cutting the endpin? pros, cons?

Discussion in 'Accessories [DB]' started by Papageno, Jan 27, 2022.

  1. Papageno


    Nov 16, 2015
    I play my (carved) bass with a quite short endpin (less than 10 cm out, including rubber stopper). It is the same length for playing standing or sitting. Actually, I never change the endpin position, neither for storing (as it fits on the stand with the endpin out), or for transporting the bass (since it fits in my car with endpin out). It only gets changed if I lend the bass to some other player.

    So there is a significant length of endpin (steel, 8mm diameter) sticking out inside the bass (I guess it may be 15 to 20 cm).

    What is the influence of the inside part of the endpin on the sound of the bass?

    Would it be beneficial to the sound to cut (part of) the end pin, since I don't need the full length?

    Would there be some inconvenient of shortening the endpin (besides making it not possible to lend the bass to a taller player)?

    I would not like making such irreversible modification, if there is any chance that the sound gets degraded.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  2. jsf729

    jsf729 Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2014
    Central Maryland
    My situation is/ was the same. I was experiencing some resonant sounds from inside the bass. I cut down the endpin and it solved the problem. I am short also so if I sell the bass, I'd probably have to get a longer replacement, but steel ones are very inexpensive. Or, you could upgrade to a whole new assembly with carbon fiber shaft which I don't believe has the same negative problems as steel
    Jason Hollar and Papageno like this.
  3. zootsaxes

    zootsaxes Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 6, 2015
    Memphis TN
    The sound can only improve (nominally) from cutting the post, can decrease chance of rattles, but I wouldn’t suggest it. I cut down the carbon fiber one in my main bass and regret it a little. I’m pretty short (5’10”), but have been playing a lot in the high thumb positions and can see why Edgar Meyer raises his bass up so dang high!— my back hurts from leaning over so much! Also, I rented out my American Standard to a giant 6’2” dude the other day and was grateful that I left that endpin in tact.
    Papageno likes this.
  4. The only setback of too long endpin inside the bass I ever heard of is possible hearable rattling when playing. I guess this is not your problem or you'd mention it.

    If it does no bad, I would keep it as it is, for the chance that you are going to learn a piece or technique which would benefit from longer endpin. I know of people that, when playing a solo piece in thumb position, prolong their endpin so that the bowing hand would be closer to bridge than normally.
    Papageno likes this.
  5. That’s not true. An overly long endpin adds mass to the corpus. The more mass, the greater the damping effect, and the less sound the instrument can produce with the same amount of energy from the vibrating strings. That’s just physics.

    Want to test how the sound would change if the pin was dramatically shortened? Remove it.
    Bar Star, Papageno and james condino like this.
  6. Papageno


    Nov 16, 2015
    Thanks for your feedback. Very helpful. I think I shall leave it uncut, following your advice, since I currently don't have any rattling issue.

    I was wondering whether the endpin overlength inside the bass would have an influence on projection, or sustain, or tone...
  7. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Btw, a person could have multiple endpins each at a different length. Like the old-style wooden endpins.
    Papageno likes this.
  8. Mr Ralph

    Mr Ralph Supporting Member

    Jul 12, 2014
    Hinckley Ohio
    I removed the metal rod and saved it intact. I replaced it with a short Wood end pin cut to a specific length for me. I actually have two different lengths that I made. Yes it improved the sound. The wood end pin weighs considerably less than the metal rod. I have also experimented with different wood for the end pin Maple, Oak and Walnut and heard no difference in sound between the different species. I made a short plug for traveling.
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  9. Ryan in PDX

    Ryan in PDX

    Jan 14, 2020
    Here's a thread with a few people talking (positively) about shortening their endpins: endpin length
  10. mjt0229

    mjt0229 Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    I suggest shortening the endpin, if for no other reason than saving weight and minimizing opportunities to rattle.
  11. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    Cut it. The change will be remarkable (I've found). Also - whether you use still, carbon fiber, wood,titanium etc will make (again, in my experience) a noticeable difference in sound. The long shaft is just dead weight inside the bass sucking up sound.
  12. CryingBass

    CryingBass Ours' is the only Reality of Consequence Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    I have thought about this over the years myself. Great post you guys.

    And just for giggles - I have to believe that some end pins ( based on what I have seen, you know, the 50 pound ones ) would be pretty hard to cut!
  13. Dremel or angle grinder. Remember to glove up and wear goggles. I once had to Dremel a heavy stainless steel ring off my finger. It got a bit warm.
    james condino and CryingBass like this.
  14. mjt0229

    mjt0229 Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2007
    Bellingham, WA
    I have had luthiers do it, because their shops were equipped to do it quickly and safely, and to grind down the burrs and stuff so it wasn't sharp afterwards. Probably you don't need anyone as skilled as a luthier, just access to some tools that are more sophisticated than what I own. Depending on what you're cutting a metal shop or wood shop is fine.

    I'm not an expert, but you probably don't want to breathe the dust from a CF rod (or metal or wood, for that matter...).
  15. The longer the endpin inside the bass the easier it resonates and can take vibrational energy. That energy gets sucked from the projection on the resonance frequency and around it.

    Take a ruler, clamp it with your hand at the edge of a table and let it stand over most of the length. Pluck the end. It easily vibrates if you clamp well enough. Make the over stand shorter but clamp at the same position and strength. The frequency rises, but also the sustain gets a lot shorter. It might even be that no identifiable pitch could be heard because of the heavy damping for the high frequency.
    In the case of the endpin, a short resonance is better than a long one, so a shorter endpin inside gives you what you want.

    But it is mostly a matter of stiffness. A larger diameter or a tube endpin is stiffer and might work n better thanks a smaller diameter solid steel endpin, even if it is a bit longer inside.
  16. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    Chop the endpin, drill holes in your tuning machines & tailpiece, trim the strings down to absolute minimum, only mix your glue at half strength, scrape all of the varnish off, drop the humidity to reduce moisture absorption, pull all of the wool off the string ends and drill a second hole in the ball ends, remove the fingerboard and internal blocks and drill them out like Swiss cheese, pull out all of the purfling, only use the lightest possible strings, remove a couple of threads in your tailwire,....must reduce all weight at any cost...NO COMPROMISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Or: is just an endpin. Chop it off & the worst case scenario is you answer your own question and decide to buy another $30 stick. There are no unicorns and fairy dust in endpin work.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2022
    Michael Glynn, Joshua, mikeGJ and 6 others like this.
  17. Cut it, it made a big difference for me. I tried some other materials as well, at home in the small room where I practice most sounded better than steel but steel was better with an orchestra.
    Jason Hollar likes this.
  18. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    Getting back to the original question:
    Pros? Your bass may sound a bit better. If the endpin is rattling in there, it won’t.
    Cons? If you miraculously get taller, you will need a longer endpin.
    james condino likes this.
  19. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar Jazz & Cocktails Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Central Pa
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    I’ve been thinking about this for a while - I usually play standing with the endpin all the way in. Been experimenting with different wood lengths for different size bar stools encountered in the wild.

    The endpin is like 17” plus the 1.5” rubber stopper. However, the gig bag back pocket seems to be a perfect fit - as I use a wheel on occasion.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2022
  20. Papageno


    Nov 16, 2015
    I eventually decided to not cut my steel endpin, and made myself a carbon endpin for less than 20$ (more on this on this thread).
    james condino and Ryan in PDX like this.
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