A couple of questions regarding my Stagg EDB

Discussion in 'Electric Upright Basses (EUB's) [DB]' started by Sourtulip, Feb 19, 2017.

  1. Sourtulip


    Jun 30, 2012

    I bought this bass about 3 years ago but never got around to use it.
    Recently I decided that I wanted to give double bass another shot but a few problems soon came to my attention.

    The first one is that the G string seems to have a very low action compared to the other strings. Now, this might just be how a double bass is supposed to be because this is the first one that I've ever seen or played but it just seems very close to the fretboard to me, at least compared to the other strings.


    How does this look to you? Normal or problematic?

    While being a complete beginner to double bass, I feel confident enough to make the statement that the two factors involved with string action, at least on this particular EDB is bridge height and how the nut was cut. Right? If so, the bridge height can be adjusted but that would raise all of the strings. If the nut was cut too deep, is there anyway to fix this without getting the nut replaced. I know that it's hard to tell from these pictures but does the nut seem to be cut too deep for the G string?

    Heres a picture of the bridge. As can be seen, there is a pretty steep curve going from the resting point of the D string to that of the G string. I've looked at pictures online and found that this seems to be the norm, although the curve on mine does seem to be on the steep side of the spectrum. Again, does this look alright to you?


    While the above mentioned stuff might just be about me not knowing how a double bass is supposed to be like, the following is something I'm pretty sure is an obvious problem to all.
    One of the tuning heads are coming out of the headstock!



    What to do about this?

    Thanks for reading my post, I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys/gals has to say.

    EDIT: It might be worth adding that while this bass is new (has been played about 3 hours all in all) the warranty is no longer active.
  2. Almosr none of the cheap EUBs is setup in a playable condition as delivered.
    The Stagg is no exception.
    Read the Stagg EUB megathread(s). It will take a while but it will ven answer questions that you haven't formulated yet. Yo will also find pointers to modifications that make your instrument better.

    The nut of the Stagg is problematic, because it is made from hard plastic that can break easily by shock. Usually I is also too high. I recommend a replacement made out of hard wood. I also have made one out of wood/resin composite that doesn't break. The height at the nut is the same for all strings, about one to two business card cardboard thickness.
    The bridge is a problem, because the lower strings need to be higher than the higher ones. But the bridge is made for equal height and coated with black epoxy. Either make a new bridge or carefully file the grooves for the higher strings down, so you would be able to get 6-7-8-9 mm height when the adjuster screws have the same height on both sides. The epoxy might break off and show the wood below, maybe you need to remove the whole epoxy, but be warned, that it might be difficult to completely remove it, it might stick as a kind of paint at some places.

    Also put a piece of foam at the lower part of the underlength for damping.

    Put better/longer/larger screws to fix your tuning machine.
    If you have the old weaker headstock ("cheeks" not more than 1 cm thick), be careful not to apply shock to the sides, since that can easily break the headstock and kill your neck. You might want to screw a floor plate behind the headstock to reduce the risk of breakage (but use enough screws to distribute the shock force).
    Also have a look at the setup and repair forum for neck scoop or camber. Your fingerboard part of the neck might need planing if your strings rattle at some fingered places and not around the rattling locations. Not nice to do on your epoxy covered neck, the rosewood fingerboards are nicer to reshape, but that's not a task for a beginner, since you can easily ruin your fingerboard if you do it wrong.

    Fix your tuner first and then read the megathread and come back if you still have questions.
    Sourtulip likes this.
  3. Forget what I said about your tuner and headstock, had problem seeing some of the picture because of a lame data connection.

    You have the new headstock that is more robust. The tuners are Fender-style bass guitar tuners. Put the string down, remove the screws that hold the tuner and remove it and you will see that you only have to press that part to the headstock. You can probably do this even without removing the tuner, but it is easier to apply pressure without the tuner in place.

    The 6 to 9 mm distances are from the underside of the string to the fingerboard at the very end of the fingerboard.
    Sourtulip likes this.
  4. Sourtulip


    Jun 30, 2012
    Thank you for replying.

    I've found the Stagg megathread that you've mentioned and I've read through half of the thread now and learned some new things about my instrument so thanks for bringing that thread to my attention.

