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Fingerboard Extensions...

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Kat_Mia, Nov 5, 2004.

  1. Kat_Mia

    Kat_Mia Guest

    May 7, 2004
    Dorset, UK
    ...I've looked through the posts here and I can't find any that I can make sense of on this subject. :eyebrow:

    I'd love to get an extension and my teach said it's the best way to get a '5 string.' I'm in England, anyone got any ideas of people who could do it and how much it would cost. Alternativly, how much does it cost in America (compare prices)? Any general info I need to know/consider before I launch into thinking about this? :help:
  2. Did you already forget the Newbie Links and Archives we told you about my Dear?
    Give it a shot....if you can't find anything, c'mon back. I know there is a bunch of info in there on fingered extensions. ;)
    By the way, if you look to your left, you'll see an ad for one at KC strings.
    Also, aren't you a beginner? Maybe a little too soon for an extension?
    Very expensive.
  3. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Or were you asking about an extended fingerboard? That's what I was picturing.
  4. Actually, I thought about that as well Marcus....I have an extended board on my bass. Several people including Edgar Meyer have these to get in some higher notes for solo playing. I had Bob Ross put one on my bass to enable me to do some different pizz things.
    So, which is it Kat?
  5. From one beginner to another:

    If you can find one, Kat, you may want to go ahead and try out a 5 stringer instead of using the extension to get the low notes. In America the "C extensions" have been the principal way of getting the low notes, but everything that I have read about European symphony players indicates a proclivity toward the 5'ers. Since you are a younger player, and habits tend to stick, now would not be too soon to explore the options here before committing to either (sort of like french or german bow, comprendez-vous? :smug: ). I'm not recommending that you run out and buy another bass right away, but just see if you can find one to try. The disadvantages are sort of obvious to me for either choice and the advantages also.

    For instance the C extension has to be tuned carefully and it is sort of like having some clarinet levers on your bass neck. Aesthetically, these things look like a bizarre mechanical adaptation on an otherwise perfectly elegant design (because they are). There is also the issue of added scroll mass affecting the tone of the whole bass either negatively or positively. If you use the search tool, you will find some discussion/controversy about this issue on this forum (look at posts by Bob Branstetter concerning AO/BO tuning). The five stringer has a big fat fingerboard and the expense of the extra string is considerable. Also, there is a perception sometimes that the extra tension of the added string hurts the top resonance, but if the bass was built as a 5 stringer and not a conversion, that shouldn't be the case. If you have no trouble with string crossings on the wider fingerboard, you will benefit from several options in position for certain note passages with the extra string, so it is not really just for the lower notes. I prefer the darker tone of higher notes on beefier strings.

    Personally, I tend to lean toward your teacher's advice. My next DB will be a 5er. Historically, the classical era Vienna double bass was a 5er, but with somewhat different tuning so it is not a radical new concept to have more strings.

  6. Kat_Mia

    Kat_Mia Guest

    May 7, 2004
    Dorset, UK
    Oh dear, do I come across beginner? I've been playing 6 years and am taking Grade 7 next year...

    I'm taking about the fingerboard being extended so my E string would effectivly be a B string. My teacher described it as that and then when you put a little latch thingy down, the E string returns to an E string.

    Isn't fingerboard extension and extended fingerboard the same thing? What's the difference.

    I'm just not good on technical terms, that's probably why I come across as beginner (plus I'm not the brightest spark ever and I'm pretty stupid when it comes to common sense). I've just joined the county orchestra and some of the music is lower that my bass can play. My teacher (who regularly plays with us) says an extension would be ideal for me as I'm moving up in the world of playing a bit.

    I haven't tried a 5 string, I'd like to but there's not anyone that plays a 5 string near me. Even my teacher doesn't. Sucks a bit as I'd like to try one.
  7. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    There are the extentions up on the scroll end...sometimes they're called "C extensions". That's the one you're talking about, as it turns out. There are mechanical types, and then there are ones that are basically extra fingerboard material under the E string, way up near the scroll. There's been a lot of discussion of both of these here.

    An extended fingerboard is down at the other end, underneath the treble side strings, and they allow you to play higher notes than a normal fingerboard. I'm pretty sure there are pics of Paul's extended board, or you probably can Google up some pics of Edgar's bass.
  8. You can see my five stringer with it's extended fingerboard...
    Under Basses .. Sticky..click on the Talkbasses....[John Sprague]
  9. Kat, please pardon my understated sarcasm. I've been playing EBG for about thirty years, but DB less than two, so I am mostly the beginner here. Actually, you come across as a prodigy, which is not quite the same thing. And you do ask some very good questions that indicate intelligence as well as an openmindedness that should not be mistaken for naivete. So all that bunk aside, it was clear to me from your first post that the allusion to a 5 string meant you were talking about what is generally called a "C extension" and I think it won't bring the note down to B, but only to C.

    What I did misunderstand was the "best way" part. So I guess I disagree with your teacher. I think "the best way to get a 5 string" is to get a 5 string. They are not common as they once were but the preference for them in European orchestras is pretty well established and they are becoming more popular with American symphonies. Perhaps for the time being the extension would get you by for the few low notes you encounter, but in that you are a serious, albeit young player, my intuition is that you should check into a true 5 stringer, that being the favored low note approach in your hemisphere. It is enough different that if you are to encounter it sooner or later and you've already 6 years on the 4 strings, sooner might be better. Just keep your eye out or try phoning up some one in the local symphony that can refer you to a professional who uses one. I don't think they would be offended. Given your sincerity, they would probably be receptive. Cheers, :)
  10. Kat_Mia

    Kat_Mia Guest

    May 7, 2004
    Dorset, UK
    Think I'll stick to my 4 string, much more simple, LOL!
  11. w302nv


    Mar 9, 2004
    Moline, IL
    Just a side note...I do believe these are done by the guy (Chris) who did the extension work on Edgar Meyer's bass.

    For a visiual reference...

    Here is a picture of a B Extension:

    Here is a C Extension:

    Here is a fingerboard extension:

    More pictures can be found here....http://gallery.heartlandsbs.com/