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Thank You Luthiers -- A Sigh of Relief

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Sam Sherry, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    For the past six years or so my number one instrument has been a Czech bass that was obviously ridden hard and put away wet. I got it from a guy named Glenn in several large pieces and several more small ones. Right after I got it the bass had tremendous volume. A month later Mark Carlsen did a fingerboard planing that gave it such outrageous growl and sustain that I was spoiled for life.

    I had problems with the bass consistently. Mark had to do an emergency neck re-set and every winter I would have back-brace buzzes. I did not want to take the top off so I lived with it. Last September it was time. I brought it to my client, Upton Bass, for the overdue back brace work.

    Gary Upton opened up the bass and told me that Glenn had used epoxy adhesive on nearly every stick of wood. My bass was watertight but I had a panic. There was no doubt that the amount of work required to fix the bass was far in excess of what I had paid Glenn for it several years ago. I seriously considered simply junking the bass. I wrote to the luthiers – Mark Carlsen, Jeff Bollbach, Arnold Schnitzer, Nick Lloyd and Bob Branstetter – and to Chris. They all wrote back; Mark and Jeff were kind enough to call. THANK YOU EACH VERY MUCH. Your time was a tremendous help to me at a real bad moment. The advice generally was, “If you have a connection to this instrument put the work in. You could spend many thousands of dollars and still not obtain an instrument that you have a personal connection with.”

    At that point I gave Upton Bass the go-ahead. Dozens of epoxied-on cleats were removed and replaced. Epoxied-on back braces were removed and replaced. Epoxied-on edge doubling was removed and replaced. It was hard – epoxy dulls blades in no time. Gary, Eric and Jack did a sound-post patch, re-bushed the peg-box (which had several bush-league bush-jobs before I owned the bass), installed new machines (black lacquer plates with paisley highlights – ya gotta be there to appreciate them), made a new nut, touched-up the fingerboard, put in one of the new “never-crack” saddles, installed a new tailpiece cord, new foot (which I love), finish touch-up and more more more. There are a bunch of pics at www.StringRepair.com – check out Bass Project #2, Bass Relieve Saddle and Bass Work In Progress.

    My bass came back home this weekend. It sounds great – just like it used to, which was the assignment. I am very happy. Thank you Gary, Eric and Jack for all your patient work. For you it’s on to the next. For me, I’m set for what I hope will be a long time. It’s worth driving three-and-a-half hours if the right people are there for you at the end of the trip.
  2. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Sam, Glad you are happy and hats off to Upton for what looks like a great job.
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Congrats, Sam. It must have been like having a child in surgery. Glad everything worked out, and that you're back in the saddle again.
  4. Wow, Upton's repair shop was interesting to look at. That rebuild is an impressive accomplishment. I'm glad they were able to put it back together for you. :)
  5. Sam....what's a foot ? :confused:
  6. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    It's what ya stand on, o maestro. If I said the wrong thing, all due apology.
  7. You, yourself, got a new foot???
    What am I missing here?
  8. Sam,
    Glad to see the Bittner got the treatment it needed,and I must say a very nice treatment.That was a hell of a project to undertake.Kudo's to Upton Bass ....
    Does that bass still rattle the windows? I've worked on my fair share of early 20th century flatbacks,but this beast has always had that earth shaking low end and I can only imagine how it must sound and play now.
    I am real happy for you Sam,this is your main bass for life.I'm sure it will serve you well for years to come...
  9. Sam....why are you messin' with me?? You know i'm too old for this ****. You're talkin' about your end-pin!?
    The repairs look great!