Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Maintenance & repair

The dear double bass of mine seems to need some maintenance and repair soon. It may even need a new set-up?

MJ was inspecting my double bass last evening, and he said that the distance between the A and the D string (at the bridge) was too wide for optimal playing. He said an ideal width was about 2.5 centimetres, but this particular width was 3 centimetres on my double bass. He said I should consider having the width reduced to at least 2.7 centimetres.

Even the G string on my double bass, as MJ said, should hang slightly inwards, away from the edges of the fingerboard. This is so as to ensure optimal playing. MJ said I could do all these on my own or get a Luthier. I think getting a Luthier might be a better idea.

In addition, I would need help to do something about the tailpiece that has been breeding some fungus already due to the humidity. There is a crack-line at the back of my instrument too. I would also need some help to make the end-pin a removable one.

My question is: Should I go to a Luthier whom I know of or just simply go back to the shop where I have brought my instrument from?

Do the above-mentioned repairs need more skill and care? If the repairs and works are simple, I might go back to the shop where I have purchased my double bass from. It is supposed to provide my double bass with free workmanship should I go back for assistance.

I wonder how long the repair might take too. I know I will miss having my double bass around.

On the side note, Jason Heath has written a post on Buying a Double Bass. A useful post to refer to.


mistipurple said...

it's always tricky to repair a valued instrument.
my dad's violin was destroyed by a shop, literally. he kept it for 60 over years in good condition and just needed to repair a minor hairline crack. the shop killed the violin.
i should have known better. the shop dealt with violins and string instruments for many years, so it didn't occur to me then that, that was not any indication that they knew what they were doing.
luckily my dad took it well. (the violin ended up broken in two! sigh...)

the idiot shop (mind my language, sorry) didn't dare inform me of the damage, even after weeks of enquiries. finally, they told me after i persisted, and they dismissed the whole issue lightly by telling me to come down and choose another cheap china violin that they had there. sigh..

can you imagine, they offered a second-hand violin that they were repairing at that time, and told me that, that one was not damaged in that area. thank goodness i had the good humour not to go knock them on their heads with the violin. sadly, they didn't understood the sentiments we had for the violin, and it was not a cheap china violin. (not that i have anything against cheap china violins.)

thinking about it now, i feel like smacking their heads again...

Jason Heath said...

Thanks for mentioning my post! I wonder how different it is finding a repairperson/luthier in Singapore than in the U.S. In Chicago we have many luthiers, but only two or three are good at bass set-up.

oceanskies79 said...

It seems very hard to find good luthier to set up the double bass. The Luthier whom I have included in the link in this post is one of the few better ones....in fact, the only, whom I know would be good in setting up the double bass.

oceanskies79 said...

But actually, I still have not figure what constitutes a good set up for the double bass.

Jason: If you could care to have this for one of your upcoming posts?

Misti: sorry to hear about how that shop did not do justice to the violin. I would be heartbroken if someone do that to my dear double bass.....

Actually, that was the reason that I am not sure if I should bring my double bass back to the shop where I had purchased it from. The shop specialises in selling instruments in general...but it never felt like it would do a good job on the repair of double bass.

mistipurple said...

another shop that i deal with offered to send it to china for me for repairs. they said they have good craftsmen there. i did not tarnish the other 'bad' shop's name. seems not ethical to do so, though i think they deserve it.
i was distressed over the broken violin as i made my dad do the repairs. he trusted me and i trusted the shop. thank goodness my dad has a forgiving heart. he thought nothing of the damage. but i felt really bad.