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Stupid Accident

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by bassist1962, May 8, 2010.

  1. I was walking through my bedroom talking to someone. A little to close to the wall, and trying to emphasize a point, I raised my hands, caught the head of the bass and pulled it down. Upon checking it out, I found the top had cracked. What am I looking at in repair costs?
  2. I had a top pulled, cleated and resprung for around $500-800 if memory serves me. No crack was involved with that, but a new bass bar was being installed, and there were a lot of cleats for support of a very thin top. This was around '04 or '05.

    I would consider a repair cost in that ballpark very, very, very reasonable.
  3. Thanks Nick.
  4. Karl Beck

    Karl Beck

    May 2, 2010
    That sounds about the right price range, depending on inspection of the inside. Maybe you will get lucky and the top won't have to come off. Quick question....Is you bass in a moisture environment of at least 50%?
    If not the bass will have to sit in the repair shop at 50% for at least a month or 2.
  5. Karl, I don't know the moisture level of my basement, but I would say that it is pretty close. It is not as climate controlled as the rest of the house, and it has been raining a lot lately.
  6. Karl Beck

    Karl Beck

    May 2, 2010
    You might want to get a hygrometer for your instrument so you can keep an eye on it. A carved instrument ( when its newly carved ) will dry out in about 2-3 years, then the opportunity for cracks will start
  7. Karl, that's overdoing it. A moisture level that never gets too low is more important than 50%, which is too humid for most domestic stuff. Less than 35% is risky, otherwise don't worry too much. (Although, I will admit, it's 65% in here right now)
  8. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Karl, you keep pushing the 50% moisture thing. You getting a rebate on water? :D In this thread, Arnold responded to your advice by pointing out what I always considered to be the case-- that 50% is too high to recommend across the board. The conventional wisdom is that too low a level of humidity (e.g., 35%) is dangerous all by itself. A high level (e.g., 50%+) is not dangerous so long as its maintained without rapid and large swings. A safe overall level is in the 40s because its a good absolute level and is where most environments sit. Thus, as you take the bass from one place to another, you're not likely to expose it to large changes.
  9. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Oh no, are we going through this again? ;) I've been advised by the top bass luthier in Chicago that 38% is optimum in winter. Would that make 35% dangerous? Arnold's advice seems right on, 35-45%. I have been ok with 35-40% at my house throughout the last 32 winters in Chicago, taking the bass in and out constantly into environments that I'm sure aren't all well humidified. I've only had two rib cracks in all that time, happening outside the home under very dry conditions. I'm sure it is also bass dependent. Maybe a newer Asian or European bass needs the higher humidity at first and can be weaned off it as it acclimates to a new climate.
  10. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    No disagreement, Eric. I wasn't suggesting that 38% is functionally different than the 42% I was advised to go with. I never had any problem with any of my basses re humidity and FWIW, I have neither a new Asian nor a new European bass. My bass was born only tens of miles from where it now lives. :)
  11. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    When they're building them, do you know where they keep the humidity? Same all year round?
  12. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Sorry, don't know.
  13. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    40% to 45% year round...
  14. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I keep a hygrometer in the room. I never go below 40% in the winter, more like 42-43. Summer, 50-53. I don't have problems. One carved New Standard, one Jacquet, and one Schnitzer.
  15. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Pretty much dead-on where I keep mine. Never had a problem.
  16. Karl Beck

    Karl Beck

    May 2, 2010
    Oh boy here we go....Bro I am not pushing anything, but funny that I would be getting kick backs from the water company. Very nice. I will explain AGAIN my statement.
    I am simply saying that between 40 and 50% is fine unless you live in the desert or dry areas of the world, but this is a personal preference. Now If you do that and keep your bass at a friends house for a month at 10%, then yes Drurb, that can be a problem. I think we are all pretty versed in the ability to read and learn from blogs and books about moisture and the effect on wood.
    ( If you buy an acoustic guitar and don't give it the proper moisture, in 3 months she will probably dry out, imagine what happens to your bass)
    Now if you have a carved instrument that has cracked and needs repair, I am just saying that the instrument needs to sit in a shop with "correct moisture" for at least 2 months before she is worked on or taken apart.
    if you do not allow the wood to expand and find its equal area.....it will indeed crack again and/or the repair will fail.
    I have giged with my carved 1920-30 Juzek, my carved German 1940s, and my Karl Beck 1940s, with no problems. So i am not sure what all the fuss is about.....do onto your bass, what you would do to yourself.
  17. vejesse


    Apr 8, 2006
    Madison, Wi
    Double Bass Workshop
    In the winter months in Wisconsin it's pretty hard to get a room heated by forced air above 40% humidity. Maybe with steam heat but then it's like a jungle in there. I run the humidifier in the shop all night and it makes it up to 40% by morning. Then at the end of the day the shop is at 30%. Never had one crack.

    Treating an instrument like you treat yourself is good advice though. You can tell when the humidity is in the twenties or lower because the skin on your hands starts cracking.

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