- Bass Care
Simple steps to properly care for your upright bass
This page is brought to you by Michael Shank of Shank's Strings
Note from the CEO:
I have been working with Mike Shank since 1999, over which time I have purchased two basses from him. Over the years, he has done excellent repair and touch-up work on both instruments. It cannot go without saying that Mike's breadth and depth of knowledge regarding the bass and its peripherals is truly staggering, and he has been a great source of advice and information throughout those years. Mike has my full confidence not only because of his wisdom, but perhaps more importantly, because he handles himself and his business with the utmost integrity and passion. He has graciously offered to provide me with the content and information for this page, and I wish to publicly extend my thanks for his invaluable advice.
- Andris Zvargulis
Founder & Owner
1) Keep your bass properly humidified. You can keep track of humidity levels with a hygrometer. If you keep the bass outside of a case, use a humidifier to keep your room at 35% humidity or above. If you don't have a humidifier and the humidity in the room is below 35%, keep your bass inside of its case along with a pair of dampits.
2) Keep track of cracks and look out for new ones. You should inspect your bass monthly for new or changing cracks. The best way to keep track of old cracks (that have already been fixed or inspected by an expert) is to take a picture of the crack along with a ruler next to it using your mobile phone or point-and-shoot camera; your memory won't always serve you, as cracks change slowly over time. Any new or changing cracks should be reported immediately to a luthier - like Michael.
3) Check your bridge alignment. Every 6-8 weeks, you should break out that tape measure and check to see if the distance between the bridge and the nut (where your string stops vibrating at the top) has remained consistent. A good tip is to write that length (accurate to 1/8") on the bottom of the bridge in pencil so you don't forget. Mike Shank shows you how to check the length and change it, if necessary, in the below videos.
Checking for cracks and bridge location:
Re-adjusting the bridge if it has moved: