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C Extensions [Split from "QUALITY" thread]

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by KSB - Ken Smith, Mar 7, 2006.


  1. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Ok, I'm back.. By the way, before I start let me mention that I met Steve at Namm and walked around looking at Basses before the opening of the Show one morning and had some fun. We had met a long time ago when he was with the Santa Cruz Guitar co. but only briefly. When he introduced himself at Namm, I realized we had known each other before TB.

    Ok, Extensions.. I have had 4 of them so far. A long time ago I had a Mechanical Ext. and for the short while I had it and used it, it was not bad. I hate screwing into the neck and cutting into the Scroll but that was in the old days for me and that's how they did it. After I was in a car accident, the Ext. war damaged and replaced with a Fingered one with an 'E' latch only. I sold that Bass in 1975 or so.

    Recently I had a Fingered one put on my Morelli by Arnold Schnitzer and later a Chromatic one installed on my Martini. I sold the Morelli for restoration money and I have asked Arnold to put another one on my Prescott at the end of it's restoration. I like his Chromatic Ext. job.

    I have heard praise about others as well that make good extensions but it's always best to stay local when you can. I have heard good reports about Bill Merchant, Jeff Bollbach and Robertson & Sons as well.

    Currently, from where I live and the roads around me Arnold is the easiest to get to. It's a nice ride with ZERO traffic and nice scenery. If I were closer to Jeff, I would get him to do the work. If I was out west near New Mexico, I would probably go to Robertsons.

    It's also good to have a luthier that understands your needs and not just a quick fix attitude. Personal attention and care for YOUR Bass is very important.

    Here's the two Bass I had Arnold put the Extensions on. You may ask me any questions you like about how they work for various things.

    Morelli; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MorelliBass/MorelliBass.htm
    Martini; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/martini_bass_2.htm
     
  2. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Ken, I wasn't a fan of the ebony cheeks you put on that bass but with the extension, it looks ab-fab! :cool:
     
  4. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Thx, but if you saw what I saw, and you will, you might have had a different view on the idea.

    Here is the Bass before I made the cheeks; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/174.jpg
    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/175.jpg
    http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/173.jpg

    What ever the old tuners were before these Rubners, they plugged the cheeks with 1 1/4" end-grain Pine and stained it. End grain will never match anything and Pine will never match the Italian Oppio (Maple). The Cheeks were also on the thin side so first I knocked out the stupid plugs, cleaned out the holes and made some 1 1/4" maple plugs with a dowel cutter and tried to match the grain using hard maple for extra strength. I got a very good fit. Then I was faced with the problem of matching the grain. The plugs were so big and thru & thru that I thought the previous repairer had actually weakened the peg box. How many Italian Basses have we seen with broken peg boxes and scrolls? Too many! So I opted for a structrual and cosmetic repair with dense grained bookmatched Macassar Ebony Plates. I think the Black & Gold is kind of rich looking and matches the Bass well along with the deep red Varnish and pitched Ebony Shim under the fingerboard.
     
  5. DB66

    DB66

    Aug 24, 2005
    Washington, D.C.
    I've always wondered how well a bass extension can hold up over time, given that it extends above the scroll and is prone to being the point of contact for so many things like car interiors, doorways, low ceilings, especially in a soft case.

    mystery solved. If anything this thread has showed me how to be a more educated bass "consumer" using my eyes.
     
  6. Tbeers

    Tbeers

    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    [admin edit] *snip*

    If/when I get an extension it will be made by Arnold (he made the instrument, after all).

    Just out of general curiosity, does anyone have any comments on the KC Strings "sliding" extension? It looks like an interesting alternative.
     
  7. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I believe Julie Vinsant from TB and the Ft.Worth Symphony has one. She installed it herself and also works on Bows.

    You can see her Bass with the Ext. installed here; http://www.thetalkbasses.com/
     
  8. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I am going to Kansas for the asta show TOMORROW, so PM me any questions about the Sliding extension you have and I will be happy to try to get them answered.

    I saw the machines up close at another convention in Texas and they look great, they are pretty into your own lutier installing them, which seems like a good idea, a lot of the installations they had going on were on lower quality basses just so you could get an idea of how they worked.

    My first question is do they have a notch or can you create one so you can feel it click over a certain note. That may be enough to get an extension with stops at every note.
     
  9. Steve Swan

    Steve Swan

    Oct 12, 2004
    Burlingame, California
    Retailer: Shen, Sun, older European
    Some of the keypad-driven fingered extensions that I've seen photographed for various upscale bass emporiums look like the lovechild of a bass saxophone that has had a drunken fling with a doublebass. They look unbelievably cumbersome and delicately complicated, prone to all kinds of adjustment problems. In many cases it also looks like there is extensive drilling, notching, and cutting away of scrolls with this kind of extension. Were these over-engineered extension machines overthinking the problem of getting the extra low notes? Was there a particular time when these mechanical C extensions had their greatest popularity?

