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Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by jazzbo, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    As I type this little thread, behind me rests my new double bass.

    Let me say that again...

    My ... new ... double ... bass.

    Although, to be clear, it's not new, (although I suppose with these instruments, that's a good thing).

    Now, to make a long story short. The drummer in my band, www.westgrandblvd.com, Anna, has a friend whose father, let's call him Doug, was helping someone move. The man Doug was helping move had an old DB lying around, and chose to "unload" it on Doug. Doug's daughter, Anna's friend, mentioned it, and Anna knew that it would make the perfect birthday present to me. So here it lies.

    For some reason, the strings were removed, so the bridge is, of course, detached, along with the long black doo-dad, (someone give me the name for it), that is below the bridge, at the bottom of the bass. I have no idea what the make or model is of the bass, I have no idea whether it is carved or plywood or styrofoam. For some reason, someone, using black electrical tape, spelled the word/name, "Alma", (spanish for "soul" but also a popular name, of course), onto the front of it. Luckily, this is easily removed.

    She's beautiful. Beautiful. I love her and she's mine.

    Now, we need to get her playable. So, in my neck of the woods, (A.H.) Bob Gollihur mentions three accessible luthiers on his website; Ifshin Violins in Berkeley, Michael Olivola and Hannah Mayne of "The Bass House" in Oakland, and Allan Droyan of "String Bass Shop" in San Francisco. Just outside of my area is Bruce Sexauer in Petaluma and Alex Friedman of "Acoustic Bass Shop" in South San Francisco.

    Can anyone give me any feedback on these individuals/shops, some guidelines on what exactly needs to be done, (besides purchasing strings, of course), and a rough estimate of what I'm looking at? Thank you all.

    And, obviously, as soon as she's playable, well the toybass will no longer be accompanying me on my lessons.

    It feels good. It feels real good.
  2. Congratulations! Like I've always said, a house is not a home (unless there's a double bass in it).

    That would be the tailpiece. It's attached to the bass via a loop of wire that goes around the base of the endpin. When you get it your bass set up, make sure they use something flexible like aircraft cable and not the "coat hanger" wire. Your luthier will know.

    Have fun! I've been playing the thing for over 20 years, and I still have fun every time I pick it up.
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Woo ****in' HOO! About time, Adam. I wish I could help with the luthier info, but I'm sure someone will be along in a minute to give you some feedback. There's just too many folks out your way not to have a TBer or two around. Any chance of posting a pic or two? Our resident LEX LUTHIER types are pretty good about identifying basses on sight, or at least getting you in the ballpark.

    Congratulations, and feel free to join in all the DB silliness at any time. You're gonna love this....
  4. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I think you've really captured the excitement I feel. I mean, I know it's probably not the best quality, but she's mine.

    And as far as pics:

    I'm gonna take pics of her now, while she still needs the work done, then take some more pics of the little lady once she has some clothes on. It's not a digital camera though, so you'll have to wait a couple weeks to finish the role of film, and get the pics developed.

    Thanks for the kind words though!
  5. kip


    Sep 11, 2002
    Sausalito, Ca

    is there something rattlin around in the bass? That would probably be the soundpost, if it is indeed there. At any rate, luthier is a must, don't string her up without consultation.
  6. tsolo


    Aug 24, 2002
    Ft. Worth
    Somebody GAVE you this bass??!! Congratulations, you are a lucky man.
  7. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    As a gift ... from a drummer ...

    Can you FREAKIN' believe it!?

    Again, it could be a piece of ****, but it's MY piece of ****, and I'll make her SING!
  8. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Nothing rattling around. Can you describe what a soundpost looks like? It's not synonymous to the tailpiece, is it?

    Agreed on the luthier issue. I removed the black tape that said "Alma", but I won't even try and clean the remaining glue from the tape, which ... still ... spells "Alma." I don't trust what different soaps would do to the wood! :eek:

    So, for me, until a professional tells me what I can and cannot do, I ain't touchin' 'er!

    And thank you for the sentiments.

    Oh yeah, didn't I mention a bow was included!? :D
  9. erik II

    erik II

    Jul 11, 2000
    Oslo, Norway
    Look in through the f-hole on the G-string side, see if there's a rod just inside there, standing straight between the top and the bottom plate. If the strings and bridge are removed, the soundpost sometimes falls, sometimes stays in place, depending on how tight it's fit.

    Congrats on the bass :D
  10. Congratulations!
    Chris' suggestion about the pics is the best place to start..make sure to take shots of: scroll and machines, full front (top, table) shot, full back shot to see if the back is a flat back (flat) or a carved back ( rounded, swell back ), full shot of one side showing all three ribs. Also, when you take the shots of top and back, extend the END-PIN about 1/4 of the way out. The end-pin being the adjustable (hopefully) thumb screwed, long, usually metal, sometimes wood,rod at the bottom of the bass for adjustable height. For kicks, include the string length. Measure from the nut, ( the wood, notched thing (hopefully ebony) up at the head of the bass that the strings travel through on their way to the bridge. Measure from the bottom of the nut, down the fingerboard..hopefully ebony..to the top most edge of the bridge.
    The sound post rests inside the bass front to back, on the G side of YOUR bass, a little below the G foot of the bridge. The sound post looks like a DOWEL, about 3/4" in circ.
    DO NOT PUT TENSION ON THE BRIDGE without the sound post having an erection!! (in the up-right position)
    Did I miss anything?? You're very LUCKY that Almas name was only taped on and not carved IN. We restored a beautiful Nuener and Hornsteiner bass that had "I love Jesus" carved in the back!!

    Good luck, Adam and welcome to our world!!!
  11. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Congrats Jazzbo!!!

    Take it from me, and say goodbye to your plank....
  12. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I'm selling my freaking plank. For the amount I need it these days, and for the number of bass playin' pals I have, I can borrow one when I need one.

    Way to go, jazzbo. You'll never ever regret it.
  13. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Welcome, 'beaux, finally!
  14. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    The soundpost is intact. Is this a good thing, a bad thing, or a neither thing?
  15. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Thank you, thank you. I can't hide my excitement. My girlfriend thinks I'm the biggest dork ever. She is probably right.

    Done, done and done.

  16. The sound post staying up is usually niether a bad of good thing...as long as it hasn't been forced in. It's supposed to be set in just so it doesn't fall right down when you take tension off the bridge, but can be knocked down with a sound post knocker-downer. Just kidding...It should just be barely standing. I'm doing a tap dance on this, cause I know you're excited. I'm hoping one of our lutiers will get in here soon! When a sound post is really forced in, the post can take wood off the inside of the top or back and we've all seen bumps on the outside of the tops and backs of basses whose posts were too tight.

    Adam, i'm gonna bow out now, and hopefully one of our luthiers will chime in...Your excitement got me going there. This stuff is mainly just getting you used to messin' around with your bass, learning the parts and not being intimidated by it.
    Good luck and post those pictures soon!
  17. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    All good stuff to know. Thanks.
  18. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Congrats Jazzbo! It's a really exciting and really, really humbling instrument all at once. Hope you're able to get it into shape with a not-too-large investment.
  19. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Strings have been purchased. I've made an appointment with a Lex Luthier; however, he couldn't get me in until next Monday, the 27th!

    The agony, the agony. I would've skipped work, school, birthdays, anniversaries, to get this done sooner.

    Alas, my life is hell, and the next 6 days will be the most agonizing of my life.
  20. markr


    Mar 1, 2002
    way to go,'bo! Can recommend a good teacher to you within spittin' distance (judah & 39th Av.); John Clark 681-9116.
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