New Bass Day - Knilling 1301T
Today is day 1 for me on the upright bass. I picked up this Knilling 1301T this morning from a nice guy down near RI. My musical journey so far has been piano (as a kid, didn't stick) > acoustic guitar > electric bass > mandolin > and now the upright. I play the electric bass the most now (church bands), but my best instrument is probably mandolin which I play in Bluegrass jams.
I'll post more when I get some time, but the highlights are:
-Bass seems to be in great condition
-German made - I've emailed Knilling for the year
-I'll be getting lessons - I'm near Tufts if anyone has a recommendation
-I've built and restored a range of guitars and mandolins over the years and will do my own setup (I bought the Traeger book a while back assuming that I would buy a basket case)
-That said, I'll be asking for some advice soon on the setup including looking for a good source for an end pin and thumb screw (both missing)
Here are the pics :
Congrats on your new bass
Thanks. It looks to me like this bass was little used. There is some finish damage, but that appears to be mostly due to the age of the (very) orange lacquer. The current specs for this model are: plywood, ebony board, ebony tailpiece, nitro finish, and super sensitive red label strings (see HERE). This bass has all that, including the strings (unfortunately), but the tailpiece is painted white wood.
I've heard that there are a limited number of German factories making basses. I'm curious if anyone knows where Knilling bought this one from. If it helps, there appears to be a circular stamp from the factory underneath the tailpiece hanger with a stamped number of 2990 below that.
I measured the endpin collar this morning. It looks like I'll need an 8 mm replacement rod. The only place I've found so far is Lemur (link). $26 for a slip on tip (16") and $28 for a screw on tip (12"). I'll still need to find a thrumbscrew. If nothing else, I can order something from McMaster-Carr (link).
At those prices you may be better off dropping a Benjamin on a new, higher-quality endpin. That tailgut could probably stand to be replaced as well.
There are quite a few items that I could address, but I'll need to prioritize things. Essentially, every $50 or so that I spend is one less lesson. My mental list at this point goes like this:
End pin - I have to do something here - either buy or make something
Tailpiece hanger - the nylon one is fine for now - maybe I'll get a kevlar or similar one later.
Tailpiece - Again, it's fine for now - replace with ebony later.
Bridge - It's not adjustable, it's too high (E 12/16, A 14/16, D, 13/16, G 10/16), and it may have a bit of warping; for the near term, I'll just follow the methods in the Traeger book to bring the string action down.
Stand - Apart from the bass, the only other thing I have is a bag. A stand would be convenient. I may build one of those carpet lined boxes for now. A folding stand like the Ingles would be nice later.
Bow - I will buy one immediately after I find a teacher.
Strings - My guess is that I need to replace these, but I'll have my teacher play the bass to see if they are acceptable. If I need to replace them, I'd likely go with a hybrid string if I can pick up a used set of Evah Weichs.
Pickup/preamp - I'll buy it when I actually need it. Lessons first.
Seeking Opinions on Bridge Warping
I'd like some opinions on the how much I should worry about the bend in the bridge. I don't want to double post this over to the Repair section, so I hope I can get some input here. I just ordered some strings, so I'll be doing the bridge setup relatively soon. My plan goes like this:
-(Possibly) flatten the bridge
-Change the strings
-(Possibly) wait a bit and let it settle in
-Measure the heights again
Should I do a "soak-and-clamp" on the bridge or is the bend nothing to worry about?
Should I leave some time for things to settle in before measuring the string height or can I do this immediately after changing the strings?
I've not had any luck getting a response from Knilling, but from some more searching through other threads here it appears that this was made for Knilling by Musima (based on color, quarter-round exterior linings, and the stamping of a date code near the endpin) and that is was built in 1990 (based on the 2 9 90 stamp).
I've started my lessons and picked up a German bow, the endpin rod from Lemur, and a used set of Evah Weichs (which really improved the sound). I've made a plywood stand and will post pics once I get it looking a little nicer. The bridge adjustment is next.
You know, you haven't Told us the most important parts yet.
Are you having any Fun?
It's a plywood bass. I wouldn't worry about the provenance a whole lot. Fix the bridge, replace the tailpiece wire, put on some decent strings, and you're ready to go. You don't need a stand if you have a corner.
I'm having a lot of fun so far. I've been mixing up my playing time with scales / bowing exercises and playing along to music. My kids love to hear me play, especially the bowing!
I'm not terribly concerned about the provenance, but was reassured to find out that these basses are generally regarded as solid workhorses.
Aaaah, but he may WANT a stand. Go the Bass Spa website. Jake has graciously posted some plans so you can make your own stand.
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