JRJ - Instruments
James R. Jennings

Violin Family: String Bass

Blockless Bass:
Completed bass - front view This instrument initially consisted of many bass parts, some more or less complete, and others quite fragmentary. There was initially no neck block in this bass and the lower part of the neck was made larger than normal and was glued directly to the body. There is no indication of a maker, but the design, particularly the lack of a neck block, and the materials used in its construction suggest that it may be of German / Austrian / Bohemian origin and may have been built about 1900, give or take. The reconstruction project took place over several months from the summer of 2007 to the spring of 2008 and involved making a significant number of replacement parts (including, of course, a neck block) as well as repairing and assembling the existing pieces. The following links go to pages that contain further information about the reconstruction process:
Before reconstruction
During reconstruction
After reconstruction

1942 Kay bass:
Completed bass - front view In 1998, this bass, intrinsically a nice blond Kay, had a neck that was loose from the body and had numerous layers of the plywood of the front and back plates that had separated. The junction between the neck and the body was repaired about 30 years ago, but had come loose again raising the action to the point that the bass was nearly unplayable. The loss of bonding between the plys had greatly weakened the edges of the front and back plates. Wherever the separation was particularly bad along the edges of the plates, small pieces of the wood had broken off, and this was especially a problem where the edges of the front and back plates made contact with the floor when the bass was set down on its side. The following link gives further information about the repair process and includes more pictures as well:
Kay bass page

*Photos on this page are courtesy of Fredrick J. Wild.

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