Anyone playing long mensure basses?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by dtsamples, Apr 9, 2014.


  1. dtsamples

    dtsamples Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    I have a big boy. 44.5" mensure. 7/8 1930's czech gamba bass. Set up with Corellis and a Laborie endpin so the length is a bit easier to navigate. I almost didn't buy it because of the size, but I played about 10 other 3/4 basses in the 5-10k range, and none of them had the sound that this thing has. So I proceeded down the road less traveled. Anyone else?

    I think about selling it from time to time to get something more standard, but I'm only a novice, so I figure what's the difference, just keep learning on this one and it'll feel just as right as any other would.

    Guess I'm just looking for a little encouragement and to find out if anyone else out there has been down this road.
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    The reason that basses are designed with shorter string lengths today (42" or less) is that it makes them easier to get around on for most people. If you have long arms and large hands, that will help with your bass, but if not, a smaller bass would be recommended for playability. You're a novice, so how did the Laborie endpin happen? Are you teaching yourself?

    I know it's easy to get sucked in by the sound, but in the long run I think you would be happier on a shorter string length unless you are just planning on simple roots type music bass playing.
  3. dtsamples

    dtsamples Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    I have a friend/bass mentor who sold me the instrument; he's a Rabbath student. I had previously owned and had instruction on a bass that had been badly damaged and repaired when I bought it. It was a Shen willow, and I was never very happy with it. This bass fingered and bowed easier and sounded much better. When I considered buying it I went to shanks strings and played a bunch of basses and had Shank check it out. After playing a bunch in his showroom, I walked back up to his shop and played mine and it made me forget about all the basses in the showroom. To be honest, it never really presents too much of a problem, except for maybe playing two Fs in first position. Just a little disheartening to know that nobody really wants these big basses and is making me second guess it.
  4. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    Well, that's one of the problems in a nutshell! Root/V in the lower positions would be a bear unless your hands are BIG!


    You could look into getting the string length shortened. Did Shanks mention that to you? I don't think your mentor did you any favors by selling you this bass, IMO.
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    Bridge and sound post were moved. Set to 41.5"

    Easy to play, big sound.
  7. dtsamples

    dtsamples Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    I can have a false nut made, but it's a D neck so it seems to me that that would make it more difficult to play. When I got it the bridge was cheated to 44", but I moved it back to pull the D back to the heel, which was actually one of Shank's suggestions. He thought the little difference wasn't enough to justify having the positions shifted.
  8. dtsamples

    dtsamples Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    Just need to point out my friend never pressured me to buy the bass. I made the decision knowing most people wouldn't want a long scale. Maybe it was a bad decision, but it was mine. Bought with my ears and eyes, not with my common sense I guess.
  9. dtsamples

    dtsamples Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    John m, that's great, was it a D neck? Any trouble adjusting? Did you have to have a false nut?

    Edit: missed the sub-head that it wasn't your bass
  10. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    You could do a false nut and cheat the bridge up and maintain the D stop. I don't know how far you could go with this, but if you could get to 43" that would sure help.
  11. dtsamples

    dtsamples Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    Maybe I'll contact Shank again. He also mentioned modernizing the bridge to narrow the string spacing.
  12. mlz77096

    mlz77096

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I have never enjoyed things I bought with common sense especially when I passed up what my heart wanted. You bought the bass for you. Does it hurt your hands to play it? If not, play away happily. You can make adjustments at a later day if necessary.
  13. ChuckCorbisiero

    ChuckCorbisiero

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    With a D neck if you move the bridge forward you can achieve a true Eb neck if you don't want to do the false nut right away. Check out this bass at 1:14 in the video. He's got that bridge way forward. Seems like it works. If your changing the spacing, might as well try at least that. Unless there is some reason you don't like Eb necks.
  14. lcdck

    lcdck

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Pics? 44.5" is BIG! I play an american standard which is just under 43". I don't have a problem but I think that's about as big as I can play with my hands, and I'm 6'2" with large hands. I want to be able to play a 5th in 1/2 position without shifting and I couldn't do it comfortable with anything much bigger.

    Your bass is probably putting you at a handicap to some degree but a great sound counts for a lot. I guess if you're getting around okay and able to play in tune, then it's up to you. If intonation is a big problem and you're really slow because you have to shift to make a lot of figures that one normally wouldn't need to shift on, it would be a different story.

    I'd love to see some photos.
  15. dtsamples

    dtsamples Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    Not a bad idea, hadn't thought of that. The only reason I don't think I'd like an Eb neck is losing the point of reference, but again, this is all cycling back around to the fact that I need more practice. I'll probably trudge forward as is and see where that gets me. Surprised no one else out there is "dealing with it."

    Who knows, maybe someday I'll be the guy who made big string lengths popular again :bag:
  16. dtsamples

    dtsamples Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    This is the only one I have handy, but you can't see the whole thing. At the time, I had it at 44". I'll upload a few shots later tonight.

    Attached Files:

  17. ChuckCorbisiero

    ChuckCorbisiero

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    Better have the luthier tell you if that top can handle the bridge forward significantly more. The sound post will need to be moved as well forward. Here is a picture of a bass that looks like it has the bridge forward significantly. Another possible issue with the bridge forward could be that the string after lengths have a weird tuning and wolf tones. There's ways of dealing with that I think. Nice looking large double bass you have. I get your affection for it. At least visually. Not likely to get around well at 44 inch string measure though.

    Attached Files:

  18. dtsamples

    dtsamples Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE
    Thanks for that picture. It doesn't look nearly as "off" as I thought a bass with a highly cheated bridge might.
  19. ChuckCorbisiero

    ChuckCorbisiero

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    It depends how much room a bass has and the placement of the f holes whether it will work. Looks like it will work on your bass if you can deal with having an Eb neck and a fingerboard extension...lol. That bass is on the Kolstien webstite. It's a 7/8 size with a small 40.75 string length.


    http://kolstein.com/mm5/merchant.mv...de=KMI&Product_Code=2b2463&Category_Code=bass
  20. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    Having owned both, I prefer the Eb neck.
  21. dtsamples

    dtsamples Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Location:
    Wilmington, DE

Share This Page