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Quality of various extensions

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by wathaet, Nov 16, 2018.


  1. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    I am increasingly frustrated with my current extension which replaced an extension from Dawson which also had issues.
    Having owned extensions made by Hachez, Threlkeld, Dawson, Martin (one Fawcett and one with basscapos) and having seen and played a large variety of extensions I would like to get an idea of the pros and cons of all the extensions out there.
    Shipping my bass to the US just to get an extension is a bit much, but a friend of mine in a London Orchestra did just that. He was fortunate enough to combine it with a US tour he was doing and also had other work done at Robertsons.
    I will be changing out the Hill extension again and maybe adding one to my new bass currently being made.
    Here is my take on what I have owned.

    Hachez:
    Beautiful Rosewood on one and ebony on the other.
    Slim design that suited the bass
    Nicely angled Surface, increasing towards the C
    Stops always closed correctly, never under the string
    Low maintenance
    Nice solid tunable C nut

    Only con is that it was not tunable other than the C.
    Old model neded the leather pad changed every 5-10 years
    That is now a non issue AFAIK.

    Threllkeld was same as above, but ebony. Classic Robertsons design
    This was while he was at Robertsons still.

    Dawson
    clunky
    flat Surface, overly wide
    Stops sound good, but tend to rattle and you quickly change tuning as the sleeve gets dented over time.
    not tunable
    Metal low c nut that is sort of tunable, can rattle
    Can go under the string if not careful

    Martin with basscapos
    clunky, but better than Dawson
    flat Surface
    tunable C, but it broke after a few years
    tunable sort of
    E tends to be high maintenace and quickly is unable to stop string properly on very powerful basses. On my Hill, first page of Romeo and Juliet always requires a check after every E as it works itself open.
    even when tightened.
    stop can go under string, but not as easily as the dawson

    I am limiting myself to the ones I have first hand experience with as an owner.

    Please help me add to this list
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  2. I thought your new bass was going to be a 5-string.
     
  3. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    I tried a fivestring version if that is what you mean, but that was because there was no fourstring version in the shop. If I had gotten a B21, I would have gotten a five and a fourstring neck, but that is not the model I want.
     
    csrund likes this.
  4. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    Schnitzer extension on AES#34; no problems. Kieran O'Hara has taken over the shop and is continuing the tradition of fine work.
     
    arnoldschnitzer likes this.
  5. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    The surface on the ones I have seen is flat. Is this true on yours?
    What material contacts the string?

    How well does it stand up to the various Robertsons versions?
     
  6. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    I have not played Marios extensions, but I like the fact that he makes them something other than a 2x4" massive square thing. They can at times be a bit over the top, but if they also hold up mechanically over time, he may be on my shortlist unless I can find someone that makes extensions of this caliber on this side of the atlantic.
    I recall a conversation with Ali Y. about some sort of tactile reference on every halfstep. Mario is the only one I have seen that now does this. Robertsons has a thumb reference that works Db and D, but nothingfor first finger Eb. Most don't even make any reference at all which is sub-optimal.

    Kriegel makes a slim, lightweight and a mechanically excellent extension, but the aesthetics still could be a bit better. The adjustable height is a bonus.
     
  7. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    I’ve never seen one of theirs. I don’t remember what mine is made of, but the part under the string is ebony. The E string fingerboard geometry continues up the extension. I have an additional closer at D, and that’s been sufficient so far. I’ve thought off and on about the English machine, but it has way too many little screws and stuff for someone like me who likes to futz around with things.
     
    robobass likes this.
  8. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    I installed brass brads at the Dd/D/Eb halfstep locations on my Lisa Gass/LA Bassworks extension:
    Very Han-dy. (Sorry.)
    IMG_3766.JPG
     
  9. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Have you seen extensions from Laurence Dixon in London? He makes a lot of them. As far as reliability of my E-Stop, I wish people would contact me when they have problems. I offer a 10 year warranty, but have to repair or replace only maybe one in two thousand parts. If the E doesn't stay closed then there are things which can be done. If this was a common problem I wouldn't be selling so many, and most sales are to shops which have been buying from me for many years.
     
    MDrost1 likes this.
  10. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    From your description I'm guessing the string is very high when open to C. How much scoop do you have? Does the extension fingerboard follow the scoop well? Perhaps the extension nut is too high, which might be done to compensate for a poorly matched extension board.
     
