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restoring 1950's db

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by storme37, Mar 9, 2008.


  1. storme37

    storme37

    Mar 9, 2008
    hi guys i am at present about to restore my 1950's bass is there any special varnish i should use? any other tips?

    im going to get the finger board stained by a pro but want to rub down the body and varnish it myself.

    thanks for your help.

    i played electric and acoustic bass for years but this is my first double bass.
     
  2. jimmyduded

    jimmyduded

    Jun 12, 2007
    cherry hill nj
    because this is your first double bass my advice is to test the color out on a picece of spruce for awhile before you actually stain the bass, you dont want to be stuck with a color you dont like. next id like to say its nice to see people taking pride in doing their own work, i think in the end youll be very very happy with the fact its your own work and will be very satisfied. im sure the experts will chime in on the proper way to do it but i want to congratulate you on taking initiative for your own work. good luck and if you run into any other problems this is a great resource for you to learn from, just remember to be courteous to everyone(especially people who have dedicated their lives to this work), im not saying you have been rude but i learned the hard way haha and thought id try to save you from any misunderstandings, good luck man and if you have any general questions or want to show me how its turning out drop me a pm anytime
     
  3. jonas

    jonas

    Dec 9, 2003
    Frankfurt am Main/Germany
    Kontrabass-Atelier, Lando Music (Germany)
    Basses usually don't get stained. It's the varnish that gives the colour.
    For carved instruments, spirit or oil varnish is the first choice. But especially spirit varnish isn't easy to use at all.
     
  4. storme37

    storme37

    Mar 9, 2008
    hi thanks for the advice and the kind words about my efforts to restore my bass.

    heres a pic of my baby :O) the before shot.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    KC Strings
    It's your bass, but I'd leave it the way it is. It shows experience.
     
  6. jonas

    jonas

    Dec 9, 2003
    Frankfurt am Main/Germany
    Kontrabass-Atelier, Lando Music (Germany)
    I agree. It looks totally Ok to me. Save the money and time, and get a first class setup and premium strings instead (if needed).
     
  7. Martin Sheridan

    Martin Sheridan

    Jan 4, 2001
    Fort Madison, Iowa
    Bass Maker
    You'll devalue this instrument by stripping and revarnishing.

    It can be touched up and French polished.
     
  8. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    stripping and refinishing is a horribly messy job. Yep I agree with the others too. looks like a good clean might be in order, but other than that, it looks just fine. I'd give it a gentle damp sponge with warm water and a little detergent to get rid of any grime, then wipe with clean water and dry with a soft cloth. See how you feel then.
     
  9. storme37

    storme37

    Mar 9, 2008
    hi guys i think it looks better in the pic than it is, it has a few scratches on the back but i can see where your coming from i may just touch up the parts that the varnish has gone completely.

    i will think about what u guys have said i can see it has character si i may just get the fingerboard redone.
     
  10. jimmyduded

    jimmyduded

    Jun 12, 2007
    cherry hill nj
    touching up is quite a difficult thing to do right, to match the color takes alot of skill. i didnt not mean stain by the way, the bass isnt a deck haha i meant to add any sort of varnish to it, i would leave it the way it is
     
  11. storme37

    storme37

    Mar 9, 2008
    i was just thinking clear varnish, just to get the bits that are scratched or chipped.

    your thoughts on that please guys
     
  12. jonas

    jonas

    Dec 9, 2003
    Frankfurt am Main/Germany
    Kontrabass-Atelier, Lando Music (Germany)
    A cheaply made plywood bass like this often looks much better if it is a little bit rotten (like yours), than brand new.
    Like mentioned before, I'd wash it with warm water, too, and then retouch some spots with a felt pen.
     
  13. jimmyduded

    jimmyduded

    Jun 12, 2007
    cherry hill nj
    cant water leave blush(or whatever the white streaks are called) marks if left too long? if so thats something you wanna steer clear of
     
  14. jonas

    jonas

    Dec 9, 2003
    Frankfurt am Main/Germany
    Kontrabass-Atelier, Lando Music (Germany)
    I haven't found the term "blush" in my dictionary (I'm German ...), but if you use a towel or sponge with just enough water to remove the dirt and dust and if you wipe off the water afterwards, you can't do anything wrong. Don't use your garden hosepipe or shower.:smug:
     

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