Stumped

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by LouisF, Mar 11, 2014.


  1. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have a bass stored in the office that I hadn't used for a while. I had tuned the strings down a half step. I took the bass out tonight and before I started tuning, I noticed the bass sounded more open and felt MUCH easier to play than at pitch (and I think louder, too).

    Any ideas on reproducing this at pitch? Solo strings tuned down? Lower bridge and nut?

    I'm stumped.

    Thanks

    Louis
     
  2. Major Softie

    Major Softie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Location:
    South Lake Tahoe, CA
    Use that tuning, capo at the first fret, and the only thing that won't align normally will be the dots on your fretboard. 12-string players do it all the time to reduce the effort of bar chords on a 12.
     
  3. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

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    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ooops... thanks but this is an upright double bass. Thanks, though\

    Louis
     
  4. Jsn

    Jsn

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2006
    Location:
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Louis, which of your impressive collection of basses is this one? Do you have a sense of how tight the sound post is fitted? May be you just freed up the top a skotch.
     
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  6. Projectile

    Projectile

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Play tuned up a half step for a week and when you go back to normal tuning you will get the same sense of improvement. It's all relative.
     
  7. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Disclosures:
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    The bass is obviously responding to either less tension or lower pitch.

    If its lower tension, you should be able to get the same effect with three strings tuned to A 440 and one string flapping. Then go with lower tension strings - gut maybe, or Velvets?

    If its the lower pitch, that's a little trickier. You might get there with sound post adjustment, after-length tuning and mode-matching. Pretty hard for me to tell from here! ;)
     
  8. Major Softie

    Major Softie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Location:
    South Lake Tahoe, CA
    LOL. Well, my suggestion would not apply then, would it?

    Sorry, I didn't notice this was in the double bass forum. I'm afraid my knowledge of acoustic basses is limited to knowing a lot about the woods, but very little about the instrument. Good luck with your question.
     
  9. Feral Feline

    Feral Feline Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2007
    Location:
    Honky Kong, ShangriLamma
    I vote for trying solo strings tuned to standard pitch, and I'm sure J. deVilliers has forgotten more about basses than I'll ever know. Evah Pirazzi Solos-tuned-standard work well for this newb.
     
  10. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks, all for your input.

    The bass is the 3-string blockless wonder I had restored and turned to a 4 string (which might in theory be part of the issue).

    Soundpost - we've gone through 3: the first one was a 5/8th post, which made the top two strings sing, but the bottom 2 were blah. Put in a full size post, recut it and replaced it and repositioned it. Each adjustment got the bass sounding bigger and fuller, but with still a lot of tension.

    I had Corellis 370txf on the bass to start; and changed to a used of Orginal Fex plus a Permanent Ext E (the bass has a stenholm extension)

    We also changed the tailpiece (a beautiful pernambucco one from B&G Strings in Italy) for a Marvin wire tp.

    I'll try Jake's A440 test later tonight and report back in.

    I think solo strings tuned down, more futzing with the post and maybe a little lowering of the action are all next.

    Thanks all

    Louis
     
  11. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    Louis, you might like Velvet Compas 180 Suit strings. They can be used Solo or Orchestra tuning. I think they are 24kg per string tension. I've used them and like them a lot.
     
  12. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

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    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thanks, Eric. Do you have any experience with Jargar dolces? I've used spiro solos tuned down, too. I'll look for the suites

    Best,

    Louis
     
  13. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    Never tried Jargars. I like the suits much better than spiro solos, at least on my bass. Fatter feel and sound, IMO. They are a terrible pain to install though… They won't work with a Marvin tp.
     
  14. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

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    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I tried Jake's 3 strings tuned suggestion, and it comes close, so I think maybe lower tension/solo strings plus some puttering with post, after life etc might be the way to go - or at least start.

    Maybe Eric's 180 idea.

    Thanks

    Louis
     
  15. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    Eric, are the Velvet Compas 180 Suit tie ends like their old "V tuning set" I've used in the past, or a Loop like some of the other strings? While I completely agree that the tie end strings are a huge pain in the butt to install, I would think that you could likely find a way to tie them to a Marvin?

    I have only seen a few pictures of the Marvin so I have no idea really. Just wondering out loud.
     
  16. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

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  17. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    The tie end of the strings doesn't have any string "core" in it, which is why it is so critical to install them properly. Having the "core" part of the string wrapped around the tuning peg is what they want to avoid breakage. On a Marvin the ring is functioning much the same as the slot on a traditional wooden tailpiece. If there were sharp edges I could see that being a problem, but as long as they were smooth I wouldn't think there is dramatically less surface area there than the bottom of the slot on traditional tailpiece.

    It would likely require a different kind of knot which I could see potentially being a problem or even more of a hassle than they already are, but I'm guessing there is a way? You have some other good string options, I'm just trying to mentally tie those knots myself and see if it works.
     
  18. bassmanbrent

    bassmanbrent

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I used Velvet Blues on a bass with a Marvin tailpiece for a couple years with no problem. When I ordered the Marvin he sent me some small, thick pieces of leather that I wrapped around the the rings of the tailpiece. They protected the strings without issue.
     
  19. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

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    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Great to know. Thanks
    Louis
     
  20. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago
    Same, but I don't have any inserts and they are not breaking so far after a year or so.

    The Compas 180 have no loops or ball ends and need to be wound around themselves against a solid tailpiece to hold by pressure. They are difficult to center between the nut and bridge so that the wound part of the string doesn't go around the tuning pegs, but goes over the nut. I don't have a clue how they could be tied to a Marvin except some intense knotting, but with the centering problem, that may take a lot of tying and untying to get it right. They also stretch a lot and that adds to the trouble.

    It sounds daunting, but they really are nice once you get them on!
     
  21. MikeCanada

    MikeCanada

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    This was definitely my experience with them on my bass, with a "normal" tailpiece. Basically, they just have extra "silk" or whatever it is at both ends of the strings, and you have to guess/trial and error until you get them right. They include a picture of the knot you usually tie on a wooden tailpiece, but I don't know how that would work on a Marvin. If you've ever had to try to tie a knot before when you only really have access to one end of the rope, it's not as easy as it sounds.

    Once you get them on there and adjusted to the right length though, they're a pretty nice string. Just a giant pain in the butt to install.
     

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