Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

FB bevel question

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by RyanHelms, Aug 25, 2005.


  1. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    I'm playing different DB's in search of my first. One instrument's fingerboard in particular is sporting such an extreme bevel that from a few feet away I thought "wow is that bridge too far over to the treble side...."

    But when I got up to the bass and sighted the neck to the bridge, the G is parallel with the edge of the fingerboard. There's quite alot of room from the E string to the edge of the board, but I don't know what a guideline would be. Sorry for the goofy diagram. I'll try to get a pic next time I go in to play it.

    Whereabouts should the E string locate with respect to the width of the bevel?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    There should be about equal amounts of fingerboard to the sides of both E and G strings. The bridge should be centered on the bass' top.
     
  3. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks for the reply Arnold. What would you say about there being considerably more distance to the edge of the fingerboard on the E side compared to the G side (I'm assuming the bridge is centered since the G is parallel to the fb edge)?

    Again, I'll try to get a photo if the store allows. My next thought is to ask a local DB teacher if he can spare the time to go and have a look...
     
  4. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    I'd say something is out of whack, and that you cannot assume the bridge is centered. You have to measure it. I would bet the neck is misaligned, or the top has sinkage on one side.
     
  5. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    I contacted a local teacher who's saying the same, but is willing to go have a look at it anyway just to check it out. If anything worth noting comes up, or if I can get a good pic or measurement, I'll post up.
     
  6. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    The other thing to look at (which was the situation on the Juzek that Fred Pratt picked up), somebody down the line may have changed the spacing on the bridge to accomodate a younger player with smaller hands.
     
  7. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Good call, that's not something I would have thought to check. I'm going back in first of the week so I'll give it all a closer inspection.

    Thanks for the tips. I was just overwhelmed standing there getting sound out of it...
     
  8. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I personally prefer it rounded but with more room on the bottom ofcourse. Some Basses I have aquired already have a good board but it has the Bevel and not rounded. If it bothers me, I scrape the bevel slightly and just round it over a bit. This makes it feel much better if I happen to feel the wood while crossing from the A to the E on both the left hand and right hand Pizz.

    I have one of only two Shen 1000 model Gamba 3/4 Basses made in 1997 with non-chinese woods for the Top, back and sides. My eldest son has been using that for the last year or so and just entered College. He found out today that next week is Auditions for Ensembles and you MUST play Double Bass and not Electric(slab) which is his major to get in. So.. I just finished tweaking his Bass and softened the Bevel on the FB. It plays much better imo. I did a few other things to tweak the Bass as well to give him a good start.

    If the Bass is what you like buy it, but do not buy it just because of a Bevel or not. Fingerboards get changed from time to time so don't worry because you can always go the other way next time.
     
  9. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Hi, just a quick follow-up. Or rather, lack thereof. The bass had been sold when I went back to check it out again. C’est la vie.

    Interesting side note, I was so curious about this instrument because of the "Juzek 1930" label inside, but only a $900 price tag outside...it was a 3/4 Gamba solid top.

    I wanted to do my homework, contact the local luthier who's label was also inside (which I did), go back and play it more, get measurements and maybe a photo or two, ask questions, you know - not try to make a hasty purchase. Apparently that was not my bass. I really would like to have known what was up with this bass, Juzek or not.

    I'm guessing Ed may have been right about the string spacing having been changed at the bridge to accomadate a beginner, just because there were also brass dot position markers inlaid into the side of the FB. Although who knows when those were added, if the bridge was centered, or if there was top sinkage or a misaligned neck as Arnold suggested...

    Ken, what about softening the bevel on the Shen made it play much easier? Are you refering to arco since your son was going for an orchestral audition?

    Meanwhile, the search continues.
     
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    No, it was NOT an Orchestra Audition at all. It was for an ensemble Audition at UArts in Philly. He started this year as a Freshman and all Bassists get to try out for the various Groups and Bands they have. He will study with the Bow but Jazz & Contemporary music is the main focus there. No Classical at all except for training in Simandl I and II. Charles Fambourgh (McCoy Tyner etc.) will be his private teacher there.

    The Bevel makes the Pizz easier when crossing from the A to the E IMO.

    As far as Bridge spacing, I narrow every Bridge I have ever gotten. I used to use 23.5mm spacing on my Italian Bass. On Dots, Edgar Meyer uses them on his FB and so do many Orch Pros for solo work. It's a new thing now and getting more acceptance in the Pro world.

    On the Juzek, don't worry about missing out on one. I have owned several of these years back and they are nothing to write home about especially for the Bow. An upper line Shen is made better and will mature with less repairs than these German/Czech Shop Basses that always need repairs. I recently played my old Wenzel Wilfer 1966 Bass (Juzek Master Art 3/4) and my sons Shen 1000 model has a better tone and it is 30 years younger and without any cracks, unlike the Juzek/Wilfer. Arnolds Carved Basses (German/USA models) as well are made better than the Juzeks and have a mature sound out of the box!

    In the 5-10K range, the newer better made Basses are better investments than these old Juzek 'Orchestra dropouts' as they were never intended for Jazz back then. Jazz to my understanding started in the 40s or so and grew into the 60s. Earlier forms of Pop and Dance music exhisted but there were many Great Basses used buy average players back then as the costs were similar for a new Import or an old handmade German or Italian Bass in-country from what I have heard! Now, people talk about the old Juzeks(?) as these great old Basses made for Jazz playing as if the Germans knew Jazz was comming... lol.. I think!
     
  11. RyanHelms

    RyanHelms

    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Sorry, you did state that...so the bevel serves a purpose whether playing arco or pizz. From what I can gather from the archives, most players claim that there's little difference, and it really isn't an issue when choosing a bass since the FB can always be swapped out. Am I on?

    The teacher I've been in touch with said he'll keep his eye out for a bass, although he did say "Yeah, you and seven other guys want me to find'em a bass..." Must be slim pickins' 'round these here parts.

    All the best to your son, studying with Charles Fambrough ought to be awsome! Side note - from CF's LIVE @ ZANZIBAR BLUE description - "Of special note is his unique 4/4
    funk version of Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue."

    I thought that was *my* idea :cool: