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5 string setup

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by rodrigo rojas, Oct 16, 2004.

  1. rodrigo rojas

    rodrigo rojas

    Jul 3, 2002
    I thought this might be helpful, I wrote it as a reply to another member's question. Please post your comments.

    I have owned several 5 strings, I love them dearly and could not go back but the problem with them is their the setup. Violin makers don't have enough experience with them, but will never aknowledge this and talk like they know it all.

    The extra weight of the extra string can be taken care of by using a raised sattle.

    It is important that the spacing between strings is not the same, or rather, it can be the same as long as you don't mesure from the core of the string but from the edge. Violin makers have nightmares about this, but the 5th string is simply 6 mm wider than the 1st , and it vibrates much wider . You have enough spacing problems on a 5 string to be concerned about how well a violin maker sleeps.
    Fingerboard planing is the other issue. Typically they will not have enough clearance for the 5th string to swing freely, while the middle strings are so high you can't hold a note for 5 seconds. If you are getting a new fingerboard, leave a lot of wood on the side of the G string (on my bass 15mm) while the B string side can have as little as 4 mm. Violin makers want a symetrical setup but the problem with this is that then the bridge is tilted towards the G string to allow for clearance on the B string.
    It's my experience that thomastik spirocore and D'addario make good 5 strings. :)
    gnypp45 likes this.
  2. Hi Rodrigo, from a fellow JISO player!

    I have my "monster" 5-string, and I ended up having it restored by the Bass Cellar in Cincinnati. They did a great job of the restoration, and the set up is pretty darn good too... they have their standard set-up, but left an extra eighth-inch from string-edge to string-edge for the AtoE and the EtoB

    After trying a lot of low tension strings I came to find that Helicores and Pirastro "Originals" work great with their higher tensions... I'm just confirming your observations, I guess!

    What kinds of five-stringers have you had? Old makers, famous makers, anonymous basses, new 5-stringers, old 5-stringers...?
  3. rodrigo rojas

    rodrigo rojas

    Jul 3, 2002
    Dear K Man!

    What a surprise, I have a lot of nice memories from JISO. I wish we could meet there again.

    Unfortunately I haven't had any expensive 5 stringers, or famous as you say. I have always had 13000$ basses, highly professional but not really historic material.

    My latest: I tried the wires that replace the tailpiece, great improvement!! (like Albert Laszlo). Unfortunately it doesn't look so great, but to make it more presentable I used knots instead of the metal things that hold the wires. I also painted the wires with a copper colored car paint.

    Did you actually buy that monster bass from Dayton??
  4. I bought the Monster Bass... from Mr. Dan Swaim, professor out at Arizona. Before that, Nat Gangursky owned the bass, out in LA.
    It's super old. Stories say that when it was sold to a previous owner it was represented as a "Stainer" (or Steiner). It certainly has the shape and wood to be from about 1680, but there are no papers on it or anything.

    I eventually came around to Helicores and "originals" on this bass, you're right about the string tensions! I have not tried the wires for the tailpiece, sounds like I should try that next!

    Oy, Rodrigo, did you know that I met my *wife* at JISO? :)
  5. rodrigo rojas

    rodrigo rojas

    Jul 3, 2002
    Wow, you guys are married !! my most sicere congratulations !!

    actually I also got married a year and a half ago to a korean violinist. I am very happily married.

    my email is rojasrod@hotmail.com, send me your phone # and I'll give you a buzz.
  6. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Are we still talking about basses, and is it legal to marry a double bass in Kentucky?