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King basses

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Bob Gollihur, Oct 21, 2001.

  1. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
  2. Reading this guy's commentary, I alternate between shaking my head in wonderment and cringing.
    "I started King Doublebass because while I was touring with an upright bass I could never keep them from breaking and when I did get them to stay together, I couldn't get the instrument loud enough to be heard over the rest of the band."
    "Now I build the coolest basses in the world."
    "For all fused parts we use the strongest glue on earth."
    This guy's right up there with the designer of the bridge that adjusts each string individually.
  3. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    Cape of New Jersey
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music (retired)
    It reminds me of a rockabilly guy I spoke with regarding pickups.

    He bought a new 1/2 size laminated bass and had a guy take it apart and reinforce it all over so he could ride it, as well as add dampening struts because he didn't want the body to vibrate and cause feedback. Truly an electric bass in an URB suit.
  4. HAH Now that was funny

    I've seen this contraption and wondered if there was any kind of need for this...

    actually I was also wondering if those "compensated tailpeices" were also for the birds. You know the ones shorter on the E side to give the string more length.
  5. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Well, I'll agree that the bridge with individual adjusters seems loony. However, I got the compensated tailpiece (not the adjustable) and the proof is in the pudding (See my original post about it in Setup). A longer string length for thicker strings is a long accepted and a valid part of acoustical theory. Ever seen an archtop guitar? Anyway, my teacher who tends to be one of the worlds biggest skeptics could definitely tell a before-and-after difference. By the way, I only took the plunge after checking the concept with my luthier (Rocky Werning), who has won more instrument making competitions than he has room to display his trophies.

    All that aside, I'm definitely not putting individual adjusters on my bass, but neither will I call it kooky without hearing it either.

  6. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I'm not sure about your physics.

    A longer SCALE LENGTH for a thicker string has a dramatic sonic effect. Same for a sharper angle. However, the pitch of a vibrating string is a function of its length and tension. If a string is xx long and at yy pounds of tension, it will produce note zz no matter what gauge the string is or how much length is in back of the bridge not vibrating. How note zz sounds tonally will vary dramatically based on the gauge of the string, though -- compare a Spirocore to a piece of twine.

    My experience with archtop guitars is that the differing tailpiece lengths -- not angles -- was purely decorative and to adjust the potentially-annoying sympathetic ring-tone.

    If one of you physicists out there can tell how the length of the non-vibrating portion of the string affects the vibrating portion, I'd love to hear it.
  7. And my two cents is that every luthier that I know sets a pitch relationship between the played section of string and the section from the bridge to the tail piece. Some use a 4th, some a 5th, but every string is the same. This relationship goes out the window with Pechanic's tailpiece. Adjustable tailpieces, a la Kolstein, certainly - to cope with minute differences in string length between G and E, or weather related rising and falling of the bridge, etc. I've read Pechanic's sales pitch, and I don't buy it. If you're getting the sound you want, excellent, that's good news, and it's irrefutable - on your bass. I see alot of basses in a year, and none have the compensated tailpiece. None.
  8. I have the Kolstein adjustable tail piece and I love it. The only benefit it provides is to mask the wolf tones that are in any quality bass. I have found that you have to have a matched set of strings to be able to tune all of the strings. That said, I have not been able to tune the tail piece as precisely as I would like with the Innovation strings that I have on my bass. This must have something to do with the core material. I had similar experience with Obligatos. Last month, I put on a set of Helicore Orchestral Mediums for a change and the tail piece was a snap to tune. Unfortunately they sounded like crap compared to the Innovations so I took them off and threw the away. Mark
  9. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Umm, this is what I encountered, as I posted in set-up. As I said, what happened when I installed the tailpiece: My Juzek never had really bad wolftones, but there were 3 notes that were always funny; the low A on the G string, the Db on the A string, and the B on the E string. Now those bad notes are as even in response as the rest of them.

    I'm not a physicist, nor do I play one on tv, but there is a relationship which makes longer string length, even the non-vibrating section (which does have SOME vibrations, BTW), desirable. I've slept since then, but the guitarist in my band explained it thoroughly. Darryl is a higher math prof at OU with one of his degrees being physics. The fault is mine for not comprehending the science lingo, as my degrees are in music (and soon to be history) and I haven't had a science class since 1988.

    Don, probably a fully adjustable tailpiece to get that pitch realtionship below the bridge would be better. This is a compromise, just as the regular tailpiece is a compromise.

    I don't have any interest in Mike Pecanic other than being a satisfied customer, but the tailpiece idea is not exactly new or far-out. Perhaps the reason you don't see any on the "many basses you see in a year" is that Mike's tailpieces are new this year. How many bassists do you know who ever change their tailpiece anyway? I never would have if mine wasn't a HEAVY 5-string tailpiece that acted like a mute.

    As you say, all that matters to me is that I'm happy with it. However, I wanted to show that it is more than just a subjective thing. Bottom line: before tailpiece = wolf tones, after tailpiece = no wolf tones. You have a really good luthier, so I wonder what he thinks of the concept? I certainly wouldn't have done it without mine's approval.

    For a really far out idea, what do you think of Albert Laszlo's setup (Cincinnati Conservatory teacher)? He goes with no tailpiece at all, using cables instead on his nice Italian bass. I think I'll pass, but it is an intriguing idea.

  10. The adjustability I'm talking about is fractions of an inch, because that's all that's needed to cause radical change in pitch. The Pecanic tailpiece difference between G and E is 3 inches.
    Many. I'm one. If I buy a bass with an improperly sized tailpiece, it's gone in an instant. Let's turn it around. If a bass costs $20K, or $50K or $80K, and $250 is standing between the owner and maximum quality, do you think they hesitate?
    His response was brief and not flattering.

    Re wolf tones:
    I think the jury's still out. Sometimes they're solved with a wolf eliminator, sometimes they're not. Lou DeLeone was once working with a device he invented for use in designing soundposts; it cured a wolf, even though he wasn't trying to. And sometimes they're cured with a tailpiece. Whatever works, it's a problem solved.
    And then there's Don Palma, a monster talent, who simply chooses to ignore the f---ing wolf and make the bass sound beautiful, regardless.
  11. Wow,

    I should have started a new thread I had no idea my inquiry about the compensated tailpeice was going to raise such a heated disscusion.

    I would like to sincerly thank all of you for your input. I have a very good quality tailpeice that I don't think I'll be changing out for quite a while. But, I am very grateful that TalkBass exists so we can share our experiences.

  12. mpm


    May 10, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Hi everybody,
    I thought I'd add to the discussion. Monte is describing the adjustable tailpiece, while Don is refering to the non-adjustable tailpiece. Certainly there is a difference in ability to compensate for various tonal aberations. And as an addenum, there is photo in either the ISB journal or the most recent issue of Double Bassist of a non-adjustable compensated tailpiece. Sorry, but I'm away from the actual references for the weekend.
    Mike Pecanic
  13. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Nope, we are both referring to the non-adjustable. As I said, the adjustable is probably a better idea, but the compensated is, IMHO, a better compromise than a regular ebony tailpiece. YMMV of course. Ray Brown recommends not having an ebony tailpiece, recommending lighter softer wood instead. Whatever works for your bass. It got rid of my 3 wolfs which the wolftone eliminator didn't. sp I'm happy.


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