    You stated that the space from the bottom of the strings to the fretboard should be about the width of 1-2 credit cards when measured at the nut and that this free space should be the same for all four strings. This fits perfectly with my previous assumption that the nut might have been cut too deep for the G string because there is almost no space at all. Like, cut the nut 1-2 mm deeper for the G string and it will touch the fretboard! The other strings however, has the opposite problem, as they seem to be too high (I would say that the free space is about the width of 2 1/2 creditcards).

    I've played around with the action at the bridge as it was very high from the store. I started out by trying a low action, going for the 6 mm you mentioned (measured from the bottom of the string to the fretboard, at the "normal picking/plucking point" of the fretboard).
    The result was that it felt much better to play but sound wise it was unplayable as the g string would have major buzz at all notes. I've tried lots of different combinations and the best I could do is about 9 mm at the E string but quite a bit higher at the g strings side of the bridge. I know that this isn't right (both sides should be about the same height right?), but trying to compensate for an unknown problem. I still have a lot of buzz but limited to the B,C,C# on the G string. I tried loosening the truss rod, no difference.
  5. Not credit cards that are made of plastic but cardboard (thick paper) like the cards you get for an address of a business guy. That's a lot less than two plastic credit cards. The nut on my Staggs have been much too high when I got them.

    A lot of Stagg necks are more or less straight. The designers don't know about double bases and build them like a bass guitar, but with the thick neck the trussrod does not work at all. Double bass fingerboards have a camber to let the strings vibrate without buzzing. It's somewhere between the heel (fifth) and the octave, probably much closer to the neck heel than the octave. Have a look at the double bass setup and repair forum for a better answer from a luthier.
    Press down the string at the nut and the end of the fingerboard. There should be some space of 1 to 2 mm at the neck heel. If there is no space or the string touches that place before both ends were pressed down completely, the neck needs planing with shaping in a camber. If that is not made well some notes will sound nice and other buzz like hell. Also the epoxy finish might need to get off.
    That's the reason why I recommend the rosewood version of the Stagg if there is not enough money for a much better instrument.

    Since you can not return the instrument, you need either live with it, pay a luthier almost as much as the Stagg has cost (if you are lucky half of it) for the shaping of the fingerboard of try to do it yourself with the risk of ruining it.
    Well, you can also order a new neck for your Stagg if you ruined yours, but it costs some money. At least you can send it back if it doesn't have a camber since you get it new.

    If you don't want to change your fingerboard/neck, you might want to get lower tension strings with a synthetic core (for easier press down) and set your bridge higher to avoid excessive buzzing, but a good set costs at least 150 to 200. But you need to change the strings anyway, at least if you get black fingers after half an hour of playing.
  6. Ortsom

    Ortsom Inactive

    Mar 23, 2016
    The ferrule has to be flush with the headstock cheek. It supports the far end of the peg, without that support you risk damaging the tuner. Take off the string & tuner, take out the ferrule to inspect the inside of the hole. In the unlikely case that it's required, fill-up the damaged bit, but do not glue the ferrule in place (it may have to come out in the future). Press in the ferrule flush, with a suitable tool & without damaging the headstock or ferrule; mount tuner & string. You can press the ferrule with a standard glue clamp (and a small block of wood to protect the cheek), or with a suitable bolt & nut & suitable rings on either side. The latter can be very accurate, but don't press too hard, it's only wood.

    Business card, not credit card. A business card is typically 0.25mm thick, I guess 0.35mm is a suitable value to aim at (for string height at the nut). I've never done anything other than eyeball it, but one could use a feeler gauge. On the pic it's difficult to see, but the G could be a bit tight.

    Bridge curvature & FB curvature should match, taking earlier given heights at the end of the FB into account. In this case, if required, adapt the bridge curvature to match the FB.

    If string heights are suitable at both nut & bridge end (try 7 to 10mm, G to E), and the strings still buzz, you may need FB work. Or indeed go a bit higher, with lighter/softer strings.
  7. Sourtulip


    Jun 30, 2012
    Ah okay, I see. In that case, the nut on my Stagg is definately not cut deep enough. I've decided to live with it for now and see if I'm able to stick with DB this time around. If so, I'll buy another EDB when the time comes and make sure that everything is okay with it before deciding to keep it.

    Thanks for the tips Ortsom, I'll look into fixing that tuner soon.