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End Pin resonance question

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by flatback, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    Maybe 20 years ago now I got several endpins called Camelopard, from a man who invented them. They are made from hollow titanium and filled with a dampening material. The sound difference on my bass was noticeable and I have always used them...I think he died and went out of business several years ago but he had given me a few of them....
    Anyway here is the point: I play a small bodied bass now a Contrabassetto which requires the pin to be extended pretty far out.
    Recently I put a new set of spiro reds on and I was experimenting with my stance. I pulled the end pin ALL the way out, to where it was held in without extra on the interior of the bass. Instantly the bass sounded WAY different, massive resonance and sustain. Really a kind of sound that I have been looking for for a long time. At first I attributed it only to the new spiros but eventually I put the pin back where it was a bit lower and more comfortable, but the resonance decreased considerably. I pulled it back out and there it was again...really a profound difference.
    Now the guy who made these pins was a cellist and they have the pins out really far all the time. On my previous bass (a 7/8) I kept it 3/4 of the way IN the bass.
    So the question is: can an endpin really make that much difference? I am getting used to playing with the bass much higher then I usually like it just because the sound is so addicting and the openness and sustain so improved.
    The guy who invented them (the filled titanium pins) was totally convinced that it massively improved the sound of the instrument and now I believe him but I am starting to think that the pin should be all the way out (even if you cut it to fit) so that the full rod is sticking out rather then only a portion with the other part in the bass.
    I am curious what luthiers and players think about this?
  2. I have cut my endpin leaving only a small amount inside the bass. I noticed the same thing, a long endpin inside my bass deadens the lower frequencies.
    jallenbass likes this.
  3. Not to high jack the thread, but I am a bit opposite. When my end pin is at the lowest, all the way in, my bass sounds "fuller". I suppose it is partly because the bass "couples" with the floor, like a loudspeaker on the floor or raised. But the strange thing is, I feel it even if I only raise it a cm or two. So I am in a way playing the bass lower than I should.
    And what about the long end pin inside the bass? Hm.. It is a mainstream aluminium end pin.
  4. Mine is steel. Another benefit of cutting it is a reduction in weight.
  5. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    I believe all this has to do with perceived sound to the drivers seat, not that much with what the bandmembers or audience hear. I play with Karr -type of stance, where the bass stands pretty much straight upright, with the nut at my forehead / ( diminshing ) hairline level. This way I can hear the bottom plate when I play and that helps me hear myself with my hearing loss. If I lower the endpin only 2cm ( - one inch ) the lower end of perceived tone increases notably. I quess this has to do with reflections between the bottom of the bass and the floor. I own a eggpin and have messed with bent endpins, but straight endpin and straight up -type of stance sounds the best and loudest to the drivers seat, which is crucial for my messed up hearing.
    Povl Carstensen likes this.
  6. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Yes, I bet that's a big factor. Flatback, have you tried other rods? Plain steel, CF, wood etc? Different lengths? What you are hearing might be not so much about your specific endpin, but more to do with some kind of resonance created by setting it at a certain length. In that case, maybe get platform shoes?
  7. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    I noticed the same thing when I switched from steel to Wood endpin. I cut the wood so it's exactly the same height as my previous pin and there is no extra hanging in the bass. There was definitely a change for the better in the sound no doubt.
  8. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    I guess I'm just the opposite. I have a wooden end fixed for my height with barely any rod that extends inside. I cant notice an audible difference. Mine was done for convenience and aesthetics.
    dhergert likes this.
  9. shwashwa


    Aug 30, 2003
    mine was done for convenience and because i couldnt get the metal one to stop rattling. the improvement in tone and volume was an unexpected surprise
    sevenyearsdown likes this.
  10. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    To the OP; this makes complete sense to me. The length and material characteristics of the pin really does affect our instruments. 'Cello players have a fair number of options open to them; as the OP wrote, the Cameleopard pin he likes was made by someone focused on 'celli.

    On the other hand, raising the instrument "up" can do some great things for both where we attack the strings with our right end and how we interact with the bass, with our backs, legs, core, etc.

    I had a lesson with a great player who made me raise my bass "up" a lot. Suddenly I was standing completely upright and placing my bow closer to the bridge (or at least able to do so; of course right hand placement depends on left hand placement, music, etc.).

    I had the same reaction; my sound got bigger and more resonant. How much of it was better human mechanics and how much of it was endpin length/vibration I'll never know. AND how much of it was putting my right hand closer to the bridge, in general, is part of the equation, too.

    So, for me, the physical improvement in my posture had a lot to do with opening up my sound more. The end pin length, inside/outside the bass certainly contributed.

    Since that lesson, I've always played with the instrument pretty high up. For me, because I almost always play standing, with the pin "fully out," I did some further experimenting with materials, and kept length as a "constant."

