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"boxy" sound?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Pacman, Sep 26, 2002.


  1. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I'm a relative newbie to DB, although I've got a pretty good gig doing it.

    I'm playing an Englehart M1 ply bass with a Realist or BassMax pickup, and lately I've noticed that the sound is sort of "boxy". I'm not sure of another way to describe it. No real richness to the sound. I've also noticed slight imperfections of the way the bridge meets the top of the bass (gaps of .5mm or so). Am I just getting a more critical ear, or does the bridge fit contribute to a less than perfect sound? How can I tell the difference. Should I stop listening to John Patitucci and Christian McBride? Should I shut up and color? Should I seek therapy?

    An unrelated question: I was surfing the net and found a website that sells endpins for Arco and Pizz styles. Is this snake oil? Can one endpin style sound better for a style of playing?

    Thanks for your patience.
     
  2. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    A gap of 5mm in the foot fit is definately not cool. It could have an impact on the tone. In addition, if the bridge is fit so poorly it suggests that there will likely be other areas where the setup is less than ideal.
    I know about those pins and I do believe it to be essence of viper.
     
  3. It's a relative thing, but yes, bridge fit matters. Keep in that you can have bad contact even when you don't see gaps. That's why luthiers are worth the money.
    Hmmmmm...different end pins for arco and pizz ? Is this place in southern California, by any chance? Do they also sell crystals that enhance energy flow? How about a colonic designed to perfect your bow angles?
    I guess you know where I stand, Pac.
     
  4. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    Well, ya see, the endpin density tends to modulate your callous determinability factor. And if your determinability goes, then your demographics are all out of adjustment.
     
  5. That's easy for you to say, Sam, but I submit (that's the way attorneys talk, folks) that your logic is follicular in extremis. Any fool knows tactility is inversely proportional to the saturation rate at 50 degrees C. And mauve crystals DO help.

    Keep your boots on, Pac.
     
  6. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Thanks, guys. I'm bringing my bass to the doctor's tomorrow. I'm going to have a new (adjustable) bridge put on, and get rid of that pesky coat hanger tailpiece cable, too.

    I'm easily the luckiest guy in the world. I've got a gig where they pay me to learn the big bass, even though when I got the gig I couldn't play a note! Not only did they get me a bass exactly like the one I own (to aid in my learning process), but now I play a Lakeberg and Baer for the classical stuff (at which I really suck, but I'm trying!) It would seem that the jazz upright thing has really bitten me, though, and it's so cool that I've got a gig that encourages me to learn this stuff.

    'preciate the help.....
     
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I have heard people talk of the length of the endpin still inside the bass dampening the sound, and some people insist that heavy materials decrease the amount of vibrations possible by the wood of the bass. But I've never heard of a different pin for arco or pizz.

    And contrary to what DONOSAURUS MAXIMUS claims, I've heard that mauve crystals clog the receptor antennae of the conjunct psychic fertlebinder, causing a loss of perceived high frequencies when amplified. But I should add as a courtesy to IRONSAM (who no doubt would have had to remind others of this) that this information is strictly heresay, and is therefore inadmissible.
     
  8. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    Double talk

    Double talk
     
  9. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Debates, discussions
    These are words with a D this time
    Dialog, duologue, diatribe,
    Dissention, declamation
     
  10. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    You guys are all loco...Take the Engelhardt to the furniture stripper and get the ten pounds of polyester off it!
     
  11. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    This is a hobby of Steve Gilmore's.
     
  12. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Would removing the finish make a difference?
     
  13. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    According to Steve, the difference is huge. When I talked to him, in the mid-80's, he was playing exclusively his handiwork and getting a great sound.
     
  14. mje

    mje

    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    Yeah, but the fluxions can defenestrate the globular binding tension unless you put some goose grease on it.
     
  15. I glued two crystals to my end pin and I must say the tone is much clearer.
    It may have been because I was using the crystals as ear plugs to help my intonation.

    YMMV



    In all honesty the best things I did to improve the tone of my ES9 was to replace the week, tiny end pin and the tailpiece cable.
    Also removing the inch of poly on the back of the neck improve playability.


    Calm down Adrian.
     
  16. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I did that first thing (the poly on the neck), and the tailpiece cable goes tomorrow, when the bass goes for the new bridge. I'm going to ask about refinishing, too. Where'd I put that turpentine......
     
  17. Perhaps Stanley Turpentine stole it....?

    R2
     
  18. jugband

    jugband

    Jan 16, 2001
    Your "boxy" sound may be due to a poor fit of the pickup under the bridge-wing. BassMax, and other wing pickups will deliver a different sound as they are moved around to different positions under the bridge wing.

    If your bass sounded good, and THEN got "boxy", the pickup may have shifted due to tugs on the connecting wire when putting it in the case, or un-plugging, or whatever. Experiment with rotating and moving it around under the bridge wing.

    Also, wing pickups are notorious for producing different sound if the slot it's inserted into is too tight, or especially if it's too loose. If it's too tight, where the pickup has to be forced in, you can crush the piezo element. Then it sounds REALLY different! :rolleyes:

    The space under the bridge foot shouldn't be very significant to the sound of the pickup, but it it's enough for you to see at all, you should have it fitted by a luthier.

    The feet are what transmit the string vibrations to the top of the bass, and you lose volume and clarity with a bad fit. You want to get absolutely as much surface contact as possible between the feet and the top of the bass.

    Also you'll have more trouble keeping the bridge in place when re-stringing your bass if the feet don't fit well, and the bridge may tend to slide around between the F-holes pretty easily even while fully-tuned.

    You can fit the feet yourself, if you're very careful and very patient. Put a sheet of sandpaper down on the top of the bass, where the feet go, and move the bridge back and forth on the sandpaper, to sand the bottoms of the feet while using the face of the bass as the contour-guide. I don't remember for sure, but I think 40-grit is a good sandpaper to use.

    You just have to be careful that you move the feet always in the same place, in a straight line, headed back and forth between the fingerboard and the tailpiece. They won't match the contour of the face-swell, otherwise.
     
  19. I've also noticed slight imperfections of the way the bridge meets the top of the bass (gaps of .5mm or so).

    I would wonder the cause of this. Something has moved if the Bridge was fit to begin with....Bass bar maybe???

    Dave

    If the world didn`t suck we would all fall off.....
     
  20. Re: wing pickups. I use a saxophone reed to adjust the tightness of the fit. They are strong, start very thin, and taper to thick. And I don't have to listen to the sax do 37 choruses of Cherokee.