How to make my bass "looser"

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Sam Dingle, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Nashville TN
    I'm wondering if this makes sense. I have an old juzek 7/8ths bass that i bought from a good friend and was well known by a lot of our mutual friends. I've had it a year and basically changed a lot of things on it, new bridge, new sound post, new pickup, threw a C extension on it etc. Only thing that has stayed the same is I still use 4/4 medium spirocore strings (which is all this bass has known for the last 20 years)

    sent a few videos to friends who know the bass and they all say it sounds like its playing "tight". Not just me playing it either. Raising and lowering the string height doesn't change it. there not a ton of air behind the notes. Wondering what could be the cause of this if anything? Only other huge change I can think of is that it came from NYC down to New Orleans. I can supply video to see if it sounds tight to yall.
  2. Could be a ton of things. Moisture. Soundpost. Strings. Neck angle. Saddle height. Plate thickness. Heavy cleats reinforcing all those repaired cracks. Maybe the bass bar crack wasn’t repaired right. Sprung bass bar adding tension to the top. It could not have settled in yet after the changes you made to it.
    Sam Dingle likes this.
  3. Sam Dingle

    Sam Dingle Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2011
    Nashville TN
    Changes were all made last September. Could it still be settling?
  4. Absolutely. Give it two years before you freak out.
    Sam Dingle and dhergert like this.
  5. Co.


    Sep 10, 2006
    You might try a shorter soundpost. Makes a huge difference.
    kerrycares likes this.
  6. Matthias Hacker

    Matthias Hacker

    Apr 8, 2018
    Yes, maybe a shorter soundpost, and/or setting the soundpost more towards the south. Where is it placed, distance between Bridge foot and soundpost? Though opinions may vary, I´d say the distance should be at least 1/2 of the soundpost´s diameter, maybe better when it´s the whole diameter.
  7. dhergert

    dhergert Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2018
    Blue Zone, California
    Probably ^^this^^ more than anything else, but if you're in a rush, different strings would probably change tone and/or feel more quickly and more easily than anything. There might also be some exploitable relationship between string tension and soundpost configuration.

    If it's more of a general feel question, perhaps the fingerboard relief isn't just right for your preferred strings?
  8. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    How are people deciding from a video how your bass is playing? What is your own personal assessement of how it's playing?

    The only thing I would add is that it might take a while for your own personal approach to the strings to get attuned to what the instrument wants. I know that with my bass, if I just try to "pull harder" it doesn't really get much louder or more resonant, but if I relax and make my pizzicato "match" the speed and force of attack that's best for the strings and bass, then I get a lot more sound and more resonant sound out of it. So you may just need to play it in and let your hands and body get accustomed to the changes in the setup.
    Ukiah Bass and Chris Fitzgerald like this.
  9. Could it be that the soundpost has been fallen at a luthier when installing the extension and that it was reset by the luthier. Might be the most probable explanation for me.
    Putting the soundpost just a little bit closer to the center of the bass makes it more loose because of the shape of the top (and maybe also back).

    On my bass it once were too percussive on the higher strings (putting the soundpost south helped) and too tight (shortening the soundpost helped). But that was the decision of and done by my luthier.
    luisraulmunoz likes this.
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Columbia SC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Give it to Jed Kriegel, he's a freaking genius.
    msw likes this.
  11. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    worry less, practice more....
    RSBBass, dhergert and Sam Dingle like this.
  12. Loosen the soundpost (move it a bit south, tw the middle), a bit longer tail gut, make sure nut grooves are as low as "possible", "softer" tail gut (I use gut), time. Soft is a main objective for me. I like a soft attack to the sound and feel, so I use plain gut strings. But after a major repair two years ago, my bass certainly felt "firmer". Better definition of sound, but not as deep or "big". Whether time or the changes I made (above), made the biggest difference, I do not know.
    luisraulmunoz likes this.