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floor decoupling?

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by rdh3t, Nov 13, 2008.


  1. rdh3t

    rdh3t

    Jul 20, 2008
    I live in the top floor of an apartment building and get self-conscious about playing upright early or late in the day, as I would think the sound resonates through the floor (maybe I'm just paranoid). I know there are the grippy rubber endpin holders that keep things in place, but I'm wonding if there's a similar small device that somehow, through the uses of layers of foam/rubber/etc., decouples the bass from the floor? I realize I could probably make something myself, and that I'll have to adjust my endpin height to account for the thickness of the decoupler, but does anyone have and thoughts/ideas? I've been using a folded-up towel, but want to graduate to something smaller, more legit, and better looking. thanks!
     
  2. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    It does resonate through the floor. My downstairs neighbor used to complain. It's the reason why I have an EUB.
     
  3. uprightben

    uprightben

    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    I don't think isolating your endpin from the floor is going to make it a whole lot quieter downstairs. You are still going to be filling the room with sound, and unless you figure out how to play your bass quietly, your nieghbors are going to hear you.
     
  4. bkbirge

    bkbirge

    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Isolating it from the floor provides structural decoupling which will lower what your neighbors hear considerably. They will still probably be able to hear you unless you live in a better apartment than I used to, but they won't 'feel' it as much. It is worth trying IMO. Make a 'sound sandwich': rubber mat like used for gyms with a small piece of plywood on top. That should do the poor man's version.
     
  5. Robin UK

    Robin UK

    Feb 1, 2007
    Buy a classical Double Bass mute (make sure it's not a large cello mute). I use mine regularly when playing at night. Works a dream, and can get some pretty useable sounds out for certain situations.
     
  6. rdh3t

    rdh3t

    Jul 20, 2008
    Thanks for all the tips, y'all. I have an Auralex "sub dude" isolation platform for the sub in my studio, which is so far so good with the downstairs folks (as far as I know). I think I'm going to take cues from it and some of the primacoustic speaker decouplers and build a little endpin stand made of layers of foam, rubber, and metal plates taped together. I had been eying the rubber mutes too--I think that plus my isolater should do the trick, thanks again!
     
  7. CamMcIntyre

    CamMcIntyre

    Jun 6, 2000
    USA
    I've got one of the rubber mutes. It does a great job of quieting down the bass.

    No noise complaints yet.
     
  8. EggyToast

    EggyToast

    Jan 21, 2006
    Baltimore
    I noticed a huge difference going from hardwood floors to a basic rug, so yes, you should rest assured that your methods are likely making it very tolerable to your downstairs neighbors.

    On the positive side, when it comes to neighborly annoyances, classical instruments are typically low on the list of bothersome sounds, simply because a) it's understood that the person is working on something, b) they're out of the ordinary, so can provide something unique to listen to, and c) it's a lot better than an amplified guitar!

    Still, what might work best is to simply hop down to your neighbor's place and ask them. Say you practice upright bass, and hopefull you're not being much of a bother, and ask what time they usually wake up or go to bed, so you don't bother then when they're trying to sleep.
     
  9. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    When I lived in an apartment my second year at college I used to put a foam pillow or two under the endpin to try to decouple the bass - severing that floor connection can make a big difference. That along with a mute and practicing in a room furthest from where my downstairs neighbor would be (living room, bedroom depending on the time of day/night) made it possible to practice without complaints.
     
  10. rdh3t

    rdh3t

    Jul 20, 2008
    Man, what helpful answers, this forum rules--not surprising since we're all bassists here! I've cobbled together some materials at our shop and am working on my floor decoupler--I'll post some pictures at some point. Got my rubber mute on the way in the mail...

    Bob G--thanks for having such a great website--I was able to find a great luthier in the SF area listed on your site and just had my upright overhauled (new nut, bridge, fixing the seam on the top from separating any more, etc.)--thanks!
     
  11. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Hrm.... if I was entreprenurial I might just come up with something but I'm too lazy.

    I've always thought about designs when this came up. Years ago, the Mountain Biking world had a seat post that absorbed shock using rubber elastomers. Others used springs and I think a few were air shocks. Someone could make a airshock endpin... would probably not be that hard to design and combined with a rubber mute would make lots of bassists happy the world over and potentially make a little $$$ while you're at it too.

    Of course if you were ambitious you could make a larger contraption that would suspend the bass across some flexible plates. I once tried a sandbag and that didn't work that great. Maybe I just needed a bigger sandbag.
     
  12. now, if i was entreprenurial, i'd want to make something that does the opposite: couples the bass to the floor without tearing up the lovely historic pine floors we have ... be bass shakes the rafters pinned to the floor, but ... the floor doesn't like that process.

    i know, i know ... should be a new thread ...

    jeff.

     
  13. cjac9

    cjac9

    Apr 21, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    Did anyone ever successfully build an endpin decoupler?

    I'd like to get or make one for my endpin for gigs. Sometimes on a cheapo stage, the monitors rumble the floor and then that sound comes back through the endpin and then gets amplified. It's messy.
     
  14. BassinCT

    BassinCT Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2006
    Connecticut
    With the rubber tip left on the endpin, I've used 2 layers of neoprene (hacked up an old mousepad) glued together a flexible adhesive. +1 on adding a heavier practice mute or rubber mute.

    When playing in concerts, I always like to hear the coupling with the floor, so- off with the rubber!
     
  15. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I do some work with extremely sensitive optical instruments, and the best poor man's quick and dirty isolator is a piece of 3/4 plywood on top of a partially inflated kids bike innertube. Cut a hole in the plywood where the stem of the innertube is. This is a trick from people who do amateur holography, because even the slightest vibrations totally screw up a hologram.
     
  16. John Sprague

    John Sprague Sam Shen's US Distributor

    Mar 10, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sales Manager, CSC Products Inc.
    I am having a hard time picturing that. Do you happen to have a pic handy?

    I was thinking of a home brewed solution using more air separation. A triple decker sam-wich. Maybe a 6" plywood square with a dense foam or rubber standoff on each corner, then the middle plywood layer, another group of four standoffs that are, importantly, not in line with the first layer of standoffs, then the outer board. Perhaps Masonite instead of plywood to keep it thin.
     
  17. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    That sounds really good. Effective, fast, and cheap is a winning combination. I'm gonna try it. My only worry would be how to keep the board from sliding off the tube. Do you glue it?
     
  18. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    If you really want to go crazy, how about building bridge adjusters that have tiny shocks built in? Make them so that like on some bike shocks, the damping would be defeatable for normal playing. A goofy idea to be sure, but loading up the bridge with a practice mute degrades bowing response. I wonder what's the smallest pneumatic shock that's ever been made?
     
  19. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    It's quite easy actually. Just use elastomers - rubber bumpers. You will still get some energy transfered but it would be greatly muted.

    The hard part is creating the adjuster, the tech is there already.
     

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