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Fingered extension

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by G-force, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. G-force


    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    Hi, My luthier is willing to build me a c-ext. He has never done one before. Here in Oslo the 5 string has been the default bass of choice. I prefer the low c ext.

    Anyhow , where can we find info on building one ?

    Also He wondered how to get the string over the top.
    Is it neccessary to use a wheel? and if so what do you use?

    Thank you all for your kind help
    I look forward to the replies.
  2. Charles Shores

    Charles Shores Commercial User

    Jul 26, 2005
    If he has never made an extension before, I would recommend this one http://www.kcstrings.com/ so that the least amount of work is had.

    I personally wouldn't trust a job on my bass to someone who has never performed said job.

  3. BGreaney

    BGreaney Guest

    Mar 7, 2005
    I concur...I wouldn't trust someone who's never put an extension on before, regardless of how great of a luthier he might be...i think a professional opinion from one of the luthiers here on tb might prove to be very useful...
  4. JayR


    Nov 9, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Regarding the KC strings extension, I have one installed on my bass. They're very inexpensive (mine cost about $400 and the install was $200), relatively speaking, and they do the job of giving you a low C, but I've had a slew of issues with the thing that slowly are driving me mad. The Eb gate bumps into the E gate, so I had to have it cut down, the E gate gets loose constantly, and the leather pads on the gates are glued on rather shoddily. Also, since it avoid drilling through the scroll (a definite plus, at least there), the E string becomes extremely difficult to tune, forcing you to check the note, open the gates, adjust, tug the string, close the gate, check the note, see if you're close, repeat. I mean, I'm glad I got the extension, it's made a lot of orchestra parts possible in the way they were intended by the composer, but there definitely is a trade-off with the price. The tuning problem can be mitigated with a fine tuner on the bridge (something which I am very seriously considering purchasing.) and there is the upside since that KC strings extensions dont damage the scroll in any noticable way, you can always remove it or trade it for another, better extension without any real problems. All the local guys around here that do good extension jobs, however, have huge waitlists and cost several grand. So. Yeah. If you're going to purchase a pre-made KC strings extension, it will save you a lot of money and trouble, but I'd suggest getting one with just an E gate and leave the others off.
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I have had the E-latch and a Chromatic that I got recently. I will have this put on other Basses of mine as well. I love how it works.

    This is mine; http://www.kensmithbasses.com/DoubleBasses/MartiniBass/martini_bass_2.htm

    This is who did it and he has my Bass as a sample as well; http://www.aesbass.com/extensions.htm

    This is no Job for the beginner. One must learn and perfect his making. Let your Luthier practice on some cheaper Basses first. The String Length is also important to have the Lower notes in tune.
  6. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I have an extension made by Bill Merchant. I believe Bill told me he has refined his design over twenty years. There's definitely a lot more to extensions than one would initially think. I would be worried about getting one from someone that had never done one before. The pulley wheel helps to allow the string to move easier for tuning.

    Very interesting to hear about the problems with the KC Strings extension. Once again it would seem that you get what you pay for.
  7. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Considering you're in Norway, if you have a talented luthier on hand I think you should encourage him to give it a go. It would be a good idea to start with a simple fingered extension. I volunteer to give him a few pointers. Anybody else?
  8. G-force


    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    That sounds like a great idea Arnold. And thank you for the support.
    My guy is good, he just needs some prodding along.
    I considered the KC shop ext but I don't like the fact that it add 2 pounds more to my 40 pound bass. Mine is a big one.
    I also wanted to supprt the local craftsmen .

    In sweden they actually flew in someone from San Fran . well that's great but it doesn't help the bass repairmen situation here.
    I am trying to gather as much information on this as possible so that I can be a support for my reapirman. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets it in one go.
    this would actually be pioneer bass work here in Oslo, the first in Norway to be built so you can imagine my concern.
  9. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.

    I can see it now. In 5 years the 5-string basses will start to fade in Europe and the C-Ext. will be more and more common. For many pieces, the Ext is much easier to use than having a 5th string all the time. I own both 5str and 4str with Ext. I only use the 5er if I have fast moving passages and can't play them on the Ext. I used the 5er in only one concert so far out of about 10 since I got it. I used the Ext on quite a few. About 50% of the time I bring a 4 string with no Ext. as I have no 'sub-notes' at all in the parts. Next month we have an all Mozart concert and not a single note below E on any of the parts. I sometimes cheat though. If the part has an ending or some long notes between C and Eb, I set the Ext. latch and play them on the A-string with the lower octave ringing out if not playing both octaves at the same time. Sounds so FAT... Fun fun fun..
  10. G-force


    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    Ken I can't agree with you more. Personally I think the bass is hard enough with four strings...
    I played 5 str for a while. I just didn't like the response of the B string. Ok It could have been the set up . But I never got over the fact of not having the e string on the bottom.

    Here in Euroland we play much new music ( hooray) written with the low B. But in our section there are enough to get the point across.
    I like what the fingered ext does to the instrument. I felt mine opened up . I have seen 4 str become 5 str basses and lose all the sound because there was maybe too much pressure on the top.

    Well we'll see what happens.
  11. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I hope you go through with it and get an extension built. I would love to see them become popular here in Europe.
    Shameless plug: Your luthier can save himself a lot of time and trouble by using a premade E-stop and chromatic latches (www.basscapos.com)