New tailpiece, strings, and set-up

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Monte, Aug 7, 2001.

  1. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    I posted this on the 2xbasslist this morning, and thought it might be of interest to some of you as well:


    All this talk of tailpieces and vibrations got me thinking (this list passes a contagious viral infection known as GAS, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I noticed that my tailpiece couldn't be helping, as it was a HEAVY ebony 5-string. Looking at those interesting products at Mike Pecanic music ( ), I decided to try the compensated tailpiece (not the adjustable one). I decided to go with a lighter wood and went with Wenge. It's probably not a ton lighter than ebony, but I could feel the difference. At $89, it wasn't much more expensive than a conventional ebony tailpiece. I took it to a luthier yesterday along with a
    new set of Velvet 180's and another interesting product. When Lou Roten knew I was changing tailpieces as well as strings, he sent me a new Velvet product, which is a tailpiece cord make of a light, strong material that I can't quite describe. It will hold 1500lbs of pressure and is lighter than a
    shoestring. It ties on rather than crimps and seems to be a neat idea. I picked back up the bass, and the luthier and the guy behind the counter both separately said "You have a really loud bass!" My Juzek produces a decent amount of volume, but nobody has ever made that comment before. The luthier said that not only was the E,A,and D string longer with this tailpiece, the G was longer too, adding up to more total vibrating string. I think someone said something about the perfect tailpiece making a 4th when bowing below the bridge. This is close, but a little sharp. It is hard to tell because
    the new loop ends they made on Velvet strings make it really hard to bow there.

    Some observations: 1)These tailpieces supposedly help with wolftones. 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. They have been bad through 8 different sets of strings, so it wasn't the new strings that took care of it. 2) When my teacher Don Munday played my bass, it was indeed louder and I really think a little darker sounding (that could be
    the strings). 3) The only drag; the bow quiver is too long to tie onto the E string tailpiece hole now. I've only been using a quiver for 5 or 6 months now, so I'll get over it. I may not use the bow in my traditional way on jazz gigs i.e. ARCO: Italian word meaning end of a ballad. (Definition compliments of Ed Fuqua)

    Velvet 180 observations: I have always been happy with the pizz on my Velvet 360's,and since that is my bread and butter, I was reluctant to make a change. However, after losing the use of a bass I was using for orchestra purposes (strung w/Helicore orchestra med.), I just decided I needed to have a string that wasn't so frustrating for arco. Listening to the experiences (positive) of players who used this string for jazz like Bryce from Hammond Ashley and Win Hinkle and weighing it against a few negative experiences such as Steve
    Larkin and someone else that I've forgotten, I decided to give it a try. I came home and played for 4 hours and I'm thrilled. These still have that "old school" gut pizz sound that I like. Maybe a tiny loss of sustain, but not much. Actually, on my bass I like these a little better. The E string always had an overly aggressive growl which is much tamer with the 180's.
    The arco is very nice. Someone coming from a higher tension orchestra string might take some getting used to it, but after trying every trick in the book to bow the 360's, it was like butter to me. Granted, as with any low tension string, the E takes more bow pressure to get moving, but it's not hard to
    get used to. I went back and played some excerpts from the Mendelssohn 4th and was really happy with it. Ok, happy with the strings, not my playing, which stinks! Anyway the faster passages in the 1st and 4th Mvt played really smoothly, which I COULD NOT do at all on this bass this spring when
    it had 360's on it. On the 2nd Mvt where the basses play a long series of 8th notes at a slow tempo I played them without a single scratchy note. As I said, I played for 4 hours because I couldn't put my bass down. Yes, these strings are pretty expensive, but I'm willing to pay more to have a hybrid
    string I can live with.

    Putting on 3 different products at once, I don't know what had the most effect, but I'm happy with the initial results on my Juzek. As Don said, the differences were pretty clear. I was happy with my bass before, I'm thrilled


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: don munday <[email protected]>
    To: Double bass list <[email protected]>
    Sent: Monday, August 06, 2001 1:39 PM
    Subject: Tail pieces

    > Monte,
    > Tell the list about your new tail piece. It certainly made a difference
    > the sound of your pre W.W.II Jusek.
    > Don
  2. I have Pecanics 5 string adjustable tail peice on my Kay, David Gage did the installation with aircraft cable. This really opened up the bass. My strings are a little sharp under the bridge as well, I'll fine tune it some more in the fall. However the pitch a is supposeto be 2 octaves and a fifth above the fundamental.
  3. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    You're right about it being two octaves, but I was told a fourth. If it's a 5th above, then I'm flat ;-0

  4. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Re 4ths or 5ths - As with german vs. french, I can give you names of respected players and luthiers who support either one; each one is convinced he's right.
  5. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    Nope, I'm absolutely right. It is between a 4th and a 5th.........


  6. Right down the middle. I like it. ;)
  7. rablack

    rablack Guest

    Mar 9, 2000
    Houston, Texas
    So, Monte, where can I get one of these?
  8. Monte


    Jan 9, 2001
    DFW Area, Tejas
    You can contact Lou at [email protected] or call him at 508-778-4050. He will be back in the office on Tuesday. Schertler has a pic posted now at
    I think they sell it for $27, and it is much lighter in weight than aircraft cable. Hard to describe, but it is tough stuff.