This is sickening

Discussion in 'Off Topic [DB]' started by Don Higdon, Jun 23, 2001.

  1. One of the bassists with the Metropolitan Opera has a bass made by Maggini c. 1650. I watched it being restored. It's a treasure to see and to hear. The Met went to Japan on tour. In Tokyo, the stagehands dropped the bass on its bridge. The bridge exploded, but not before splitting the top. 8,000 miles from home, that has to be one terrible feeling.
    Arnold Schnitzer will fix it. You can bet on it.
  2. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    oh man. i can't imagine what that would be like. i hope those roadies got canned. :mad:
  3. rablack


    Mar 9, 2000
    Houston, Texas
    Here's another sickening anecdote. The principal bassist for the Houston Symphony has/had a ~1692 Testore. You might have seen the news about the flooding down here in Houston two weeks ago. The orchestra's practice rooms, instrument lockers, and all the archives and music were submerged for a couple of days. The Testore was underwater for two days - the horror.

    Question - although it obviously will never be the same, is there any chance that an instrument which has been submerged can be put back in playing order? Or is the bass now just $100,000 worth of damp kindling? Just curious.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Last time I was up in Cincy getting my bass worked on, a very unhappy looking gentleman walked in with a bass bag, which he proceeded to open up. When he unzipped the bottom, several pieces of very thin wood fell out onto the floor. Turns out he was an orchestra player who had borrowed a $40,000 bass from a friend while his own was in the shop. He'd had it for about a week when he was rear ended on the way to a rehearsal. The bass had two giant holes in the bouts: one in the left lower, and one in the right upper. In addition, the top was cracked all to hell.

    Man, talk about that "sinking feeling"....

    rablack - I saw an issue of Double Bassist not too long ago that showed basses that had been put back together after disasters. I bet they can do something to the one you mention. Still,...I bet that guy will be in mourning for a long, long time...
  5. I believe there's a strong possibility that instrument will survive relatively unscathed. The critical key is slow drying.

    I had a roundback Juzek that got water logged, then the back warped, pulling the ribs out from under the lower bout. First reaction was to graft onto the top to make it wide enough to reach the ribs. Then my man Arnold Schnitzer got an idea. He put the bass on its back and totally saturated the back with water. The back was pliable again. He wrapped a cloth band around the sides and drew up on it until the back and ribs were in their original shape. It was then slow dried, and the top reglued. Absolutely NO change in sound.
  6. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Regarding the guy with the Met... I find it hard to believe that anyone owning an instrument that nice would let a stage hand touch it...."don't even point at it!!". I believe I'd take a bass like that to bed with me.
  7. Believe it; it's common practice. The Met has stagehands who store the instruments in lockers. They dropped my teacher's bass and broke the neck out of the body one week before she was to go on tour. And that bass was inside the hard case used for airline travel.
    By the way, "the guy with the Met" is a woman.
  8. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    AL/GA apologies to the Met Bass Person!

    I guess I should know about "common practice"...I remember vividly backing up to unload for many gigs and being told that the venue was "Union" and that the only way gear would be loaded into that stage would be if done by the Union crew. Most of the time, a bunch of apes. We'd pay them and allow them to sit aside and pick their noses while our crew safely got our gear inside.

    The the "union local rep" showed up for his palm-greasing. Those were the days...
  9. I can only assume these folks have their instruments insured against these disasters. Insured or not, I'd probably find myself locked up for, at the very least, assault, if that were my instrument the stage hand dropped. Of course, the situation lends itself to an insanity plea.
  10. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Yeah, one time I dropped my Squier while playing Nirvana, and the whole headstock just....

    wait...i've made a terrible mistake....i'm in the wrong place.....

    (jazzbo quietly backing out of the room as obsenities are thrown at him)

    But really, is the Met insured to cover that sort of thing? And in DURRL's post, is the motorist who hit that guy responsible for damage beyond the property of the vehicle, and the driver's medical?
  11. Hey Jazzbo - sounds you just yelled YEEEEEHAAAAAH at the Opera! :) Oh well, what's a little EB-DB among friends? :-0 On a lower note, isn't there an electric bass company that makes basses from wood submerged in Lake Michigan or something wierd like that? I know I know, its a heathen slab for heathen cable-pluckers. Like a 16 ounce steak to a yoga master. I'm not a scientist on this but is it not the water but the cracking that wrecks the wood for instruments? The slow drying is facinating. When bassists die can we be slow dried and fully restored, too? Sorry, I've a long day at work and this is entertainment. I'll back out quietly now.
  12. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    I don't know how it is with different insurance companies, Jazz, but my Englehardt suffered a cracked lower bout in a 2 car wreck in which the other driver was charged. His insurance company paid me for the damage to my bass.

    His insurance company asked me what it would cost to repair the bass. I told them about what I thought the repair would cost but that the bass lost a lot of its value because of the repair. They paid me $1200.00 to settle the claim and then sold me the bass back for $300.00.

    I live in N.C. and it could be different in other states.

  13. Nah! I'm sure insurance scams are the same everywhere. :eek:

    (j/k Pkr)
  14. rablack


    Mar 9, 2000
    Houston, Texas
    Just an update - It wasn't just rainwater, the Testore was submerged in sewage for two days. I'm thinking that probably spelled the end of the instrument. They put the owner on medication for a few days afterwards. (I'd still be medicated) Last bit of gossip. It was only insured for 40,000.