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C extensions

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by mpm, Jan 2, 2004.

  1. mpm


    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Ok, just an update...I've been playing around with both the Fawcett and the Stenholm, and I think they have, what would be judiously put as "interesting," components. I'll probably use a few of the aspects of each, but I really have to change the spring system(s), the "stop system, the "fingering system," and the the "lock system." Also, I can probably reduce the weight somewhat. We'll see....sure could use more input, what is important about this system of playing below low E, fingered, anyway, huh????
  2. mpm


    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    oops, I meant "keyed", anyway ????
  3. Feeling somewhat responsible for some of the answers....since I carefully Christmas wraped the extension and sent it to you,....but on the other hand, being a five string player and not needing one of these pieces of **** I can't help you too much Mike.
    I know some pretty important composers wrote some things that went way down there. Until they came up with the mechanical extensions, this problem was taken care of by five stringers and/or players just de-tuning.
    The fingered extensions are pretty good, because you have the ability to use vibrato and some color by moving the fingers around.
    In the world of jazz, Rufus Reid and Ron Carter come to mind as two people who have been fairly successfull using the fingered ones. But, really only on slower or ballad type stuff. I've never heard anyone that was able to actually walk a line on one.
    On the mechanical ones, forget it! No vibrato, no color, and every time you knock them down to C or whatever, you can hear an audible BANG! To make matters really weird, the notes are backwards! At least this is what i've heard...RIGHT?
    Anyway, on my fiver, obviously, I can do anything a four stringer can do on my B. I think, if I were a classical player, I would buy a fiver just for these situations!
    I'm sure if you search by topic, you'll get all the info. you could want.
    I'm hoping some players with mechanical and fingered extensions will chime in and give you more info. than I can.
    But Mike, I thought you'd have a completely new machine all done up and ready for us to buy by now? What's wrong with you? You could make a whole lot of money on this...C'mon, les go!!!
  4. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Well, unlike Paul, I have seen a jazz player walk 'down there' using a mechanical extension. Lynn Seaton uses one on his Juzek, and it sounds awesome when he does! (I don't recall hearing a 'bang' either) True, he doesn't use it very often, preferring to 'lock down' a low note (like a capoed extension), but when I heard him walk like that - wow!

    Paul, as an aside, would you really use vibrato on a walking line? Seems odd to me...
  5. Pacman - I may be wrong, but I think you misread what Paul was saying. I believe that he was referring to fingered C extensions when he mention not being able to walk a line wiht it. This is accurate since you have to move you hand off of the neck handle to finger the notes on the extension in the scroll area. I've tried it a few times and found that I'm not that quick. Paul was referring to the mechanical extension when he said you can't do vibrato on it. This is also true. However, Paul did not say anything about doing both lines and vibrato on the same type of extension at the same time. Atleast that is the way I read it.
  6. Ron Carter uses a fingered "C" extension - believe me it is pretty impressive to hear him go down below "E" without the slightest pause or "clunk" - very smooth and adds great depth (literally) to the sound.

    - Wil

    BTW I recently added some more pics of the Ceruti with the Stenholm to Volker's web-site - Ceruti (click on "detailed views")
  7. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification

    I think you're right, Bob. Mea Culpa
  8. mpm


    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I checked out the Ceruti pictures and noticed that the Stenholm pictured has a "new, improved" mount for the keys, I must have an older version as the keys and their mount are really more problematic to install compared to the one in the pictures. I see in this model they put springs under the keys, instead of the "cat whisker" springs like mine, well, ours (thanks again Paul) has. Thanks Pacman, I needed that. Still prefer the Fawcett but it also has some design glitches that need to be worked out. I have the Fawcett mounted to a spare neck and the Stenholm is mounted to a lovely 2 by 4. I'll post a link to the pictures after I do a little forensic pathology. Igor, to the dungeon, now!
  9. By the way, that's "Eye-gore", actually ;)

    - Wil
  10. Jeff Bollbach

    Jeff Bollbach Jeff Bollbach Luthier, Inc.

    Dec 12, 2001
    freeport, ny
    I can help you with that hump, you know.
  11. What hump?
  12. I seem to not be doing very well making myself clear....You didn't hear a clank because Lynn had set the machine before the tune! I was talking about three to five guys in a section knocking down machines in the middle of a piece!!
    AND Wil, of course there's no chunk because you're talking about Rons FINGERED extension. I've never said fingered extensions made noise!
    Bob, thanks for trying to explain what I was saying....Let me the hell out of here!!!
  13. Brent Nussey

    Brent Nussey

    Jun 27, 2001
    Tokyo, Japan
    Hi, Mike.

