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this is probably a dumb question

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by narcopolo, Feb 19, 2008.


  1. narcopolo

    narcopolo

    Sep 12, 2005
    richmond, va
    but i'll ask anyway. i've found a used 1980's swingmaster. the dealer is asking $850, but based on previous experience, i believe i can negotiate down to between 550 and 700 for it. so far so good, right? here's the rub: there's a hole in it (on the side, kinda near the shoulder). not gigantic, but certainly a hole that i can fit my hand into (i would guess it fell on the corner of a table or stair). i'm not trying to buy something that's not going to work or sound good (advising someone who can't play well to judge an acoustic instrument's sound is kind of like asking an ape to evaluate an engine block) or fall apart, etc, but i also don't want to pass on a good deal for something that is purely cosmetic. being a subnovice, i figured i'd ask around. does this sound like enough of a problem that i should steer clear?

    thanks for reading through that tirade!
     
  2. jimmyduded

    jimmyduded

    Jun 12, 2007
    cherry hill nj
    i know it requires alot of labor to put a new piece on(ive done it), im not sure what my boss charged but it was probably well over 1200 after taking the top off(which you have to), id steer clear of it man, even if you know a luthier who will do it for a discount, you have to take the top off which is a pretty penny, and then replace your rib, if you still want it send me a pm with pictures and ill forward it to my boss who will give you an estimate-jim
     
  3. ergo3_holes.

    Hey, some people put holes in their ribs on purpose!
     
  4. jimmyduded

    jimmyduded

    Jun 12, 2007
    cherry hill nj
    or to hide candy in, haha im sure its a tone robber though
     
  5. Gufenov

    Gufenov

    Jun 8, 2003
    George Cordwell of the King's Countrymen repaired a small hole in the ribs by outlining it with a doll-house window frame and putting a small mouse inside - it's the "mouse house bass." Sure doesn't hurt his sound any!
     
  6. scotty77

    scotty77

    Jan 31, 2008
    Victoria, B.C.
    If it were me, I'd go for it if you can get the bass for a great price. But, I've got a complete wood working shop so the challenge would be fun.
    And, as has been pointed out, I know some makers are adding soundports. I know that is also a big thing right now in some pretty high end acoustic guitars. (Ooops, did I just say a no-no.)
     
  7. jimmyduded

    jimmyduded

    Jun 12, 2007
    cherry hill nj
    yes they are adding soundpots but i believe those guitars have no soundholes, a bass has its f holes
     
  8. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Hey polo, if you're just looking for a bass to learn on, and if the bass is tight and decently set up, get the price down and buy it. Don't let the bass snobs hold you back! :)

    You can play it with the hole in it. The bass is plywood, it won't fall apart, and you can patch that hole down the road when you decide you love the bass and want to do it a favour. There's no need to do a top-off rib replacement on a bass like that - I mean it would be nice, but a well-executed patch would be okay too.

    The extra sound port will probably diminish the bass and add some upper mids but so what?
     
  9. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Which side? If the hole is on the right, it could actually be helpful. I bet the sound that leaks out of those holes in the above pictured bass actually make it easier to play in tune in loud environments. A built in monitor! I've seen an American bass which had diamond shaped holes built into the C-bouts. Anyone know these instruments?
    Robobass
     
  10. M Ramsey

    M Ramsey

    Mar 12, 2005
    North Carolina
    I'd like to try a bass with a hole in the shoulder area. Here's a link to McKnight Guitars (no endorsement, I saw them in Nashville last fall) and the difference in volume and tone were incredible.

    We took turns listening to a good player on one of these guitars and then placing our hand over the soundport and hearing the difference.

    Not that I'm going to cut holes into my basses, but I would try this bass mentioned with the hole (if it's in this same area) and play the bass as the hole was opened and covered.

    It may be pretty amazing, like your own personal monitor, right there in your face.
     
  11. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    Those were made by Paul Toenniges in Los Angeles around the WWII era. Robo, I agree with what you said about the monitor. That's why I built the bass that way! Jimmy, you need to hear it for yourself. It's in NJ...
     
  12. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Great idea! But I doubt I could talk my orchestra into cutting holes in our Poellmanns!
    Robobass
     
  13. jakusx

    jakusx

    Nov 11, 2007
    Fort Lauderdale
    Put some duct tape over it and rock out.
     
  14. Narco,

    You can probablly do better. In the DC area, used E's -- without extra holes -- can be found for about the same money this dealer is looking for. Check other shops, craigslist, etc. for leads. Good luck -- and let us know what you decide.
     
  15. jimmyduded

    jimmyduded

    Jun 12, 2007
    cherry hill nj
    first of all, im not a bass snob, im trying to help this guy out for if he decides to get the rib replaced in the future

    second of all i see how it could act as a monitor, but i think it would be on the left side(if it fell into stairs and the person was carrying it corectly, then it should have it on the left side)

    i assume a patch could be made to fit however the way he described it, its a rather large hole

    if you can get it for a little less than 500 then you might as well buy it, then lather get the rib replaced, im out of this conversation because it seems like im stepping on everyones toes, but ill still check in to see how it progresses and what the ultimate decision is
     
  16. Arandaz

    Arandaz

    Jan 16, 2008
    how could you predict what side the hole was on? couldn't he have been carrying it with either the right or left hand?
     
  17. jimmyduded

    jimmyduded

    Jun 12, 2007
    cherry hill nj
    well its a right handed bass(i assuming), that means usually(the most common way to carry) is to put your right hand under the right c bout and put your left hand on the other bout, the neck or the handle on the case
     
  18. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    I dunno. Can't assume anything really.

    The owner might have sneezed and shot his false teeth through the player-side ribs. Check inside, see if there are any false teeth!

    If the hole is on the far side, you could fit an aftermarket scoop to redirect the sound back to the player :)

    [​IMG]

    might look a bit funny though.

    Also ... guitars with sound ports usually DO have conventional sound holes as well.

    I'm sorely tempted to try a sound port in a bass soon. I find that when playing with a few others acoustically i have to play louder so I can hear myself, but it often ends up that I'm playing too loud for the others, I can hear myself but not them so well. So I hold back a bit, and find I have trouble hearing myself. I think a sound port would solve this.

    (looks from bass ... to tool shelf ... back to bass ...)

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Maybe you could mount a stethoscope on the driver's side rib! :)
     
  20. scotty77

    scotty77

    Jan 31, 2008
    Victoria, B.C.
    Hey, that's a good idea. But then you'd have to change your name to Dr. Bass. :)
     

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