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Questions about adding a C extension

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Ron Plichta, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. Ron Plichta

    Ron Plichta

    May 19, 2007
    Fairfax, VA
    My bass shows signs of having an extension on it in its past and so I'm not too worried about the cosmetics part. I'm more interested in the practicality of having one installed. My goal is to join a community orchestra and my instructor and a local luthier have commented that my current bass is good enough for that level of performance. And frankly, I'm getting quite used to it, so I'm wondering if I should consider one sometime during my development so that I get used to using one well before I get to the orchestral level or are they really not that big of a deal to have?
  2. Adam Attard

    Adam Attard

    Feb 9, 2009
    You definitely don't *need* one. It's not an absolutely necessity to hit those low notes, and many pros get along without them. But if you'd like to, it certainly is ideal to have one if you can! I don't have one on my current instrument but have used them before- if you don't have an extension done absolutely right, it can be a real pain- the intonation of the capos can be off, it can make odd clunking noises, capos can get stuck if not maintained...

    But besides all those things, if you get a really well done extension and keep it up well, it's really really awesome, and actually playing the notes down the octave is great (and incredibly psychologically satisfying). But for a community orchestra I wouldn't fret about not having one.
  3. I am in a similar situation as you and play bass but in a wind ensemble that has no other stringed instruments except me. I end up playing a fair number of Tuba parts which often have notes going well below what I can do. What I have done to over come this is to tune my E to D and it sounds great and from what I'm told this is a fairly common way to tune. Any lower and I get afair amount of string fwapping as it is too loose. But the E string down to a D sounds great and doesn't cost you anything. This might be an option for you.

    Just my .02 :)

  4. I am in a similar situation...amateur playing in a community orchestra. And I a fortunate to have a wonderful bass with a C-extension. At first, I thought this thing is not all that useful but I soon discovered I was wrong. The whole orchestra and especially the conductor tell me how much they value having those low notes. I am the only member of section that has an extension and the rest of my bass playing colleagues sometimes give a little "yes" when they hear those note. I do find it requires practice, especially if you have several notes below E in a row. I encourage you to try it for your own personal satisfaction. Your colleagues will love you for it too.
  5. I too am the only one in my community orchestra with an extension but this allows me the title of Principal Bass with C-Extension, even though I am on the second desk and don't come close to playing at the level of our Principal Bass!
  6. Anonymatt


    Jan 3, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Thanks guys, was wondering about this stuff recently.
  7. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    How do you mean "maintained"? Most modern capo designs are pretty maintenance free in my experience. But yes, you do want to go to a reputable builder. Preferably someone who is not too far away and whose previous work you can have a look at.
  8. Adam Attard

    Adam Attard

    Feb 9, 2009
    I've had a couple of friends with extensions that need to be periodically cleaned and slightly lubricated (the capos get stuck and harder to swing into place). I'm not familiar with every extension maker, and many don't require that, I'm sure.
  9. Herbie 80's

    Herbie 80's

    Dec 15, 2008
    All you need to decide is whether you'll go mechanical, capo'd, or fingered!
  10. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    Maybe give the players in the Fairfax Symphony a call to see if they have one installed and go give a bass with an extension a try.

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