    I used a Fawcett extension for about 2-3 years before having it removed. On my bass, the low notes were really there, and I loved them. My experience:

    -I really liked the E stop release mechanism, I could quickly and easily release and lock the E with my thumb, while in the middle of playing.
    -It buzzed and rattled, especially pizz, and I had to constantly be tightening up screws and the like.
    -There was one screw, attached to the main E stop, which stuck out pretty far (with a spring attached), and I was always worried that I would put my eye out someday.
    -The greatest problem was that when the E was locked down, the E key also went down, and was in the way if I wanted to play low F# on the E string. That was a *real* drag.
    -The rubbery material that held down the string got a good sound arco, but not pizz. Not really holding it down as solidly as my fingers on a fingerboard. And the rubber thing on the E stop eventually wore down/got compressed, and wouldn't stop the note anymore. So I rotated it, which solved the problem temporarily, but what would I have done when that side wore out?
    -Also, on mine, the person who installed it did not make the nut area adjustable, so the low C was always a little out of tune. Nothing to do with the mechanical part of the extension itself, but important nonetheless.

    Last but not least, when I had it removed the sound of my bass evened out and improved, overall. The person who took care of my bass during those years, Lou DiLeone, showed me a couple of messed up scrolls that had been twisted by C-extensions, and said if I didn't need one, I was probably just as well off without it.

    I also tried out friend's Horst extensions, and really didn't like them. The keys felt less natural in my hand, and I couldn't really get used to the backwards thing (although the other guys said they did with time..)

    I think the main advantage of the mechanical over the fingered is that you can move faster, if the notes down there will speak fast enough on a given bass.

    Good luck with your project.

  14. I didn't think I said that you did... What I should have pointed out was that RC did have a lever-device-thingy which "capo'd" the E string at E, and he did use it a number of times during his playing, and unless you were watching, you would not realise that he had moved it - i.e. it was silent in its operation and he (RC) was skilled at using the lever-device-thingy...

    Good! I'm so glad to have cleared that up! Now what about this outbreak of BSE in Washington State... Anyone who's a carnivore should take a peek at Richard Rhodes book "Deadly Feasts" - interesting reading!


    - Wil
  15. JC Mags

    JC Mags

    Jan 2, 2002

    hope its not too much to ask, but can you post some detailed pictures of your fingered c-extensions? i need to show some pictures to a local luthier here in the philippines coz he hasn't done a c-extension on a local bass yet. he needs to see what he's working at.

    thanks so much for your help guys. :)

  16. Alright, I have a kolstien mechanical c extension. I had to take it into the shop because it was held on by pressure, and that and to b fixed. Well, other than that i find it great. In low concerto's it proves to b usefull. When mimicking a tuba it is great, when walking low notes below the low c its incredible, when i compose my own stuff i find it great. There is not a boom or a bang or any of this other stuff Paul has been talking about. If you are reading this and thinking of buying a c extension, dont let paul discourage you. Barry kolstien does a great job with them. Some extensions cost around 2,000 dollars, however i got mine for 700 and its super. Just thought i would put that out there
  17. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    To my knowledge, Kolstein does not make what I would call a "mechanical extension" - that is, one with mechanical keys. The only extension Barrie makes has a sliding capo. What appears to be most popular nowadays are either the fingered variety or the those with multiple gates/latches/capos (i.e. often just D or all the notes).
  18. LM Bass

    LM Bass

    Jul 19, 2002
    Vancouver, BC
    I have a Samija fingered C-extension, which I love! Gerard has a background as a machinist, so his elegant brass design works really well. He also made one with brass capos on the semitones, and he is designing something new using a sliding capo that will be interesting.

    I never liked the idea of having backwards, clanky, saxophone keys on my bass, but it works for some players.

    A couple of things I can add:
    The angle that the "open" C string takes can make it harder to stop notes higher up the neck. I had mine adjusted as low as possible, so that the string only rises up a bit over the fingerboard when the capo is open.

    If you do use a fingered extension, a classical guitar capo will often work for a low "D" stop. I keep one in my case, and it came in handy last week when I was playing a piece by the Canadian composer Sir Ernest MacMillan. It had a fast sixteenth note passage that went F# E D in the lowest octave. D capo on =problem solved!
  19. Pete...I am not trying to discourage anyone from buying a FINGERED EXTENSION!!! I was talkining about MECHANICAL HORST TYPE EXTENSIONS.
    I was going to suggest you have your eyes checked so you could show me where I said anything about FINGERED C EXTENSIONS being noisy, but after having checked your profile, I see you're only 20 yrs old and have maybe never seen a Horst machine before.
  20. Adrian, thanks for helping to describe what it is that Pete SEEMS to think he has. I'm getting a little tired of people accusing me of trying to talk people out of Fingered C Extensions. Modern fingered extensions are great.