    I've seen some doublebass performances on the telly recently where the C extension is reduced to just an E stop lever and an ebony extension of the fingerboard. The players were stopping the notes simply by reaching around the scroll to finger them as they would on the fingerboard. It doesn't look any more difficult than learning thumb postions, really. Has this method become preferred over the Rube Goldberg levered machines? My simple mind is much more attracted to this kind of extension if I were to ever want one.

    Steve Swan
     
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I have recently had both on my Basses to compare side by side. By the way, on the Chromatic, you can also finger it if you have all the Keys open.

    We did the Hyden Trumpet concerto recently and it had Low Eb to regular Eb on the D-string with a bar of eight notes, the first being below the E string. It also had D octave eights in some sections and some long low Ds..

    I set the key as needed and played the octaves on the C-E string and the A string. With a fingered Ext, you would need to finger the Ext. Eb with 1st finger and the upper Eb with the 4th in half position on the D-string. That's not too hard but much harder than locking the Eb without the extra string to cross.

    The Trout has an Octave drop towards the end on C, D and Eb if my memeory is correct. Again, the easiest way to hit all the notes is with the Chromatic Ext. I did it one time with a 5-string Bass and I still prefer the Ext. for that.

    I think the Chromatic Ext. gives you the best of both worlds. Unless you wanna play everything up an octave or play a 5-string DB, the Chromatic gets my vote for the best all around Contra-Bass tool.
     
  11. Kam

    Kam

    Feb 12, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    I'm not a fan of extensions, or 5-strings for that matter. I think I'm destined to read up an octave. The one extension I would consider installing is the Roberton's though. It's comfortable (relatively speaking) and solid, with little alterations to the scroll. The KC Strings is heavy, solid brass!

    The chromatic key extensions are strange and I fear them...too clickety clackity for my taste! Of course, I'm still too young to have finalized any true preference, so who knows.
     
  12. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Another thing that the chromatice extension with levers at every note can do is be used for their harmonic capabilities, i.e. you set it to Eb and have Eb and Bb harmonics etc.

    The nice thing about the KC string extension is that it doesn't affect the scroll at all, you don't even need to drill a whole for the string.
     
  13. Eric Rene Roy

    Eric Rene Roy Supporting Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    Mystic, CT
    President: Upton Bass String Instrument Co.
    Since my post was lost in the move, I want to make sure you know the pictures on our site are in NO way an endorsement of them. Here is the post that was not moved from the "QUALITY" thread:

    My intentions of documenting the troubles I had with this model of ext. were meant to steer bassists AWAY from purchasing any of these left on the market.

    Now, with that said, the Stenholm ext. on our Klos bass works VERY well, despite it's awkward appearance and weight.

    Jeff B, I will get some pics together of the hardware I find the same on different makers extensions. The woodworking aspect of an ext. does not scare me off, I just never wanted to bother with re-inventing the wheel in regards to the metal work. My examination of different luthiers work suggests (at least to me) that there is a know off the shelf hardware piece that will work.
     
  14. basswraith

    basswraith

    Mar 10, 2003
    Boston
    Italian English
    Acero = Maple
    Poppio = Poplar
    You just wrote that Pine will never match the Italian Oppium. :)

    Which is true. Oppium form Italy is way better than pine.
     
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

  16. I'm not Italian, so don't blame me if I get this wrong, but when I type Oppio into my translation widget on my Mac, Oppium comes up, but when I type Acero in Maple tree comes up.

    When I type maple in under English, acero comes up under Italian. So to me it seems that Acero is the Italian name for Maple.

    Of course, like I said, I am not Italian and I am relying on technology to tell me this.
     
  17. Kam

    Kam

    Feb 12, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    Blaming the Mac instead of your opium addiction I see... ;)
     
  18. basswraith

    basswraith

    Mar 10, 2003
    Boston
    Last summer I was in Bruno Steffanini's work shop in Bologna and he explained to me that Acero was maple. I was given the same explanation from Sergio Scaramelli, in his work shop in Ferrara. Oppio is a particular species of maple found in the Appennine Mountains in central Italy. Any way, this thread is about C extensions, so let's get back to the original topic of the thread.

    P.s.
    Purtroppo, io non fumo.
     
  19. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Topic.. The Oppio came up from a comment of the Ebony Plates on my Martini. I explained why I did it and mentioned the wood match. Yes, Acer is the family of Maples but Oppio is the specific type of Maple like in the link I posted above. Dictionaries are not always helpful with technical words within a particular field.

    When adding an Extension, the cosmetics are important to maintain the integrity of the Bass, or at least to me that is important. Beautifying a Bass when altering them is important to many people that don't like things just 'slapped on' to make something work.

    Until I bought my Martini, I had never heard or Oppio. I am glad that I learned something in the process. How much did it have to do with buying the Bass? Nothing,... But off topic is often within the topic if you look hard enough and have an open mind to learn new things.

    By the way, when you find a String instrument from Violin to Bass made with Oppio, one thing is certain. It is Italian! The wood is not sold outside the region from where it grows, or so I have been told.