Born to Fail, and “Fixed” to Fail Again… –

Born to Fail, and “Fixed” to Fail Again…

  • By admin
  • - September 11


This upright bass had one of the weakest neck sets we’ve ever seen, with about 5mm of neck actually set into the body.  The owner had it “repaired” in the city but the repair failed. And no wonder!  The mortise was filled with a poorly fitting spruce shim, and then the neck was glued on top of the shim.  There was ZERO mechanical action holding this neck tot he body…it was all glue. Boooo!

A “shoe” was created to elongate the heel so we could set it into the body in a traditional method.  Now, if we had just glued a maple block to the bottom of the heel, we’d be no better than the last guys to repair this bass…so we got crafty!

To increase the glue surface and to create a mechanical advantage to the shoe, we created a tapered mortise in the heel with 3 degree walls.  The maple shoe had the male version of the mortise we just created, and we glued the shoe to the heel.  The taper the shoe in combination with the slant of the heel had the effect that the tighter we did the clamps when gluing, the more snug the joint became.

We started digging out the neck block so we could determine how much shoe/heel to leave on to get a good set.  We’d like to bury a full inch into it, but we don’t want to leave an anemic neck block and create a brand new problem.

Big surprise with this one (not!) was the last shim was glued on top of another shim…this one with very weak hide glue….

We’ll end up setting the neck about 1mm deeper than the glue line from the shoe so that the repair is nearly invisible.

  Building up the walls for a good fit and to repair past damages.  The top edges of laminate had been previously damaged and weakly glued back on, so in the fitting process we removed it so as not to damage or lose it.