THIS IS AN ACTIVE REPAIR, BE SURE TO CHECK BACK OFTEN!
This is one of the great Mittenwald basses we have had through the shop. The varnish is to die for, and tone is even better! But, these things we like to haul around are BIG and AWKWARD, and sometimes you bump it on things. This one took a little bump and got a rib crack…so the owner, a dear friend of the shop, brought her in for a patch and since we would have the top off, let’s reglue that upper brace that’s been working itself loose.
When tops come off…that usually when you find rabbit holes…
Let’s start off by just taking a look at a bit of the stuff we planned on. Upper brace, no problem. Rib crack, no problem. Clean her all up and redo a bunch of old cracks and cleats since you’re already in there, par for the course.
The Top. It’s always the top. And why not…look what we are asking it to do! Spruce…millimeters thin, holding up hundreds of pounds of string tension for centuries, getting bumped, whacked, dried out and tortured. It’s a miracle they do as well as they do!
Miracle or lots of skilled labor and money? Meh…who’s keeping score?
So this top has seen some pretty bad repairs, with whole sections being replaced, poorly. And this top is thin…and dangerously thin in spots. But hey, great tone, right!?!?
We started picking apart the top, taking whole sections off with ease.
Some of these cracks are so old and have been cacked up with so much glue, that when you clean all the old glue out, its a horrible joint that left, and often time there’s not enough clamps in the world to pull sections back together again. Splines are used to make up wood that’s lost through truing up the joint. With everything square and straight, glue up of the splines is easy and they’ll not cost the owner repeated trips back into the shop.