Students will gain experience to address the most common problems in bass restoration. These include 1) how to safely remove a top (preparations for conserving the shape, bracing the neck, replacing the top, and when to re-line the edge), 2) how to safely remove a neck (preparation of neck mortise and alignment of new/restored neck with a laser), and 3) How to remove/replace a fingerboard. In addition. We will address repairs to plate and rib cracks and how to fit a bassbar. Topics include how to do repairs through the f-hole. We will also discuss jigs, tools, and appliances for performing this work. Open to students with previous experience in instrument repair or who have participated in the BASS SETUP class.
Classes meet from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with open workshop hours from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Materials and Tools
You should bring with you (shipping not advised) one standard ¾ bass (due to space and time constraints). Select a repair you'd like to work on, based on the topics in the course description. You should bring tools and materials needed to do that repair. As projects will vary, we hope to reach out to you for information on your project prior to the Workshop. This will help to ensure that you can complete or make good progress on your bass. For larger projects, we will either work out next steps for your own work or you might bring it back at a future Workshop.
Robert McIntosh is a native of Lynn, Massachusetts, and graduated Lynn English High School in 1969. He studied architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, class of 1973, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in the Building Sciences.
In 1977, He married Bliss White, who had built a house on her family’s farm in Cambridge, NY. They have two daughters, Annika and Helen. In 1993, when Annika was 14, she said she wished she could play the bass.
At the time Robert was a cabinetmaker. A friend, fiddler George Wilson, gave him a wrecked bass that was in his woodshed. His violinmaker friend, Geoffrey Ovington, offered his guidance, which carried Robert as far as setting the neck, for which he would need the advice of a bass expert. Geoffrey introduced him to John Feeney who was in town to play the Dvorak Quintet. John urged Robert to call Lou DiLeone, the master bass restorer who had worked on his own bass. This serendipitous introduction was a turning point in Robert's life. Lou DiLeone was the teacher that his 20 years as a cabinetmaker had prepared him for.
For 25 years Robert's clients have included local high school students and the bass section of the Met. He just completed his 12th handmade bass. #9 received a Certificate of Merit for Tone at the 2015 ISB. #10 received a Silver Medal for Tone a the 2016 VSA. #11 received Honorable Mention Convention Favorite at the 2017 ISB.
Keiran O'Hara is the owner and head luthier at O'Hara Fine Instruments, a shop just north of New York City specializing exclusively on Double Basses. Studying Music and Environmental Science at Florida State University, Keiran was drawn to work on instruments for the mix of art and science. While at Florida State, he took classes and independent studies in the Piano Technology Shop in the College of Music and then for four years taught a class in String Instrument Repair for Music Educators. Naturally, as a bassist he wanted to specialize in the instrument that felt at home with. This lead him to work in the shop of Arnold Schnitzer. In the Schnitzer shop, Keiran grew to take on the duties of repairs, assembly and set up of the New Standard Basses, chromatic extension, and restorations. After eight years, Mr. Schnitzer retired and Keiran hung out his own shingle in 2017 to serve the greater bass community.