Posted on December 21, 2021April 13, 2023 by Dale Phillips Restoring a “Church Bass” Restoring a “Church Bass” by Frederick C. Lyman Originally published in American Lutherie #98, 2009 “Restoration” is not really a good term for what is done by luthiers who work on old bass fiddles. They are trying to create an instrument that has not existed before, using pieces that give it historical continuity and prestige. Connection with the past, recent or distant, is important to musicians. Having an instrument that can be connected to a previous musical era seems to do a lot to build a player’s confidence and help him or her form a conception of music-to-be. So given an old instrument that needs a lot of work to be playable, the repairman tries to keep in mind the continuing identity of that particular fiddle. It must seem that there is an unbroken link between what was in the mind of the original creator, and the present-day sound. If this is an illusion, that may be better yet, as we are already in a realm of rampant subjectivity. Become A Member to Continue Reading This Article This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page. If you are already a member, login for access or contact us to setup your account.