    $850!!!

    Boy am I glad I'm not in NYC.

    I've had two fingerboards replaced up here in Boston, one was $400 some years ago (7?) the other was $500 two years ago. Both included other neck work (the $500 job included a reset, the bass had been in a car crash) as well.
     
  9. Gage, Kolstein, and Arnold Schnitzer are the same distance from my house, time-wise. I wouldn't even dream of not going to Arnold Schnitzer. Smaller operation, and many of the finest players in NYC or the country, for that matter, as clients. If you want names, I'll give them.
     
  10. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
    Dirty quick-fix suggestion coming up - sensitive souls stop reading! :D:

    I buildt the feet of my bridge higher by glueing on pieces of wood. Roughly cut squares of maple (whatever thickness required) with dowel-size hole in the middle, glued to bridge foot and clamped together with adjuster on for positioning. Filed even after glue had hardened.
     
  11. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
    Hey... 100! "New" gone... me member! :eek:
     
  12. erik
    Isn't it midnight where you are? When do you sleep?
    Incidentally, there's a large Norwegian population about 1 hour from my home at - where else ?- Lake Telemark. The do allow a few Finns and Swedes to live there, too.
     
  13. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I like fixing stuff and I'm good at it, but there's a limit to how far I'll go. :D
     
  14. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
    Well, they are probably not allowed indoors...:D just kidding of course.
    Guess you are referring to Lake Telemark in NJ (there is one in Kansas too). I'll have to go there some time - hang out in Lake Telemark Tavern. Maybe I'll bump into my mother's cousin Ella.
     
  15. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
    Hey, it doesn't look that bad really :). Just to clarify: The "shims" sit on the top of the bridge feet, under the adjuster wheel. Pretty discrete, and a passable temporary solution.

    I did this on the sad-excuse-for-a-bridge that was on my bass when I bought it. It was originally a training project for adjuster mounting - the bridge appeared to be beyond restoration. But lo and behold! - after some sawing, planing, filing and sanding, new adjusters - it didn't look bad at all. So the new raw bridge I bought still sits on the bookshelf.

    Maybe you could ask a luthier or a shop if they have any wrecked bridges with feet intact lying around? Only problem I can think of is getting the holes in bridge and feet properly aligned.
     
  16. Monte

    Monte

    Jan 9, 2001
    New Albany, MS
    Yeah, I'm with you. I had a fingerboard replaced with the top-grade ebony by Robertson's in Albuquerque and it was around $950 including fixing several cracks, new bridge, new strings, new soundpost, and new endpin.

    I'm very curious about the Moses Graphite fingerboards. They are supposed to sound every bit as good as ebony as well as being more durable and cheaper. I probably need to put a new fingerboard on my Juzek in the next few years; I think planing again might make it on the thin side.

    Monte
     
  17. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I am thinking about one for my Juzek as well; it has some craters. A fellow who is building an EUB had contacted me over the last few months and we chatted about a fingerboard the last few days. I inquired with Steve Mosher of Moses, and in response to some queries about the fingerboard, adhesive use, shaping, and the nut choice, replied:

    The boards are inexpensive in relation to most ebony boards. Contact me off list for a price if interested.

    I think I may succumb to ordering one of his EUBs. For demo use, of course (don't tell my wife).
     
  18. Bob,
    I don't like the part about using epoxy, which I don't think should be used anywhere on a bass. Anyone else?
     
  19. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I'd probably use TightBond.
     
  20. I agree. You should have seen my Luthier freak when I went to get my Ebony fingerboard relaced, and he found out the previous one had been attached with Epoxy! He charged me extra for the time it took him to scrape all that crap off. I would say use Epoxy only if you never intend to replace your fingerboard. I can't really say what would be better for a Carbon Graphite board, though.