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Greetings, My bass story, and a couple of questions

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Eilif, Oct 11, 2005.


  1. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    NOte: skip the next two paragraphs if you don't want to read the story.

    Greetings,
    I've been posting in the EB section for a while, but I don't think I've posted here (except maybe a very long time ago) until today. I played Double bass from 4th grade through the end of college. I even studied with Warren Benfield for 2 years. Nevertheless I was a slacker and never took it seriously enough to purchase my own instrument. Thus when I went to college I dropped the upright completely.

    A couple years ago I purchased an Englehard EM1 from a friend for 250 bucks. I dropped 400 into it for a good setup, strings, nut, new adjustable bridge, and fingerboard shaping. But fate took over and my involvement in a rock band pushed upright back into the closet again. Now that my band is playing some acoustic gigs I have brought the upright back again and played my first all upright rock gig ever.
    Some issues I have noticed that are quesitons for you folks.

    1)Even with the adjusters all the way down the action still feels high. What is the ideal distance of strings from board at the end of the board? (Right now I have taken the adjusters out and am using a couple of quarters to get the action that I want and even arco, it isn't buzzing)

    2)Can I shave down the bridge feet to get the low action I want or should I have it done professionally?

    3)The fingerboard is ebonized maple. When the luthier reshaped it he redyed it as well. It is a much thinner finish that I like the feeling of better, but it is already beginning to wear off in a few places (though only a little at a time) Is their a substance I can use to redye the board myself?

    Thanks
     
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    String height depends on the strings and curve of the board, but on the G side, with steel strings, 4-6mm and 6-8mm on the E side is pretty average.

    Unless the look of the bare spots on the board really bug you, I don't think that they hurt anything. Somebody will chime in with the proper crap to slather on there, though, I'm sure.
     
  3. If you had the bass "in the closet" for a long time, and the strings seem a lot higher than the last time you took it out, it might be a neck block problem, which I believe in pretty common in Kays/Engelhardts. If the neck joint is failing, string tension would cause the neck to start angling forward, decreasing fingerboard overstand and increasing string height.

    Or maybe not...
     
  4. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Could also be a warped/crooked bridge.
     
  5. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    The bridge is perfectly strait, and the neck doesn't appear to be shifting, but I will check it out when I get home.

    What should I look for regarding neck shifting?
     
  6. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    Separated seams at the neck joint. These would be pretty obvious. Also make sure that the bridge is perpendicular to the surface of the top.
     
  7. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Bridge is perpendicular and the neck is not separated from the body at all, so back to my origional question.

    Can I shave down the bridge feet myself or does it half to be a luthier job?

    Also

    What can I use (if anything) to redye a maple fingerboard?
     
  8. You probably already know the fit of the feet against the top is crititcal. I wouldn't remove any wood from the bottom of the feet if I were you. If you want to reduce the bridge height take some material off the top. Kays/ Engleharts tend to have short bridges, if the top edge of the bridge is getting close to the heart and eyes, take a little wood off the legs, from the unthreaded side of the adjusters. Ray's string height numbers assume you're using a steel string, go higher for gut or synthetic gut-like strings.

    You're probably also aware that maple isn't the ideal fingerboard material. Any board wears, if it's not black all the way through it's gonna show white when it wears. If I were you and bothered by the white, I'd carry a magic marker and touch it in when necessary. The less goo you transfer from the fingerboard to the strings, the longer they'll last.
     
  9. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Chicago
    Thanks so much, this is what I was hoping to find out. You are right about the bridge. The one that came with it was so high it wasn't worth using. The lutheir ordered a special short bridge from France. He said alot of englehardts have the same issue of bridges that are too tall. However as I wrote above, even with the shorter adjustable bridge adjusted all the way down it seemed a bit tall.

    I think I'll try taking a bit of wood out of the unthreaded side of the feet, and test the magic marker think on an inconspicuous part of the board.