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Bunny Brunel and Stanley Clarke Bridge Adusters

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by BassGuirl, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. BassGuirl


    Jan 3, 2003
    Hi all,

    This is my first time in this room. I'm excited! I have a question. I was thinking about getting bridge adjusters to lower my strings as close to the neck as a bass guitar. Can anyone back me up on this? Is this a bad idea?

    I'm assuming that both Bunny and Stanley play like this, so that's why I'm doing it. Of course, their basses are like $50,000 dollars, and mine is about 1/50 the price. I'm worried. What should I do?

    I love all of Stanley and Bunny's techniques. They are just so unique. That is why I would love to try them, but my strings are too high. I was assuming they lowered their strings, but uhh... anyone know how low? I heard that Bunny lowers them as low as a bass guitar. I would not be surprised. The guy wears lee press on nails to avoid blisters. I love bass players who are able to express themselves and be comfortable at the same time:)


  2. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    You've landed in a great spot!

    One of the repeated themes for newly-landed folk is, "Check those Newbie Links that Brother Durrl has set up." They have a wealth of information. If you scope the "Setup" index, which is http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=43376 you'll find threads about "lowering action" "volume" "volume" and the like.

    I share your enthusiasm for Stanley Clarke's DB playing. I'm not so sure his action was extremely low -- if you listen to Chick's Light as a Feather, Armando's Rhumba off My Spanish Heart or Stan's first solo album, Children of Forever, you'll hear that he's digging in pretty hard and can obviously get a solid acoustic sound.
  3. There definitely seems to be a tradeoff regarding string height and sound. Usually, the closer your strings are to the fingerboard, the less sound you'll get from the bass. Of course, if you're playing amplified, this may not be a concern for you.

    Some things to think about: With your strings that low, the fingerboard is going to have to be painstakingly dressed to avoid buzzes and so forth. Also, arco may be tough to do without a lot of buzzing and rattles.
  4. I remember an interview with Anthony Jackson, where he stated that he once played Stanleys bass, and Stanley said to him that he should play upright, whereupon he replied, "if I could find a bass with action as low as this, I probably would".
    This exchange apparently ocurred in the '70s.
  5. BassGuirl


    Jan 3, 2003
    Hello all,

    Thanks for the replies. I still don't know what to do yet, but I think I'll figure it out on the way. I'm just so enamored by Stanley's techniques because of the limitations the instrument has. I mean, he uses techniques to where it blends perfectly without stepping out of bounds.

    To be honest, I never thought of him as an upright guy, but when I saw him it was like night and day. He seemed more in control and as a result came out with some awesome phrasing that I never would imagine him playing on bass guitar. I couldn't believe it.

    I guess it's just because of his big hands? The instrument is just his size:)


  6. If you want to get a really low action, then you shouldn't put the lightest strings on your bass (as you asked in the Strings forum).
    Very low action coupled with very low tension strings will likely give you lots of rattles, buzzes and no volume.
  7. MacDaddy


    Jan 26, 2002
    Provo, UT, USA
    If you want super low action, take your bass to a professional luthier shop and have them setup the bass for you. Adjusters are only good if you live in a very changing climate with humidity and what not where the height of the strings will change considerably. This way you can adjust the height back to where you like it without a big adjustment bridge wise. You can also just have you bridge sanded down to the right height at the shop, although you won't be able to adjust if something goes wrong.