    (I don't be the one to send this thread into the "materials discussion" weeds, where we've all been. For anyone interested, here's a link to my notes on what my informal materials experiments yielded, for me:
    Summary of endpin materials experiments I did (For anyone interested):)
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  11. For what its worth I've cut my metal endpins short and in one of my basses have made a drumstick endpin.
    There have been 'differences' in sound but nothing that stands out enough to really warrant any 'wow factor'.
    What I have tried for interest is to take the pin out and stand the bass directly on the ebony pin holder in a biggish stone floored room.The bass being coupled to the floor without a rubber foot was quite an eye opener / more volume and room resonance.Just have to be careful to hold the bass well so it doesn't slip .
    The room plays such a huge part what your instrument feels and sounds like IMO .
    Povl Carstensen and Eric Swanson like this.
  12. Eric Swanson

    Eric Swanson

    Oct 8, 2007
    Boston, MA
    Some old-timers digging their basses into the stage comes to mind.

    Or soloist 'cellists, playing on top on resonating boxes, in orchestra...

    I have a few spots/holes the floor in my house I use when nobody is home; I plug my endpin into the wood floor and I’m playing the whole house, it almost seems; it really does roar!
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
    Povl Carstensen and bassedsouth like this.
  13. Me too. I also notice no difference. My original Alcoa endpin is around 8 inches, the one I made is about 2 inches, only just long enough to support a cane foot.

    (Fwiw, at this time the endpin plug is the only original wooden piece in use on my bass, although I do still keep and carry the original sound post and the original 8 inch endpin. The original fingerboard, bridge, tailpiece and the internal neck support piece are long gone. I would replace the endpin plug and put a modern carbon fiber endpin assembly in place, except the original endpin plug is glued in with some sort of pernicious aeronautic adhesive. It will have to be drilled out if I want to replace it.)

    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
  14. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    Great stuff Eric!

    To the OPs comments, I would reiterate what other have said in that, the players position to the bass, the bass' proximity to the floor, as well as the bass' engagement with the floor, will affect the results.

    My own experiments from about 6yrs ago, confirmed to me and my drummer that different materials do affect tone/volume/presence. Which is kinda obvious as EVERYthing get affected;) I was comparing the 5/8" hollow tube endpin (aluminum alloy? -kinda heavy to be just aluminum) to 5/8" wood samples (Maple, Hickory, Oak, Birch, Cedar, Pine) after reading through Traiger's book my curiosity got the best of me. We stood in a church and I swapped out one after the other, the clear "sonic/tactile" favorite turned out to be Maple. BUT I never bothered with the length (just kept my bass at the same height for each), there was about half the length of each sample in the bass (Im short:D)

    Now, Im curious to try different lengths. Im off to SamAsh for a set of Vic Firth Bolero sticks to sacrifice.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019
    Povl Carstensen likes this.
  15. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    thanks all for chiming in here. Yeah the resonance I am talking about is not because my hands touch it differently or because the angle relative to my ears is different: the bass is really resonating differently. Like it suddenly opened up after a year of bowing. The camelopard guy gave me a bunch of pins (he made two versions one for arco and one for pizz) but he also gave me a hollow titanium a carbon fiber and an aluminum version all as proof that they sound different...they did too, but this is on a different scale, not just a subtle "am I really haring this ?" kind of thing, but a "this makes the bass sound way different" change.
    dhergert likes this.
  16. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    that sounds great. are all the pins the same lengths? how to the weights compare to each (i.e. TCF=X grams, Al=X grams, etc etc)

    We were skeptical too, then a little back and forth and, yes no doubt there are differences. I guess the challenge is whether or not the "needle in the haystack" is worth finding.... though, sometimes the hunt is half the fun! :woot:
  17. flatback


    May 6, 2004
    yeah. Well this bass the little one, came with a very nice carbon fiber endpin from,...I forget that dudes name who makes them out in colorado or somewhere, with the ball at the end. Great product (he makes totally awful looking colorful endpins too flags and school colors) and he makes really nice brass string mutes, anyway I sent him the titanium pins to test because the Camelopard guy is gone, and I thought someone ought to be making these titanium pins. I almost didn't get the pins back, but he seemed interested...I think he might even be making something titanium now. The difference between a steel rod and a nice resonant wood pin is huge too. I did that on my American Standard (luthier Matt Bohn is into the wood pins and had a verity to try) and found it made a difference, but what I am wondering specifically is does having it all the way out (or cut to size and none IN the bass) make a difference? I am curious what you all find if you try this.
  18. LouisF

    LouisF Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA

    I have a Cameleopard end pin on my Tyrolean bass, but it was a thick carbon fiber pin (and I believe he has since passed away). It's ok. Changing the pin to wood (ebony or oak) or titanium gives the bass totally different characteristics: the wood pins sing more; the titanium has more meat. On my Spada I have the cf pin it came with (New Harmony I think), which is fine, but it really sings with an oak pin. I'm think of having the entire endpin socket replaced with an Onyx rosewood unit I have (I can also use all the other pins above is I do).

    Ask Steve Swan, he was here with a couple of basses and I changed pins while he listened. For us the difference was significant.
    flatback likes this.
  19. Maple

    Maple Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2016
    San Francisco Bay Area
    I’m curious to know what diameter these pins are. Do they work with the 10mm collet or are these at a larger diameter as traeger recommends for wood pins?
  20. Same. In fact, I could feel the difference on the A on the E string. The bass would shake and the note would choke. When I cut the pin it stopped. It makes sense to me. The length of the undamped pin in the bass is free to vibrate. It will resonate with certain frequencies, determined by the length.
    I wonder why on some basses this detracts from the sound and others it makes it better?

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