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New Adjustable Angled Endpin (like Laborie, Rabbath, Eggpin, etc.)

Discussion in 'Accessories [DB]' started by emilio g, Dec 21, 2016.


  1. emilio g

    emilio g

    Jul 16, 2008
    Jersey City, NJ
    Like a lot of people, I like angled endpins whenever I've played them on other people's basses.

    I'm not nuts about drilling my bass because you only get to do it once and I had no idea what I wanted as far as length, angle, or placement.

    I tried to find an old Eggpin to solve my problems. Couldn't track one down. Luckily, I have some contacts in the engineering and machine world, so we collaborated on a little endpin side project and custom built something that fit my needs.

    20160920_151149.

    It inserts into a typical 10mm endpin fitting and locks in place with the existing screw. The angle can be modified in three ways:

    1. The angle between the two rods is adjustable and locks in place by a gear and screw. Here is a closeup of the gear:
    20160920_125424.

    2. The joint itself rotates around the rod that inserts into the bass and locks in place with a nut.

    3. The lower rod can be changed to have a longer or shorter length, depending on what the player prefers.

    Additionally, the bass can be raised over the entire device like a normal endpin so it offers some possibilities that the drilled Laborie endpin doesn't. The biggest departure is you can have a very short lower rod for a small displacement of weight and raise the height of the bass via the notched upper rod.

    I've done a few iterations of these over the past year and tested them out by playing them on my own gigs, letting friends use them, and breaking a few to see what they can take.

    I'm considering selling them because people keep asking.

    But, I need to get a better feel for what the bass community thinks. Making a couple for myself and bringing them to market for everybody are two very different tasks.

    I've gotten some great feedback and encouragement from people with big orchestra jobs and respected luthiers. That's a nice feeling, but if I'm going to sell them I need to get a better feel for what the bass community beyond my little circle thinks.

    If you think this is cool, stupid, want one, think I'm crazy, etc. I'd love to hear what you have to say. What are your concerns? If you want one, what is a reasonable price for something like this? What other questions do you have?

    Read the whole post before you respond, I have some FAQs below.

    My Experience
    I love this thing! So glad I decided to pick up the phone and make this happen. I had a few extras made in case I lose or break the device because I wouldn't want to go back to exclusively playing on a straight endpin.

    I have discovered that I gravitate to three different setups, two of which are made possible by the flexibility of an adjustable pin.

    a. I prefer a straight endpin when I don't have a ton of space. Lots of jazz gigs and pit work has me crammed in a corner somewhere and there just isn't the room for a bent pin setup. My back usually hurts by the end and that's no fun.

    b. My "general purpose" setup uses my endpin with the shortest lower pin I have (about 4") at a modest angle, with a slight rotation to my left. This setup gets some of the weight of the instrument off my body and makes it tend to fall forward into my hands. With a straight pin, my bass tends to fall backwards into my thumb which is frustrating.

    This setup also allows me to stand a little more behind the bass when standing. Getting from low positions to very high positions on all four strings is much easier, I can keep equal weight on both feet, and getting to the E string with a German bow feels less cramped.

    c. I have a longer lower pin (6") that I set up with no rotation to the left, closer to what Rabbath does. I use the same angle, but pointed straight back. This configuration is nice for long sessions of thumb position work. I can stand up straight and move around with equal weight on both feet and the upper register is right in front of my body, not off to the left like a straight endpin. The balance feels like the bass is floating—very little weight from the instrument is pushing into my body.​


    Frequently Asked Questions:

    Have I studied with Rabbath (or a Rabbath student)?

    No. The closest I got was a few buddies who studied with him.

    I definitely owe a lot to the whole Rabbath concept of the bass and find it very inspiring, but I never formally studied with any of those people, nor am I trying to create a "knock off" version of what they do—just trying to solve some problems and move the bass forward.

    How strong is it?


    In my stress tests of the current version, it took a 115lbs. load and me yanking on it to get the gears to shear.

    Given that number, I wouldn't recommend putting this under a bass that weighs more than 40lbs. This limit fortunately accommodates many instruments.

    How heavy is it?

    About the same weight as most standard steel endpins. It's a touch lighter than my personal endpin because the gear joint is aluminum. My bass likes this. Some basses prefer more mass, but making a heavier version is pretty straight forward if that's what people want. I already have parts sourced for an all steel version. The current version is a combination of steel and aluminum.

    Are there any torque problems?

