C-Extension users: flabby string feel?

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by jar240, Apr 25, 2005.

  1. jar240

    jar240 Supporting Member

    After having a C extension installed on a bass you've been playing on for some time, do you find the E(C) string feels/behaves differently with the E gate closed than before?

    Secondly, I play a fair amount of Manouche/Tzigan/Klezmer and tend to slap a lot at these gigs. Will this wear out the gate or any other part of the extension? I'd really like to be able to get down to a low C for other styles of music I play. Do you think getting a C-extension in my case is a good or bad idea?

    BTW, this will be on a New Standard Cleveland.

    Chris Breitner
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Supporting Member

    May 21, 2004
    Toronto, ON
    I used to play an old Czech flatback with an extension. I wasn't real happy with the sound, so this past fall I replaced it.

    I bought an old Hungarian bass, and had an extension put on right away. While the arco tone seemed unaltered, the low string lost lots of it's punch and clarity in the E to G range when pizzed. The extension wasn't done by a luthier I know, but rather by the shop that sold me the bass, and the work the did looked a little hurried, so that may have something to do with it.

    That bass turned out to be too big for me, so I returned it. On my current bass, I decided not to have an extension installed. I really do miss the low notes, but I'm scared of the possibility of losing tone. I look forward to what the luthiers here have to say on this.
  3. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    It's important when an extension is fitted that the shelf where the extension meets the fingerboard be minimal; perhaps 1/4 mm or about 1/64". If the shelf is high, it feels just like having a too-high nut when the E latch is closed. The low area of the E string will feel tight and get a dead tone. Also, a buzzing will occur when playing from E to A or so on the E string with the latch open. I think that could possibly explain the problem Brian described above. Some extension makers shave the transition shelf flush with the fingerboard, and it works fine. I leave a little bit to counteract the tendency for the latch to wear down the ebony there.
  4. I installed a KC Strings extension on my 2003 Solano Klotz and find that, with the E latch tightly set, I experience little to no difference in tone, pizz or arco, from pre-extension. I have had the extension for about 6 mos now and find the rewards of the low notes far outweigh any of the negative effects it may produce (none that I've noticed besides the extra weight).
  5. jar240

    jar240 Supporting Member

    Thanks for your replies, everyone. I spoke to Arnold this morning. He told me that the New Standard Clevelands have a 4+ month lead time, so I have time to get more opinions and think about it a bit more.