Alexi's quirky Christopher 5-string

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Alexi David, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    Hi everybody. I'm gonna need mucho help with my bass, a lot of questions, which I will try to keep under this thread only as to not clutter the forum.

    I am being assisted by a fine cello luthier...who does not really know basses. Problem is, there are no Bass luthiers in the country of Cyprus, and I can not afford to ship the instrument to Italy or some place like that. So!---

    He adjusted the nut height for me - um, but the g string can handle 2-3 business cards so it has to be redone - what is a standard measurement for a 5-string nut height - this is for a medium action/low tension jazz setup, with Jargar Dolces. Also, the fingerboard has not been planed, as I don't know if this cello luthier would know how to do it correctly - he is doing everything by the "book", as he is not specialized in basses. For cracks and work like that he is great, but I dunno about setup work.

    Anyway - for the nut any suggestions? Thanks
  2. Just until we get one of our luthiers on this, I'll try to respond...I'm a 5 string jazz player. I don't have any measurements...I pretty much have stayed with the business card deal. My action is pretty much, nut wise, as low as I can get it without the strings buzzing at the nut. Just go as slow as possible and KEEP checking with the bow and pizz for buzzing. It's the old shorten the chair legs syndrome. Once you've gone too far...get out a new nut. Be sure to get a top quality rat tail file, small!
    Good luck
  3. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    Hi Paul - I'd still prefer to have the luthier do it - as long as I can give him some proper measurements. I have to guide him a bit since he only knows from orchestral setups anyway, and I have a Jazz setup

    P.S. I Love your 5-string bass!
  4. Joe Taylor

    Joe Taylor

    Dec 20, 2001
    Tracy CA
    Measurements will not work because each bass is a case of it's own. The Bass has never been standardized.

    Do like the guy above said file and play. I would be more worried about the bridge setup and sound post than the nut.

  5. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    OK, the local cello luthier completely botched my bridge. If I adjust the G string to say, 4mm, the Low-B (5-string) is like 1 1/2 inches high! And some work to the nut resulted in some nice massive buzzes on the E string and some other places. Then I was told that the fingerboard needs to be reliefed to fix all this. Hmm, I just took it in to change the G string angle for bowing , that's all.

    Anyway.....I need to get a new bridge and I have to (if possible) install it myself. I was thinking that maybe a Pecanic bridge might be easier to install, since only the feet have to be fitted to the top. Anyone have another idea? Should I make my foray into bridge cutting, or is it way out of my league as a non-luthier?

    My God, I gotta leave this bass luthiers here...Jeff, 'bout comin' ere for Xmas? We have nice souvlaki and bouzoukis here!

    Regards Alexi

    P.S. Is everyone sure there are no Bass Luthiers in nearby Greece? or in the Arabic countries (Syria, Lebanon, etc.)
  6. Mingus, do you have adjusters on your existing bridge?
    I think you ought to PM Mike Pecanic and tell him your problem. If you don't have an adjustable bridge, that might be the first thing to consider. I don't want to jinx business for Mike, but there is a bridge available that automatically adjusts to the arching on the top of the bass. Whether you can fit adjusters in addition to the feet being all set and ready to go, I don't know.
    That's about it for me....PM our luthiers and see what they can offer.
    It must be frustrating to be in your position. Aren't there any symphony orchestras in Cyprus?
  7. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    Hi Paul, nice to hear from you. Hmm, yeah, those aubert self-adjusting bridges - but the feet aould still have to be shaped right? hmm...yes, I do have adjusters, but the "luthier" cut off so much of the top of the bridge that when I crank the adjusters to my normal height, the bridge starts to tip - there is a bout 3/4" of thread showing. Naturally, the guy didn't know a thing about adjusters.

    Yes there are two symphony players here. One is teaching me (belatedly - I'm 26!) arco. Unfortunately, he's not very technically minded - I know a lot more about bass setups than he does. And he travels to other countries with his bass, so he gets stuff done there sometimes. For Example, his flatback cracked and he's gonna fly with it to England. Unfortunately, I can not afford such a thing.

    I will wait for more responses...see what's the word.
  8. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Mingus--I bet what happened is this--the luthier took the nut way down, but the fingerboard probably ran down at the nut end, and this caused the now low nut to buzz. many basses come from the factory with mis-shapen fb's which go down instead of slightly up at the nut. I always check this with a small straightedge before doing any nut lowering. My advice is to take a trip to Italy and see Luciano Bini in Cremona. BTW, if your bridge adjusters are sticking out that far, disaster lurks! If you decide to try to fit a new bridge yourself, first make sure it is centered and it is the correct width for the bass.
  9. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    Hi Arnold nice to finally meet you! Yes, that is EXACTLY what happened - since the bass was never properly setup (fb) in the first place. He checked it AFTER. and showed me where it needs relief - not TOO bad he says, but it needs work def.

    Unfortunately, I'm curing symptoms, not the roots of the problems, because it needs a proper service/setup/etc/etc. in this first place. I was just hoping to minimize the symptoms until it gets back to NYC (which might not be for another 6 months).

    As for the adjusters, I actually fitted some pieces of wood alongside the threads to keep the top of the bridge from tilting. It's secure (Ahhhhhhh....)

    I think I will max out my credit card and head to Italy - my bass is worth it. OK, I will contact Mr. Bini and see if he can help me. Maybe I can get a cheap ticket by boat, and boats are not too finicky (to my knowledge) about bringing something like a bass onboard.

    In the meantime, any other advice would be appreciated. Thanks again, everyone, I appreciate this very much.
  10. Alexi David

    Alexi David

    May 15, 2003
    Hi All! still in Cyprus! Still kinda broke! But I am ordering a bridge from MPM! In the meantime, I switched to guts (Golden Kaplans) and I need to know-------what is the most I can open up the adjusters? How much thread can be showing without compromising the integrity of the bridge? I would like to crank up the action