    This endpin will want to spin in the endpin socket. Some people are very concerned with it damaging the bass, block, or endpin fitting.

    In practice on my bass, the only issue I have experienced is sometimes the endpin screw will make a little noise as it rubs against the notched section of the pin. My straight endpin sometimes does this too. A little piece of gaffer's tape in the notch keeps it quiet—not a super elegant solution but it works.

    The pin making noise was only a problem when I tested very extreme angles that exert a higher torque. My "general purpose" setup has been totally silent. But that's me on my gear. I'd love to hear from some repair people who look at this stuff all day long.

    Will this thing bounce around like a standard Laborie endpin?

    It all depends how extended it is from the bass. I'm 5'7" so I can keep the rods pretty short (lowest notch, short lower rod) and I get little to no bounce. Some of the taller players I tested this with are well over 6' and had the bass bouncing all over the place. Some people don't care and others are really freaked out by it.

    I'm working on a device that solves that problem, but I don't have any built yet to show you. That's a beast to slay another day. I'd like to hear from taller players and their needs in an endpin. I have a smaller frame so it's tricker for me to guess.

    What are the next steps?

    Making a batch! I have a local machine shop ready to crank these out as soon as I can give them the green light. They were cool enough to do a small batch of samples that came back looking great and cut very accurately.

    Everything will be made here in the USA. I've met personally with everybody involved in making these.

    Beyond that, I have plans to do versions in even lighter materials and a heavier variation for more portly basses.

    Why only 9 notches in the endpin?


    As the project grows, we have plans to take it to ten like most endpins and if we need that extra push off the cliff—eleven.

    If most endpins go to ten, will eleven make the bass louder?

    It's one more, isn't it? Most blokes will be playing at ten.

    Why don't I just make ten be the top number and be a bit more?

    ...these endpins will go to eleven.

    Anyway, here are a couple more pictures of the prototypes in action.

    On an old, super heavy Italian bass.
    2016-10-10 13.29.13.

    Cranked up to eleven. This kind of setup isn't recommended unless you don't mind things getting pretty bouncy. Still working on this problem.
    2016-11-26 18.21.33.


    Fun Fact: Below is an earlier variation. I didn't have a source for the rubber ball so I ended up using a dog ball here. You know those Kong balls that are indestructible? Works as an endpin tip in a pinch. I glued a quarter in the middle keep the pin from sliding through the center of the ball.
    2016-04-06 13.17.45. 2016-10-10 13.29.02.

    That's all I have. Hope to hear from you. Feedback from the bass community is super important for it to be a success.

    Thank you!

    Emilio

    P.S. Feel free included Spinal Tap references in your commentary.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  2. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I bet that dog ball works way better than the standard ball tip!
     
    DrayMiles likes this.
  3. Ortsom

    Ortsom Banned

    Mar 23, 2016
    Emilio, thank you for sharing this interesting concept, and I hope your project will be a success! Some comments as follows.

    I appreciate the 'load-on-the-thumb' & stability issues, and once made a similar sort of prototype (just a block of wood with 2 holes in it at an angle, but I can't seem to find it back). At the time I decided that for me, personally, it wasn't worth the hassle & risk, and dropped it. But my prototype was fixed, so without the adjustment options maybe I never perceived the full benefit. I'm 6', which may also be relevant.

    Hassle: for transport, you would need to take the angled endpin out & replace it with a short transport knob, I guess. Not much hassle, but an extra thing to carry or forget. Of course, with Laborie it's the same.

    Risk: there is the torque & strength in the bent endpin contraption, but that can be engineered sufficiently. My main worry is the extra load on the end block. In this arrangement, using the conventional endpin hole perpendicular into the block, the distance between the 2 end-points is at a minimum, so that at the same torque the loads are at a maximum. Compared to Laborie's arrangement, where the chuck enters the block at about 45°, so some 1.4x longer distance & lower loads, at the same torque. But the torque on the chuck isn't quite the same, not even if the endpin rubber ball were to be at exactly the same position wrt the instrument body. This is because the conventional endpin hole is typically half-way in the end block (and often even a bit towards the top), while the extra 45° Laborie endpin hole is very much towards the back. That will reduce the arm, hence the torque. Yet even in Laborie's arrangement I have concerns about splitting the block. I don't know to what extend these worries about the block are supported by experience though.