    MDrost1 likes this.
  11. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    The scoop is good, that is not the issue. In fact there is no nut at all since it broke. I have to finger the C since it is flat at most dynamics, depending a bit on the string.
    I vary my stringheight a lot depending on the task at hand. The issue is the flat/low profile finger that does not guide the string when closing very fast like in Beethoven 3. It also does not guide the string in to a consistant side to side position, particularly when closing fast. Not fun at all. This is a non-issue with top of the line proven designs like the Robertson extensions.
     
  12. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Robertsons builds the finger to the bass. I make a universal finger which gets put on a bass I likely will never see. 99% of the time it works fine out of the box. I'm sorry you are in the 1%. It could be the angle of the finger needs adjusting. I say again, I wish people would contact me if things aren't working out before dissing me on a web forum. If you do contact me and I can't help you, then go ahead and diss me all you want.
     
  13. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Also, I will challenge anyone with a Robertsons extension to a "gate speed battle" using say the B Minor Mass. My Capos are simply faster.
     
  14. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    Good for you. You are, of course, completely neutral with no skin in the game.
    I have other preferences, and having owned both as an end user, I would swap out for a Robertson or Threlkeld extension ASAP if I could drive there or fly them in to have the work done here.

    The Dixons I have seen is a variant of the cheap british extensions you used to see a lot in London. It is what was on the bass when I bought it. Maybe they are different now.

    This is a forum where we routinely rank gear and have different needs, opinions and preferences.
    This is sort if the point of a gear forum. Not every manufacturer gets a medal and a pat on the back.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  15. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    Well, I just think that a gear review carries more weight if the producer was contacted directly with a problem before the review was posted. I'm sure that even Walter Woods shipped at least one amp in his lifetime with which a customer had problems. I hope that the customer didn't write in a public place that "WW amps burn out after two gigs" without contacting Walter first.

    I can't say that much about Laurence's extensions personally, as I haven't seen any recent ones. He is a gifted builder though. I got to play the house bass he made for Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. It was absolutely first class. I have visited him a few times, and we have worked together on a custom bracket design made specifically to retrofit those top-mounted Dawson latches with my hardware. He is very involved with extensions. I would check him out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  16. wathaet

    wathaet

    May 27, 2007
    There is nothing to contact you about. I don’t care for them or their design and want them replaced with something that is atleast relatively maintenance free and just works without interfering with how I prefer to play the extension.

    The thread was, before it was hijacked, intended to get end user feedback on what is out there, not Fenders marketing department telling me how great their basses are and how they can play faster on theirs than anyone can on the competition.
     
  17. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    OK fine. I have no marketing department though. It's just me. I work alone.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
    Don Kasper likes this.
  18. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    I would encourage you to discuss (with whatever maker you decide upon) and ask what formula and methodology they use to calculate the overall length of the C extension - esp. the placement of the C nut, and the chromatic stops and/or "tactile references" for the Db, D, and Eb notes.
    There is an obsolete, yet still popular, formula of using "1/4" (or 25%) of the mensure of the E string to calculate the length and placement of the C ext. nut. This formula will NOT result in an extension that is in tune or the correct length - it is TOO SHORT, and will not allow both the "open C" to be in tune with the "stopped E" - and Vice Versa. (Have you experienced this phenomenon with your current and/or past extensions?)
    A more accurate formula would be to use "26.3% of the E string mensure" to calculate the length of the C ext., or, use "126.3% of the E string mensure" to calculate the Overall Length of the C string, from Bridge to C string nut.
    I don't have any financial interest in providing this information to you, (I'm not "selling" anything), I just have spent an unhealthy amount of time regarding the tuning issues of the Open C string, the Closed E string, and the Chromatic notes in between.
    I'm happy to run a calculation for you - please provide the E string mensure and I'll provide the optimal Length of the C extension, and the locations of the Chromatic notes in between, so that you can compare with your eventual maker's methodology.
    Thank You for your time.
    Also - use the Search function in this Forum regarding my, (and robobass's), INDEPENDENT confirmation of this formula.
     
  19. salcott

    salcott Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2007
    NYC, Inwood.
    My AES extension has a simple moveable nut that enables accurate tuning.
     
    Matthew Tucker likes this.
  20. Don Kasper

    Don Kasper Supporting Member

    Q: Are both your open C string (in tune) and Stopped E (in tune) simultaneously in tune with each other? (Lightly Pizzicato - using an electronic tuner and also, Arco - using available harmonics ,and/or sympathetic vibration of open strings?)
    Just wondering.
    Thanks, Steve.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Apr 18, 2021

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