Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Nuno A., Dec 11, 2001.

  1. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    Hello everybody.
    I would like to ask you something and to know if somebody noticed the same....
    I always play with my bass quite high,the nut is always at least at the same level as the top of my head...
    Doing that somwhow i never got problems in my back which were starting to be real bad ...
    Well,here comes the question....yesterday i took the end pin of my bass(just the stick) because it was buzzing and i wanted to see what i could do...
    And then just for kicks i put up the bass i started to play something and....
    Huge tone come from the bass.....
    I put again the end pin and lift up the bass and i got my regular tone back.
    Then took it again and this big tone come back...
    Is there a reason for that???
    What can i do to lift the bass and maintain this big tone?
    thanks and all the best.

  2. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Possibly because when you take out the endpin, there's greater contact with the floor and resulting in sympathetic vibrations through the floor?
  3. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I'm not saying your impression is wrong, but the player is in the worst position for hearing the sound. You should do this test for someone standing 20' in front of the bass; better yet, have someone else play with you out front.
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    With the body of the bass further away from you you are hearing more of the room sound. Outdoors or in a really dry room the bass would seem to get softer, and in either case the bass will seem darker. You could also be getting some more resonance off the floor as well.

    I've also noticed that I get a different sound when I sit on a short stool with the bass in more of a cello-like position rather than standing, confirmed by standers-by. As I prefer the sound when standing, I never devoted much thought as to why.
  5. There are a handful of players in Vienna who actually play without an endpin or with their endpin all the way in. I believe Petracchi (or streicher?) teaches this technique. They support the bass by propping the lower bout against the left foot (while standing). This keeps the bass at a comfortable height, and off the floor. I went to a recital given by one of the members of the vienna philharmonic and it was amazing how much this setup enhanced the sound of his bass. It sounds kind of awkward, but I have seen a few players pull it off quite well. Give it a shot.

  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    He played with and then without the endpin with a while the crowd looked on? You could only demonstrate this claim with a controlled-environment experiment.

    To suspend the bass with no dampening (i.e., your left foot) would certainly sound different than a good, solid endpin. I would think that you would lose the resonance of a nice, hardwood floor, but at the same time your sound wouldn't be dependant on the surface on which you play. For this reason I always have my amp on a chair. I notice a huge difference for the better when I take off the rubber foot from my endpin on a hardwood floor, both in sound and feel.

    Shin splintz from playing bass is something with which I'd rather not flirt. About 90 choruses of Cherokee would make the most steadfast of Viennans pull out the old peg, I'd bet.
  7. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Vienna Philharmonic does not do this. They stopped the practice after a disatrous performance of Beethoven's 9th. In the 4th movement, after the bass recitatives, there is a one bar rest for the basses, preceding the Ode to Joy theme. It is here that Vienna does its patented section bass spin. (The principal actually does two complete revolutions.) Without endpins, some basses only made it halfway around. others two thirds, etc. Only two made the opening of the theme. It was a complete debacle.
  8. Don,
    I was speaking about solo playing, not orchestral playing for this technique. It would be impossible (or very difficult) to do that with those enormous 5 stringers they play on. It is very manageable with a small solo bass. Herbert Mayr, on of the principals of the orchestra, is one of the players that uses this technique. To my knowledge, they all sit in orchestra.

  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY


    Must we go through all of this again? Wait, don't tell me - they only let you out of your padded suite around the holidays each year, and you're bored, right? Here's an idea: how about heading for the nearest mall and shopping for a life?
  10. Speaking of end pin length....I played a Prescott this week that had a 41.5 string length. I had to have the end pin all of the way in to play it. That is one big bass.
  11. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Streicher is the guilty party. I've checked this out, had it demonstrated by an internationally respected teacher. It's an orthopedic abomination. Guaranteed to produce pain. Streicher may well have his coterie which does it, but you're going to have one hard time naming two respected teachers who espouse this, no matter how well Streicher himself plays.
  12. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    I had thought Michael had you converted to the Streicher camp. N'est pas?

    All goes to show that there's more than one right way.
  13. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Michael's playing posture isn't even remotely related to this Streicher position.
  14. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    I discussed this with Michael Moore today. He uses the Streicher technique, with the exception of the holding of the bass as described above. (It's not entirely accurate; Streicher does not have the bass off the floor.) Streicher does it because he's short. Michael's endpin is out about 8 inches. Streicher's method of hold is integral with his entire concept of playing, i.e., how and which muscles are used, body and limb angles etc. Streicher's method of holding the bass is not intended to be used if you're playing Simandl.

    P.S. to Samuel, if you're out there:
    Michael never mentioned Streicher to me in 2 years because it wasn't germane to what I was studying with him and he saw no reason to interfere with my arco studies with Linda McKnight.

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