    Other:
    • While it will not be appreciated by the player, flexibility reduces risk as it lowers peak loads.
    • Wrt rotational torque (earlier I was referring to torque in the plane of the angled endpin), indeed there is the possibility of the chuck rotating, but a tapered chuck under +/-120kg load by the tailgut won't rotate very easily. But there the worry is, if you use a common 10mm/12mm/0.5" pin, the longevity of the chuck itself, and of the adjustment screw & thread. There the loads will also become significant, and maybe some gaffer tape will reduce the noise, but still it wears & the chuck might split. Bigger OD?
    • What's with the 'more notches is louder'? Isn't the height of the pin just linked to the height of the player?
    Hope you find something of use in this, good luck!
     
  4. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    I agree that this approach is potentially dangerous for the socket and bottom block. It's still a great tool for deciding where to drill for a Laborie, if nothing more. My opinion of this whole Rabbath endpin thing is that it's extreme. Using a device like this simply to make the endpin vertical instead of angled forward still make's a huge difference, without creating the mechanical issues Ortsom describes.
     
  5. flatback

    flatback Supporting Member

    May 6, 2004
    I have used the Egg Pin for years on one bass and have been looking for just such a solution for my new Contrabasetto which is small bodied and would require a long pin. In the past I tried cantilevered pins like this but the bounce is terrible for the bass and the player. I think that if you had a hollow pin (Titanium or carbon) and put the joint right at the endpin (rather then having it extended out the bottom the way you do) there would be more stability and less stress on the bass. The egg pin works great because it clamps to the socket so that the force is transferred directly to the very stable pin. It conquers the difficulties because it provides both lateral and vertical stability and adjustability. THese elements are really important becuse it takes a while to figure out what balance point you like and to dial it in for your body. I just watched Art of the Bow again and have been playing with the bass turned out farther as Rabbath suggests. It almost instantly increases your ability to get into the bass and your hands (with the neck closer in to your body) can grab notes and positions way better. BUT it takes a pin like the Eggpin ( or a drilled Laborie)with all that strength down there, to balance the bass in that position.
    As to the general idea of balancing the bass for weightlessness of the left hand, it works great. THe older I get the less I care though. THe other night on a gig I had the egg pin on because I had been bowing all afternoon, but on a hard hitting bebop gig, it just didnt feel right and I switched out to a regular pin effortlessly and didnt think about the adjustment at all, in fact I did it during a drum solo and went right on with the bass balanced upright.
    For Pizz it seems to make the left hand way easier but causes your right hand to ....not be able to play through the strings....
    I love it with the bow though as I am left handed and the Rabbath arm weight thing allows me to play better when the bass is thrown out and balanced on the egg pin.
    I would aim for more of a copy of the egg pin. I have tried solid pins like yours and the bounciness is unplayable.
     
  6. the_Ryan

    the_Ryan

    Jul 10, 2015
    Ithaca/Seattle
    As someone who uses a Laborie endpin I find this fairly interesting (even though my bass is already drilled). Would this be designed to be used in lieu of a Laborie endpin, or for someone who is unsure of how they want their bass drilled? This could also be a great way to give people the experience of using a bent endpin if they are interested but are not in an area where it's commonplace.

    Regarding the bounce: I haven't really found anything that "cures" the bounce other than a wooden endpin drilled into the end block. A carbon fiber Laborie pin and bent metal endpins all tend to have some sort of bounce naturally that is exacerbated the longer it is. Unfortunately there isn't any real way around that.
     
  7. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    What if the manufacturer added an additional rod spanning the two rods creating a triangle? Wouldn't that reduce the bounce a lot?
     
  8. the_Ryan

    the_Ryan

    Jul 10, 2015
    Ithaca/Seattle
    I think so. One of my friends made his own bent endpin and he did that to reduce bounce because he's fairly tall, but I haven't really played on his bass with that setup.
     
    Tom Lane likes this.
  9. emilio g

    emilio g

    Jul 16, 2008
    Jersey City, NJ
    Either one. I use it in lieu of drilling. One friends has plans to drill his bass but wants to experiment first. A third situation is I have another buddy who had his bass drilled, but he plays on rental basses when he goes on the road and wants one of these because he's never 100% sure of what he's going to be playing on.

    I have plans for this. Fixed, triangular endpin are basically a phone call away. I may promote them down the road. I figured it would make more sense to try the device thats closer to what has already been adopted in the bass world.
     
    the_Ryan likes this.
  10. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    I'd seriously consider buying one if you made it. I'd probably need the antI bounce version.
     
