Fingerboards | Bass Bars | Glues | Saddles | Bridges
My Tuners | The Sound Post | Regraduation


Regraduation is the process of changing the existing thickness of an instrument. Its most common incarnation is in the thinning of top plates. The reason this is done is that in many cases it can result in an instrument that is quicker to respond. Part of the down side to this equation is that some range and nuance may be lost [forever]. Another even bigger part is that excessive thinning of top plates will likely result in a loss of structural integrity over the course of time [what's the statute of limitations on bass crimes? Not very long - so thin away].

Now one can make the argument that the original maker was just not hip to the best graduations. That might be the case for a Juzek or a Mathias Thoma but what about a Gagliano? A Panormo? Or a Ceruti or a Grancino? I've seen examples of all those basses and many more that were regraduated severely [even without the owner's knowledge or permission!]. If you had a busted up Gagliano wouldn't you just lovingly put it together and let it stand on its own?

Lutherie has a prime directive - kinda like on Star Trek. DON'T DO WHAT CAN'T BE UNDONE!! Thinning parts of the "body proper" cannot be undone. Taking a 250 year old Italian bass and cutting away large amounts of original wood is the ultimate in arrogant hubris. It's a kind of rape and it really is wrong. It has to stop and the way it can stop is if players are aware of it and do their part. Ask your luthier about this subject and listen carefully to what he/she says. If you have a good instrument in for repairs - INSIST - INSIST that there should be no regraduation.

page | 1 |

359 Miller Avenue, Freeport, NY 11520
(516) 867 1395 ·

[Directions to the workshop]


© 2004 Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc. All rights reserved.