Double Bass Repair

BY Paul Klinefelter

Set-ups and Minor Repairs near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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My learning set-ups and minor repairs came about out of necessity. I bought my first double bass in 1973 at Emil De Luccia’s shop in South Philadelphia, the only one in town that specialized in basses. When that shop closed, I began learning to do my own repair work, as the nearest bass repair shop was in New York.

While studying at Temple University as a bass performance major, I availed myself of their vast library, reading many books and articles on instrument building and bass repair. I also built relationships with and learned from many luthiers in NYC. As a player, I was concerned with getting the best sound and response possible from my instrument.

Gradually, the word spread, and local bassists began to stop by to have their basses tweaked or a seam glued. My list of clients grew to include present and former Philadelphia Orchestra bassists Neil Courtney, Roger Scott, David Fay and Rob Kesselman as well as the Curtis Institute, Lower Merion School District, and many local jazz players including Kevin MacConnell, Steve Beskrone, Matt Parrish and Dave Brodie.

Currently, I am limiting my business to set-ups and minor repairs, although I have also re-glued fingerboards and cracked necks, and fitted endpins, bridges and bridge adjusters.

If you are in need of any of these services for your bass, click here to send me an email.

For larger bass repair projects, I usually refer clients to Mike Shank in Elizabethtown, PA, as he does great work at a fair price. Visit his website at

Praise For Paul's Work

Paul Klinefelter does incredible, well-informed bass repair work. He truly understands how to make the instrument easy to play in regards to set up and sound. Paul is very easy to work with and finishes his work in a timely matter. All of these things contribute to making the life of a gigging bassist significantly easier!
— Justin Sekelewski

Paul has done miracles on my basses. I've had setups, setup mistakes corrected from other repair people, tail-piece wire repairs, and sound post problems fixed by him. Most of them were emergency repairs and all done within an hour or so with extreme diligence and patience. I recommend him to anyone with a bass.
— Brian Howell

Tips on Bass Set-Ups

One of the most important aspects of bass set-up that experience has taught me is that the strings should run straight from the nut to the saddle. Hopefully, with the bridge centered between the f holes, the strings will run down the center of the fingerboard. It is therefore CRITICAL that the neck be set so that this happens.

If the neck is offset and the strings run a little off center (either to the G string side or the E string side of the fingerboard), I’ve found it’s best for good response to leave it that way. Moving the bridge to one side or the other in order to center the strings puts an extra angle in them which also raises their tension.

It has always been my philosophy to try to get the best sound and response from an instrument, so if the strings aren’t perfectly centered, so be it! Function over aesthetics! If it is important for the bass to look good, then one might consider having the neck reset. (Expensive!) Better still, make sure the neck is set properly BEFORE you buy an instrument.

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