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Re: Flunked woodworking in Junior High

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Posted by Francis X. on June 03, 2001 at 15:49:24:

In Reply to: Re: Flunked woodworking in Junior High posted by Martin Sheridan on June 02, 2001 at 14:06:14:

: : Dear BassBuds:

: : The only guy who repairs string instruments in my area
: : (Rio Grande Valley,Texas)won't be able to work on my bass
: : until August. My teacher has encouraged me to try doing the
: : work myself. I want to:replace the saddle and the nut,as well as
: : the tailpiece and cable. The endpin appears to be pulling forward
: : under the tension of the strings,because the hole at the bottom of the
: : bass was reamed to large. The endblock inside the bass is shallow,which
: : adds to this problem. The bridge needs to be contoured for bowing,and the
: : fingerboard(which I believe is mahogany)could do with re-finishing.

: : Could someone please tell what tools and materials I need to get,and if there
: : is a website or book with step by step instructions on how to do this?

: : Thanks,Francis X.

: Francis,

: If you flunked woodworking in High School, you might already know the answer to your questions. I worked on basses for over 25 years, and I don't think you begin with this many problems. Must make sure your repair person really knows basses. If you're still stuck, email me and I'll see if I can help from afar.
: Martin Sheridan

Dear Mr.Sheridan:

Thank you for your extensive and detailed reply;you obviously spent a good deal
of your time writing it out for me. I'm extremely grateful both for your expertise
and generosity. I will attempt at least some of the work. I was very disappointed
that the luthier to whom I gave my bass for repair did not contact me while it was in his
shop and suggest a complete job be done. He does not deal directly with the public,
but has instruments dropped off and returned to a local music store who bills the customer.
Fitting a new endpin and bridge costed me $250,which I thought was somewhat high,in
view of the fact that the bass is still not set-up correctly. The bass,by the way
is a 5/8 size which was made in Mexico(I live 5 miles from the border),probably
in a shop which uses the tools and techniques available 100 years ago. It is actually
very easy to play and has good tone-much better than the low-end Chinese basses
and cost me only $300. However,it is lightly constructed,and apparently has been tinkered
with by inexperienced and clumsy hands. I will take care that I not add to its history
of distress.

Very truly yours,Michael Francese

P.S.-I took Printing in JHS,and my first few jobs after HS and College were
in that trade! Even though I later earned two Master's degrees,I still
very proud of the fact I was a skilled tradesman earlier in my life
(I'm 49 at the moment).

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