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Advice needed

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by klem.gote, Apr 30, 2009.


  1. klem.gote

    klem.gote

    Jan 18, 2009
    New England
    Bass Player
    Hello,

    I've only dealt with a couple of luthiers in my life, not sure what to do. Last year I had a new bridge and sound post put on, a little fingerboard work, was a luthier in Mass. He did a good job, I was happy when I left. But I think the bass can sound better than it does, though I'm not sure how. Could be as simple as sound post placement or something that's much more work. Here's the deal. The E string booms, rings out, growls nicely, the Bb and C on that string are great. The Bb and C, D etc on the A string sound dead, muted, the pitch isn't really strong like it is on the E string. The D and G strings are mostly O.K., though I feel if I can open up the A string the rest might follow. So, do I take it back to the first guy? I could find another luthier in Mass., maybe another set of eyes and ears would help, or I can drive down to Conn. for that "legendary" setup I've heard so much about. Any advice/input you folks might have would be greatly appreciated, thanks!!
     
  2. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Are you sure it's not the string itself that is the problem? If it's not, then find out who the best people are in your area and get 2 or 3 opinions.
     
  3. kurt ratering

    kurt ratering

    Dec 2, 2008
    waltham, mass.
    bass luthier, johnson string inst.
    what strings are you using? do you play mostly pizz or arco?
     
  4. klem.gote

    klem.gote

    Jan 18, 2009
    New England
    Bass Player
    I probably should have added that. I'm pretty sure it's not the strings. I use Spiros, had Weichs on them when I first got the bass back, then put Mittels on thinking I might get a little more punch, same result. I play primarily pizz. It's just frustrating because I believe it can sound better. I'm working my butt off and sometimes I feel like I'm playing a cardboard box!!!

    Thanks
     
  5. uprightben

    uprightben

    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    A luthier I respect was once asked by a player how to get a certain great sound out of his instrument, and the luthier said "practice". I don't mean to be a jerk about it, but only lazy musicians are ever satisfied by their sound, the rest of us are always looking for ways to improve, and it serves us better to look within for that improvement.

    Enough preaching, you should choose a luthier whose work you respect and you like personally and stick with him/her. Getting the best set up for you and your bass can often take more than one round as the luthier has to get to know you and your bass as the individuals you both are. This can be a real pain, especially if the luthier is far away and expensive, so choose who you use carefully.
     
  6. klem.gote

    klem.gote

    Jan 18, 2009
    New England
    Bass Player
    Well, I appreciate what you're saying. I learned to play on a bad bass, gigged all through high school (LONG time ago!!) with no amplification, and I've never been lazy about practicing or working hard to get a sound. And yes, one problem is that I can't just drive across town to have it worked on. I guess I'm just not sure if I want to try someone new I don't know yet who's 2 hours away or drive to Conn. to a place that has a good rep. Kind of a crap shoot really. But thanks for the input.
     
  7. ctregan

    ctregan

    Jun 25, 2007
    Syracuse N.Y.
    It may be your sound post is too tall.

    At least thats what Chuck Treager says in his book.

    Dull or muted A string = sound post to tight. (Chucks words, not mine).
     
  8. klem.gote

    klem.gote

    Jan 18, 2009
    New England
    Bass Player
    Well, I'd love to think it could be something as easy as that!! And maybe it is. The bass is in pretty good shape over all, it certainly doesn't need a major overhaul. I was thinking sound post, the nut and/or tailpiece maybe, they haven't been touched in at least 35 years or so. I guess that's something I could try pretty easily, see if it helps. Thanks!!
     
  9. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    Now that spring is here, the top of your bass should rise a bit and the post will be looser. Too loose, maybe. See if the sound changes for the better. If so, next year, have a shorter post made for winter. I repeat, find out who the best repair people are, call some symphony players or top jazz players in the area, and take it to one of their recommendations.
     
  10. klem.gote

    klem.gote

    Jan 18, 2009
    New England
    Bass Player
    Well, that was part of my original dilemma. There's no one close. After a lot of research, the closest one I found with some good recommendations is over 2 hours away, he's the one who did the bridge and sound post last year. I thought maybe another perspective might help, either with someone else in Mass. or taking it to Conn., which would be about 4 hours for me.
     
  11. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    Chicago
    You don't say where you are, but sounds like a road trip :bassist: to me.
     
  12. klem.gote

    klem.gote

    Jan 18, 2009
    New England
    Bass Player
    Well, I've lived in a few places in New England (as well as Cal. and FL.), I'm in Maine right now. So for me it's a couple of guys in the Boston area I've heard good things about or it's Mystic Conn. Are you suggesting a road trip to Conn.? I mean, if that's the best road to take, so to speak, I'll do it. I'd just like to think that I'll be able to make the right choice the first time, and have done whatever is needed, and only what's needed, to get some more sound from my beast.
     
  13. kurt ratering

    kurt ratering

    Dec 2, 2008
    waltham, mass.
    bass luthier, johnson string inst.
    i think volker nahrmann is the closest to guy to you, in billerica. im sure he could take care of you.
     
  14. klem.gote

    klem.gote

    Jan 18, 2009
    New England
    Bass Player
    Well, that's a name I'd never heard before. I just checked out his Web site, looks pretty interesting. Also looks like a pretty easy drive, I might just give him a call. Much appreciated, thanks!!!
     
  15. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
  16. klem.gote

    klem.gote

    Jan 18, 2009
    New England
    Bass Player

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