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Re: Reworking An Engelhardt ES-1 for Bluegrass

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Posted by JT Murphy ( on June 03, 2002 at 12:57:14:

In Reply to: Reworking An Engelhardt ES-1 for Bluegrass posted by Thump on June 03, 2002 at 12:33:15:

: About a year ago I bought a new ES-1 to get back into bluegrass play. I set it up myself out of the box. It seems to work OK for bluegrass. After playing a couple of other folks' basses at a festival recently I wondered if mine could be set up better. One was an old Kay (50s-60s) and the other was a carved German (also old). I contacted a luthier in my region to inquire about this. He said that he sells and likes Engelhardts, but that he never simply sets them up out of the box. He says the bridge and the strings are thrown in the trash, the fingerboard planed and dressed, and then adds an adjustable bridge, new tailwire, and "some real strings." The cost for the work is around $4-500.

: I was told by the guy who originally sold me the ES-1 (a well-regarded dealer) that it would set up quite well out of the box compared to the lower-priced Engelhardt models. It actually sounds OK (had a little buzz once but it disappeared) but its sound is not as mellow as the two older basses I played (which were in fact really sweet). I cannot help but think that age was a major factor there, but maybe set-up could improve things.

: So what is the reigning wisdom here from those who have no economic interest in this transaction?

I would agree with you on the age factor. More so for the carved German than the Old Kay. Plywood just doesn't change much with time (but it does some).

I would agree with the luthier you spoke to about set up. All of the items he mentioned I have done (have had done that is by David Gage) to my bass and it made a significant (I'll say it again SIGNIFICANT) difference in playability and sound.

PS: I don't sell anything!

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