Soundpost plywood flatback

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by jsf729, Jan 22, 2017.


  1. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    I picked up an older plywood flat back. It's borderline player/ project, but after spending a couple hours with it I think with relatively little work, it would be an OK player if called upon. Anyway, I've never owned a flat back before and when I looked at the soundpost, it is not sitting on the lower brace but rather a hole has been drilled through the brace for the soundpost to contact the back directly. I researched here and evidently it is supposed to be on the brace. There is no sign of any bulge on the back. At some point either the top or bottom has to come off due to some shoddy repairs (not sure which one is worse at this point). At that time the brace could be replaced if necessary (I assume that it is), but in the interim would it be wise to try and plug it with a piece of round spruce?
     
  2. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Is there a repair label inside from that nutty guy in Pittsburgh who would do all kinds of non traditional things to basses, including a love of adding a lot of internal cheap plywood and double soundposts "improvements" and also built about 15 basses from various parts and kits? They have a very distinct look; so do his "repairs".
     
    Jason Hollar and robobass like this.
  3. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I believe you mean Swanson. He was, well, unique. But some of those basses were used as back up basses by Pittsburgh symphony guys in the old days
     
  4. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    That's odd. Can't quite see why you would want your SP in a hole, rather than on the brace. Anyway,
    It seems a bit of a hassle, if the box is still closed, to get a good fit & install the plug properly, and why would you? There is no bulge.
    If you want to experiment how it sounds with the SP on the brace, you might as well make a new SP with a wider foot, just fitting through the lower eye (assuming the hole is just 18-20mm, the diameter of a conventional SP). Or cap the hole with a plate, that's easier.
     
  5. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    No photo?
     
  6. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I'm not aware of this guy, although I grew up not so far away. It would be fun for someone to post a site "MostBizarre BassRepairs.Com" or something.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  7. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    Ha! Of course, we already have Facebook groups for that sort of thing! "Instrument Carnage" comes to mind ... if you're on FB I'll add you ...
     
  8. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Well- no. And it is a Frankenbass of sorts. Seller claims that he took it to Mike Shank who said it is 1920s Plywood. He made the claim by the tuners on the neck- however it is not the original neck. No cheap internal plywood/ double soundposts. I don't have a lot invested fortunately
     
  9. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Yeah, I thought that was a little screwy. Didn't make sense to me either. I'll probably just leave it be for now, but I'd sure like to hear how it sounds sitting on a solid brace
     
  10. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    James C. would be a great moderator. He's posted some of the most bizarre pics I've ever seen of basses that have come through his shop. I remember one of them I wouldn't touch without going to the doctor for a shot first!
     
    robobass likes this.
  11. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    L ooks like the hole was actually bigger and someone (from Pittsburgh maybe?) slammed some wood filler in there. The post is poorly fitted and looks like it was a leftover broomstick. I'm putting spruce one in tonight and I'll be able to see how deep the hole is.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. That brace doesn't look 100 years old to me.

    Being that the back is ply you should probably be OK but if you start to see a bulge I'd replace the brace.
     
  13. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    Indeed, the brace does not appear 100yo. But does the ply? I don't know, I don't think I've ever seen 100 year old ply.

    What I wonder is how on earth the previous guy got the SP in. If that is a deep hole, all I can think is that he filled it after setting the post. But it might be quite a shallow hole (which would explain why you have no bulge). That filler does not look desirable.
     
  14. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Yes Louis, Swanson was who I was thinking about. They may have been played in some symphonies, but the ones I have seen were an absolute disaster- nothing I would ever want to own and never want in my shop!
     
  15. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    James, I think you are on this thread (below), but just for the others' information:

    Swanson Basses/ Wayne Holmes

    The only reason I gave up "The Gullwing" (and a Gagnon Maggini) was that I had to switch to smaller basses after my neck surgery if I wanted to keep playing.

    (Photo is attached.... and apologies for taking this off topic)

    Louis
     

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  16. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    Thanks Louis, I was indeed wondering and I looked them up. There's also a thread on them. Styling-wise probably an acquired taste. Very interesting, thanks.
     
  17. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    That isn't a brace. It's a railroad sleeper! It must be an inch and a half tall!! When you take the bass apart, if you want to "fix" it without replacing the whole thing, just cut out a slightly tapered square section, two saw cuts an inch or so either side of the hole, about half an inch deep, and chisel out the waste. Replace with new spruce. The slight wedged saw cuts will facilitate a tight fit.

    FYI a back brace is usually about 1/2"-3/4" thick and 3"-4" wide, runs ALMOST to the linings and is tapered at the ends.

    good luck fitting a new soundpost in that hole!
     
    jsf729 likes this.
  18. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    Yeah, I didn't think so either. The top and back have real purfling
     
  19. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    To finish my previous post- real purfling, don't know if that helps in dating it or give some other clue
     
  20. Not really.
     
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