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Bent neck and/or fingerboard

Discussion in 'Ask Patrick Neher [Archive]' started by jimconklin, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. jimconklin


    Aug 24, 2011
    I am new to the double bass. I bought a used one recently and learned that some bassists were using strings tuned in fifths. I bought a set and installed them. The strings seemed too high for bowing and I cut down the bridge. As I brought the strings up to pitch I heard creaks and cracks. The strings now were higher over the fingerboard than when I had measured to cut the bridge. When I laid a straight edge along the fingerboard I saw there was quite a gap where the neck joins the body. I loosened the strings and removed the bridge. When I put the straight edge along the fingerboard a few hours later I saw that the fingerboard was fairly straight again but there was a noticeable upward curvature in the lower couple of inches. I wonder if the cracking noises I heard indicate glued joints coming undone somewhere in the interior, say at the neck, and whether I will have to install strings with softer (gut?) interiors for lower tension at pitch.
  2. PNeher


    Mar 31, 2005
    Bellingham, WA
    Yes, the neck is coming out of its mortise. Get the bass to a repair person (luthier) IMMEDIATELY! Lower tension strings will help but only temporarily.

    Bass strings are rarely sold to be tuned (as a normal set) in fifths! You can use a solo string on top (A), then a regular orchestral D 2nd, then tune a regular A down to G, then get a long E string (for extensions) for low C. This is one-octave below cello. It takes a bit to get used to but, yes, many players are doing this tuning now.

    Best of luck!

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