Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Double bass action

Cappuccino 22 Nov 07 - 07:43 AM
8_Pints 22 Nov 07 - 08:29 AM
JohnInKansas 22 Nov 07 - 09:51 AM
Mitch the Bass 22 Nov 07 - 10:35 AM
Cappuccino 23 Nov 07 - 10:11 AM
Bluegrassman 23 Nov 07 - 07:30 PM
Songster Bob 23 Nov 07 - 10:53 PM
Cappuccino 25 Nov 07 - 05:47 AM
Jim Lad 25 Nov 07 - 05:48 PM
Cappuccino 26 Nov 07 - 03:37 PM
GUEST 17 Nov 16 - 04:15 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Double bass action
From: Cappuccino
Date: 22 Nov 07 - 07:43 AM

I've been an electric bass player for thirty-odd years, and have always wanted to try the double-bass, stand-up bass, or bass fiddle, whatever you want to call it. And this year the other half got me one for my birthday.

The problem I'm having isn't the one I expected. I expected to have trouble finding the notes, but that isn't what's worrying me.

I'm amazed by the action, the distance between the strings and the fingerboard. I had heard that the double bass takes five times as much finger pressure as the electric bass, but hadn't expected the distance between strings and fingerboard to be so great.

The height of the strings off the body at their highest point, at the bridge, is about six and a half inches. Can any bass player tell me if this is about right?

I have been wondering how to lower the action, but have no intention of getting a saw out and trying to cut down the bridge. I have heard that there are adjustable bridges, but they seem odd-looking things and I don't know how much they will help to lower the action.

Suggestions appreciated.
- Cappuccino.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Double bass action
From: 8_Pints
Date: 22 Nov 07 - 08:29 AM

Hi cappuccino,

I suggest you send a PM to kitchen_piper who should be able to answer your queries.

Bob vG


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Double bass action
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 22 Nov 07 - 09:51 AM

We had a standup for several years in an attempt to cultivate skills that refused to grow. One friend who was an accomplished player made the comment several times that we "really needed decent strings" as the cheap ones that came with ours "really made the action harder to play." You're likely familiar with the effect of "bad strings" on your electric and/or other similar instruments. The "effect" seems much more pronounced with the standup.

Our friend didn't mention the "action," which was (as I recall) about what you describe. She gave the impression that it was "acceptable" - although I suspect a good setup might likely have lowered the bridge some.

With the price of the strings she recommended at somethimg like $50 - $80 (US) each, not including any setup, we put off taking it in for restringing and setup, as it was getting very little use. (We only paid about $500 for the ^@$#*! thing to begin with - new, bag and stand included.)

John


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Double bass action
From: Mitch the Bass
Date: 22 Nov 07 - 10:35 AM

Cappuccino,

The set-up of a bass is usually specified by measuring the distance between each string and the fingerboard at the end of the fingerboard nearest the bridge. It's different for each string. You can change this height slightly by changing the notch depth where the strings go over the bridge or by sanding the top of the bridge appropriately. Don't change the feet of the bridge which are shaped to fit the belly of the bass. Adjustable bridges have brass or aluminium screws in the legs to adjust the height.

Many players change the setup when playing classical (a high setup) and jazz (a low setup) or for arco and pizzicato.

There are lots of variables to take into account.
How high is the action at the nut. A very small change in the notch depth may give you a more acceptable action but be careful of creating buzz in lower positions.
Is the fingerboard chamfered. This allows a lower action overall but gives better clearance for the E-string to stop buzzing.
Does the fingerboard "dip". This is a curvature in the surface which makes the action more uniform along the length of the fingerboard.
What tension are the strings. Lower tension strings may make a high action more acceptable.
Is the fingerboard ebony. This makes a differnce to the pressure required to get decent tone and sustain.

Do you normally play in higher positions where the action is higher or do you use 1/2 and 1st position predominantly. How do you position your hand and thumb and what fingering do you use. It really is different to a bass guitar in order to get the pressure required.   

Happy to answer questions here on on PM.

Mitch


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Double bass action
From: Cappuccino
Date: 23 Nov 07 - 10:11 AM

Well, that's very kind of you. Much appreciated.

- Cap.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Double bass action
From: Bluegrassman
Date: 23 Nov 07 - 07:30 PM

Cappuccino
A lot depends on the type of music you are wanting to play, here on the UK bluegrass scene lots of players are using Polyamide covered bass strings because they don't shred your finger ends and they do produce the sound and volume required. A full set of strings is currently about £100. The height of the string at the bottom end of the fingerboard should be about 10mm or 3/8", don't worry about the distance from the strings to the body, the fingerboard is where it counts. It is not a complicated job to adjust the bridge or very unlikely the nut. It all depends on your confidence (and the cash in your pocket)PM me and I will give some links to bass sites.

Bluegrassman


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Double bass action
From: Songster Bob
Date: 23 Nov 07 - 10:53 PM

A couple of other things to think about.

First, it is possible the action is too high -- "factory settings" on guitars, for instance, are often atrocious. Have someone who really knows look it over. And have it adjusted for the kind of playing you want to do.

Second, the method of plucking a stand-up bass string is slightly different from the technique for a Fender Precision Bass. Stand-up bass strings are more struck with the end of the finger than plucked as such. That is, the finger comes "through" the string, plucking by moving past the plane of the string, not sideways like on a fretted bass. Think of the classical guitarist's "rest stroke," where the finger comes to rest on the next string, as opposed to the "free stroke," where the finger plucks upward and does not hit the next string. To get a good tone from a standup bass, try to pluck toward the top, with your finger going right through the position of the string. This is hard to describe, but easy to see -- and hear -- in real life. In order to use this technique, the string should not be too close to the fingerboard. Another reason for higher action.

But if it's too hard to physically fret the strings, then, yes, the action is too high. How much too high is open to interpretation.


Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Double bass action
From: Cappuccino
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 05:47 AM

After having been on this forum for many, many years, I'm still amazed at the amount of wisdom and assistance that comes through.

Yes, guys, I'll PM. Many thanks

-C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Double bass action
From: Jim Lad
Date: 25 Nov 07 - 05:48 PM

Hey Cappuccino: I have a friend (Jim Hamm) in Victoria who will build you a bass with adjustable action.
You would have to go on a waiting list and be prepared to pay somewhere in the region of $35.000 but for that price he will fly to you with the instrument and set it up for you.
Or.....
       You could just keep the one you've got and wait for a month or so for your hand to strengthen.


Let me know.
Jim


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Double bass action
From: Cappuccino
Date: 26 Nov 07 - 03:37 PM

We are on the very south-west coastline of England... the nearest airport is many hours away.

But thanks!
C


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Double bass action
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 16 - 04:15 PM


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 23 September 2:16 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.