  11. emilio g

    emilio g

    Jul 16, 2008
    Jersey City, NJ
    To everyone who is interested in ordering an endpin, wants to help me make this possible, or just wants to see some video examples and playing on it all that is all possible here: Produce The Chromatic Endpin

    Sharing the Kickstarter link could make the difference between this coming to market or not. While raising $16,200 for a product launch is not a lot of money compared to other products....it's still a lot of money. Especially for a team of one who also has quite a bit of gigging and teaching to do!

    If you want to see this succeed, put it on Facebook, email it to people, tell your teachers, students, music buddies—it all counts and helps.
     
    Tom Lane likes this.
  12. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    My thought is this. Players who I respect have gone the way of Laborie drilling and I think I get how it might improve my playing and experience. I've been tempted for years. I've played basses that were drilled, but none of them were the right height/angle for me and it was actually quite terrible. I've known a few people who have had to drill theirs more than once to get it right. To your point, I haven't wanted to declare my bass open for drilling and there's no great way to be sure that I would even like this setup, except to take a chance and hope that I get it right.

    OR have a device like this or the eggpin to try it out, get used to it and then get the angle and length totally dialed in before someone approaches my bass with a awl.

    If I decided that I wanted to play this way, though, I would have my bass drilled and a lightweight, perfect endpin inserted. So, I could use something like this (or luthiers could) for trial and fitting purposes, but I would not want this to be a permanent solution.

    Just my input on the subject.
     
    Who da Ville and emilio g like this.
  13. emilio g

    emilio g

    Jul 16, 2008
    Jersey City, NJ
    I've been using it very steadily and don't really want to drill my bass right now.

    But, my hope for this is exactly what you're saying. If you want to drill your bass, this is a tool to help you get it right on the first try.

    Another advantage is you can use this with a lot of rental basses if you do any touring. I took my prototype to Switzerland with me over the summer for three weeks and loved it. It's not as good having my bass, but having a tool to keep me comfortable was a big help.
     
  14. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Why not? Just curious...
     
  15. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    My buddy Jake took over setup of my bass some years ago and it changed everything about playing it and hearing it for the better by a really large margin. Since then, I don't want extra weight or mass on it, I don't really like pickups and things that hang off of tail pieces or afterlengths and I don't want mechanical things that will wear out over time, if they aren't necessary.

    Just a sensibility I adopted, I guess. If I became convinced that was a better way for me to play, I'd want a luthier solution, rather than a bolt-on one.

    But, like most people who haven't joined the angled cult yet, I'm not certain that it would actually be better for me and playing basses set up for other people don't really help that much, so a device like this would help explore than in a non-invasive way.
     
    Tom Lane likes this.
  16. Jon Stefaniak

    Jon Stefaniak Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2000
    Tokyo, Japan
    I preordered it on the Kickstarter. Good luck on the funding the project.
     
  17. emilio g

    emilio g

    Jul 16, 2008
    Jersey City, NJ
    I'm going to be working hard all month to get this funded, but it really means a lot that you were willing to invest in the project so early. Thank you so much, Jon.
     
  18. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Emilio, what happens to the funds if you don't reach your target goal?
     
  19. emilio g

    emilio g

    Jul 16, 2008
    Jersey City, NJ
    Kickstarter is all or nothing funding. If I hit my goal, the project gets funded, Kickstarter takes a fee, and all the rewards go out.

    If funding is not successful, nothing happens. Nobody is charged, Kickstarter does not make any money, no rewards go out.

    Other platforms like Indiegogo would let me keep funds from a partially funded project, but that would actually be more of a problem. If I get half my funding, I can't deliver half an endpin.

    That said, I have a small gesture planned out of my own pocket for all the backers even if funding is unsuccessful. If you take the time to check my project out and enter your credit card number, then get nothing...that sucks. I don't want to give people that kind of experience.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2017
  20. criley720

    criley720 Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2010
    Sarasota, FL
    This is great, Emilio. I had the laborie endpin drilled on my first bass at the standard angle that was recommended. Unfortunately it leaves little room for experimenting as it is fixed to that angle. The only adjustments I could make were on height. I recently upgraded basses and would never consider drilling a hole, even though I enjoy playing with an angled endpin. The eggpin was a consideration, however obsolete and hard to find. There are people who make bent endpins that seem affordable and promising, but again they are fixed angles. I guess once you are happy with an angle you can go that route.
    The chromatic endpin may be a great permanent option or even a great option to find your preferred angle before drilling.

    I am happy to say I preordered your product and wishing you a successful Kickstart.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017

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