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43 inches String lenght Bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by precision61, May 28, 2004.


  1. Last week, my luthier (who is a violin repair man--don't know much about double bass) just finish restoration on my old carved german bass.

    I bought this bass in unplayable condition. it has the label "A copy of Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1721, Made in Germany". ---I guess that would be pre-war german bass--

    The bass has 43 inches (110 cm) string lenght. It was very difficult to play for me. My luthier fixed this problem by shift the position of bridge feets a little bit more toward the fingerboard. He said it will reduce the scale to 42 inches (108 cm).

    Is it corrected to position the bridge feets in that position? If it is wrong, what should be the right method to reduce the string lenght?

    My bridge feet looks like this picture
    http://www.worldofbasses.de/Instrumente_03/Doser_1825/Doser.html

    Thank you for your help
    Pongsak
    Bangkok, Thailand
     
  2. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    The luthiers will jump in here and say something but my understanding is that every situation is different and usually it's a case of doing one or both of a false nut and moving the bridge. There are pros and cons to both including the fact that with the false nut, the length of the neck (and the refererence points) is changed. I would also suggest that if it is indeed "very difficult" (as opposed to just "difficult") to play, then you consider getting a different bass. Be careful not to injure yourself trying to play a bass that is too big for your hands.
     
  3. What reference points? You shouldn't be looking at the neck or your hands. I was trying a bass with a false nut at least one full inch long. I didn't know it had a false nut until I stopped playing and it was pointed out to me.
    Note to NYC bassists: The bassist was Heather Versace, new in town. She's good.
     
  4. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    The only reference point I was talking about was the heel of the neck actually. I wouldn't particularly want to play a bass with a Db neck for example.
     
  5. Agreed. My complaint would be that the octave gets moved too far down over the top.
    On the other hand, my guess (not my sure knowledge) is that moving the bridge will alter the sound in some way.
     
  6. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    sometimes you feel like a false nut...I would liek to play a bass with that string length just once...
     
  7. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    ?
    43" or the false nut?
     
  8. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    ha ! 43" string length...my microtonal approach would amplify dramatically I can assure you !
     
  9. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    My DB and EUB are 43 1/8", I seem to like it, but then I'm 6'3" :D
     
  10. There's been much talk about this here at TB but I don't think 43" is much of a difference from 42". I don't have years & years of 42" playing under my hands but my American Standard is 43" and it's fine for me. I always think about BGs which are 34" and my Modulus BG which is 35" and I don't even notice it. Somehow an extra inch on 34" sl seems like a bigger increase/difference than an extra inch on 42" sl. I had the chance to change the scale length (with my new neck) on my A.S. but I decided not to mess with the mojo. To each his own.
     
  11. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Well perhaps 43" is not much a difference from 42" for you but for some folks 42" is already the max they can go. I for one like to be able to do octaves in half position and occasionally I play various 11th and augmented 11th double stops a few positions higher (mostly in duo accompaniment situations). 42" is the max for me.
     
  12. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    Truth be told the scale of my DB was the last of my concerns, finding a bass under $1,100 without a tunky A, and had thick sound in the bay area was.
     
  13. Thank you all of your kind suggestions.

    I feel the same that Adrian mention (intonation, reference point).
    In fact I am not a big guy. I can not handle the 43".

    May be I have to adjust myself to the bass?
    I am not in the position to change the bass sooner (with serveral reasons, especially, the decent bass is very very hard to find in my country).

    Pongsak
    Bangkok, Thailand
     
  14. Don't give up on that bass yet. It depends what the demands of the music you are playing are. If you are playing straight classical, then probably I would say get a smaller bass.You have to play those notes in that order. If you are playing jazz or other contemporary music, then there is a certain leeway within the harmonic structure of the music for you to make a decision of note choice( less is often more). I'm 5'2'', and my big bass should have a mensur of 44''. I've moved the bridge up a bit so that it is 43'' approx, and gives it an Eb neck. Get the action down as low as you can within reason ; don't use a heavy gauge string( I use Thomastik "superflexible" on the top 3, but have to use "spirocore" orchestral on the bottom E ) . I sit down on a stool to play . Sit behind the bass, not at the side, as this means the balancing of the instrument is taken off your hands, and lets you more easily get round the bass.
    A good bass is hard to come by, ask any of the guys that post here. If its good ,keep it , and learn to play it. At least give it a shot for a while.
     
  15. simandlhandle

    Thank you for your kindly valuable suggestion.


    I decide to keep a shift bridge and give this bass a shot, since its tone is really good . I play Jazz with some arco solo. Currently I put a set of Obligatos on, the bass speaks up quickly (Tried Varicor on this bass before, but did not work so well).

    The more I play, the more I love its tone. (Far away better and lounder than my 1960's 7/8 Karl Hofner plywood bass--I keep it as a back up.)

    Regards
    Pongsak
    Bangkok, Thailand
     
  16. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Another thought to keep in mind with any playing, and especially on a longer string length, is not to get hung up on having to keep your hand stretched full out in position. My bass is around 42", but I will wiggle my hand around quite a bit in the lower positions to play in tune rather than stretching, keeping my hand looser and causing a lot less fatigue. The only time you really need to stretch your hand out is when you're playing double stops.

    A comment on the Db neck (from above), I find that I like the body in the way when playing as it gives me a lot more physical feedback where I am on the bass, which is nice when you can't hear yourself so well.
     
  17. godoze

    godoze

    Oct 21, 2002
    You could always have it cut.