more questions

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Wesley, Sep 18, 2001.

  1. Wesley


    Sep 17, 2001
    I have a few more questions regarding bass setup and maintenance. I'm new to the instrument (8 months) and am trying to learn as much about it as possible.
    1) My soundpost looks crooked to me. I am just eyeballing it through the F holes and it looks like it is leaning towards the center of the bass. Is there a way of determining if it really is leaning? (It all could be in my imagination!) and if it is tilted is there a risk that it will fall out of place and damage my bass?

    2) When I am not playing my bass should I store it in its case (softshell moridian)? I brought one of my guitars into a luthiur and he was surprised to see that it was dried out at this time of the year (Sept). I guess my house is really dry - all year round - and sometimes I have a pretty stong draft passing through my room. The Luthier suggested I store my guitar in its softshell case - would this apply to my double bass as well?

    3) Is it a good idea to ever tug on strings to release some of the stiffness? I find sometimes it makes the strings less tense and more playable. One bass player told me specifically not to do this though I have seen this done to double basses.

    Thanks for your help

  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Hi, welcome to Talkbass.

    1) Reedo & Don are the guys to field this one.

    2) Here in Kentucky, we have the opposite problem: too much humidity. Some people like to keep their basses in bags, but I've never put too much trust in that - as sensitive as my bass is to humidity changes, I like to be able to monitor the humidity. I stand mine in a corner (facing out) or my music room, and keep a hygrometer right next to it, so I can check on the humidity and alter it to stay between 50 and 60% (this is where the bass plays and sounds at its best). At times, this is a huge pain in the *ss, but it's worth it.

    Is there anything worse than that sickening feeling you get when your bass top cracks, and you know that you probably could have prevented it? Probably, but I can't think what it is...

    3) I've seen this done on BG's, but never on a DB.
  3. 1. What you can do to see if your soundpost is correctly positioned is kind of hard to explain without a demonstration. I use a sound post setter kit that includes a small mirror that i can stick through the F-holes, and position it so that I can see where the post meets the top table to see if it is positioned correctly. I also use "feeler gauges, which is simply a folded strip of plastic, one side goes through the F-hole, the other along the top of the bass, and by sticking it in until I feel it touch the sound post, I can determine its location.
    2. Chris is absolutely right about the Hygrometer. If your house is very dry, I also reccomend that you get a steam vaporisor (you can get one for about twenty dollars) for the room you keep your bass in.
    3. I have seen this done, but it's not a good idea, especially with synthetic core strings, and it may also loosen the windings.
  4. I assume your plywood bass has a round back, which can make it difficult to determine if the post is "straight". I wouldn't worry about it. Damage is unlikely even if it should fall. Setting it properly is an acquired skill, which I don't have, but my luthier does.
    Get a hygrometer. Once you're between 40% and 55&, consistency of humidity is more important than a specific number.