Opening up the low end

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Wyzird05, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. Wyzird05


    Dec 1, 2003
    South Bend, IN
    While reading the post about bass weight there was some talk about a C extension opening up the low end of a bass because of the longer string length. My question is would a Pecanic tailpiece open up the low end of a bass in the same way? I am not expecting it to open up as much as a C extension, but opening it up a little on my bass would make me happy. Oh, I also am using Eudoxa strings and I know there is some conflict with Pecanic tailpieces and piro gut strings. so what do you think, would the tailpiece do a good job or is C extention the only way to go?

    Thank you,
  2. If you want to open up the bottom end of your bass, you'd probably be better off spending a good deal of time and money playing with things like different strings, soundpost settings and tailpiece setup rather than dropping a big chunk of dough on an extension. (unless you actually need it...)
  3. Mike, you are really talking about apples and oranges here. A C extension increases the playing length of the string by 10 or more inches giving a potential maximum string length of around 50 inches. Mike Pecanic's tailpieces are for adjusting the non-playing afterlength of the string on the other side of the bridge an inch or two, but the playing length stays exactly the same. It is possible that a new tailpiece (and wire) can bring about some improvement, but not in the same manner as a C extension.
  4. Wyzird05


    Dec 1, 2003
    South Bend, IN
    Thanks for the replies. Bob I can see your point, they are on opposite sides of the string and I relized the difference in length I am more so just curious. I am using Eudoxas and the E is good but just not as open sounding as the rest of the strings, but I like the potential it sounds like the string has.
  5. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    I use Eudoxas on the low end (Olivs on the top) and I have also thought about an extension for quite some time because a) I could use one and b) I have hoped that it might help the low end even more (but did not have any expectation). I'd firstly take the bass to your luthier and see what you can do with the soundpost or anything else. I have one of Mike Pecanic's tailpieces. It is impossible to use an adjustable or compensated or anything but a standard design tailpiece with the Pirastro gut strings so that's what Mike ended making for me. In my case I suspected that a lighter tailpiece would help and it did - it make the sound of the whole bass louder. After some discussion with Mike I chose Claro Walnut (with some gorgeous figuring) as the wood because it is very light.

    And I agree that you're talking about apples and oranges here. The whole thing about whether an extension will improve the low end sound (when you've got the E capo closed) is very subjective and open to debate and no I don't want to get into a whole thing about extra weight and A0/B0 matching and all that. I only know that a lot of guys with extensions have said that it has improved the low end of their bass but others have said it has not. Whether that's due to the change in the weight, sympathetic resonance on the additional string length (even when it's closed) or whatever I don't know. I certainly don't think you should have any expectation of it. If you need an extension for the lower notes then get one but make sure you get someone good to do it.
  6. George F. Schmidtt

    George F. Schmidtt

    Dec 21, 1999
    I went to a plastic tailpiece on one of my basses (with no extension) and it really opened it up. On my bass with the extension I still have a ebony tailpiece but it doesn't need anything else. With the low C (sometimes tuned to A to match the piano) it has enough low end although at this frequency I think that everyone is feeling the vibrations rather than hearing any sound.
  7. George - was that "plastic" by any chance one of the Wittner Ultra Light Composite tailpiece?
  8. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I have one of those, haven't put it on. Should I?
  9. I can't advise you one way or the other. I have not had one in my hands. I understand that it is lighter than any wood tailpiece, so that might be a plus if your playing is primarily pizz.
  10. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    We've been using the Wittner composite tailpiece on the laminated New Standards. I'm impressed with it and encourage bassists to try it if they want a low-weight tailpiece that's easy to install (with their special wire). However, if your bass is wolfy, the lack of mass could be a problem...
  11. Alex Scott

    Alex Scott

    May 8, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I put it on, seems better for my bass, will have to let it settle
  12. mchildree

    mchildree Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Arnold, were you installing the Wittner tailpieces on New Standards when mine was built? I had noticed that the posted specs listed boxwood, but my tailpiece didn't appear to be boxwood.
  13. George F. Schmidtt

    George F. Schmidtt

    Dec 21, 1999
    Bob, and anyone else who is interested...Yes, it is a Wittner. It appears that all of the other string intrument players have migrated to the light weight synthetic tail pieces long ago. Why are we "innovative" bass players so far behind all of the others?
  14. Perhaps because basses, unlike their smaller cousins in the violin family, are pretty much non-standardized. Also, basses are the only member of the family that is played extensively by plucking the string in addition to bowing it. As a result, light weight tailpieces do not work well for ALL basses. We tend to generalize that pizz players prefer lighter tailpieces while arco players prefer heavier tailpieces. That all it is - a generalization. Every bass is different, so we just try to find what works best with that particular bass. Light weight tailpieces are not best for everyone.
  15. I would like to know whether different woods on pecanic tailpeices affect sound like they do on an electric bass , or at all...and do the pecanic adjustable bridges affect the sound (the screws on the adjusters)...