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Questions About Ramps For Those Who Use/Build Them

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bryan R. Tyler, Mar 23, 2005.


  1. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I've had a little interest in ramps for a while as I like the feel of playing over a pickup, so I've got a few questions if anyone's game:

    1. Can ramps be installed without altering the top of your bass with screws or velcro? Can they simply be made to tightly fit between your pickups, or would the pressure of your thumb move it?
    2. I imagine to get the most out of a ramp, it needs to be close to the strings. Do you find that you don't alter the height of your pickups anymore after a ramp is installed, so as not to vary the height relationship between the pickups and ramp?
    3. Do you have your ramps built to match the normal height you keep your pickups at?
    4. Am I correct in assuming the top of the ramp would need to match the curve of the strings (which usually corresponds with the radius of the fretboard) to maintain the same distance between the ramp and the strings?
    5. If you care to share, how much did adding your ramp cost, and do you feel it was worth the expense?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Brendan

    Brendan

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    1- Double sided tape. It's what Gary Willis uses, at any rate.
    2- Generally, they're level with the the fretboard, I believe. So, if the pickup is higher or lower shouldn't matter too much unless you're just barely not hitting the pickup with the strings.
    3- Between the pickups? Probably. Between the neck and the neck pickup? No. I think they're to spec with the fretboard height.
    4- More than likely. You can have a flat ramp. Try playing right over a pickup, and if that (a flat pickup face) doesn't feel too strange, then you could probably live with a flat ramp. Most are radiused, I think.
    5- Free, but I've wood and a stepfather who's had more woodworking experience than I've been alive.

    Don't have the bass I used it with anymore, and probably couldn't find the ramp if you asked me.
     
  3. SirPoonga

    SirPoonga

    Jan 18, 2005
    I'e been thinking about ramps. Are their only purpose as a device to let you know where your hand is in reference to the strings?

    I'm learning bass. I have a pbass and right now I play over the pickups with my thumb touching the edge of the pickup. With that technique it didn't take long for me to "feel" where each string was in relation to the pickup and I no longer have to look at the right hand to make sure it is on the right string. However, when I play closer to the neck I get that nice deep sound Ps are known for. But I have nothing to anchor my thumb to. I have tried the closest screw in the pickguard but it is too close to the strings and feels akward.

    If that is the only purpose of the ramp why make it go under then entire set of strings? Looks?
     
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    The main purpose of a ramp is so that you can have the feel of the pickups underneath your plucking fingers as you play. It keeps you from digging in too much as your fingers can't go any deeper past the strings than the height of the ramp. It also stops your fingers just after they go through the strings, so it's possible for a ramp to let you play faster, as your recovery time after plucking the string is shortened.
     
  5. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Oh, and they do look cool as well ;)
     
  6. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Go to this Pedulla page:

    http://www.basscentral.com/2003/pedulla.shtml

    And go down to the Mark Egan 5 String, and click on the picture, and you will see a small piece of wood between the pickups just for a thumbrest.

    Thumbrest:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    The thumbREST is the opposite of what I Bryan's looking for...you anchor your thumb on the rest and use the ramp for the floating thumb technique.

    I believe the above Nordstrand is emjazz's old Nordy. Great looking bass!
     
  8. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I think tim99's posts were for SirPoonga, who had a ramp and a thumbrest confused, and stated that he needed something like a thumbrest.
     
  9. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Thank you Bryan.
     
  10. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    I think these guitars have the opposite of a ramp:
    [​IMG]
     
  11. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    I use this ramp for my floating technique:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Seeing that pic makes me envision a sprawling rock opera wherein the battle between good and evil rockers climaxes with the bad guy falling from a height and impaling himself on all those c*ck-rock headstocks.

    But maybe that's just me...
     
  13. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
  14. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Sorry Sir Tim, I stand corrected. You are right on point. Nice golden retriever too.

    My boxer Maggie doesn't have a floating technique, she seems to only employ the sinking variation.
     
  15. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Thanks Brendan. Anyone else?
     
  16. Wilbyman

    Wilbyman

    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    You might PM Emjazz and give him a heads up, he had Jack Read make his if I'm not mistaken. Alternatively, any thought to getting Rob Elrick to make it for you? (I think he's made some in the past....)
     
  17. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    I've seen one Elrick ramp before-it's a good idea if I go with one. I've only spoken to him once before-the only way you can contact him is to call his home phone (no email), and I'd feel bad about calling his house and asking him about them without knowing for sure if I'd want them.
     
  18. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Boston, MA
    That indeed is my old Nordie up there. What a beauty!

    Having a ramp made for me was the best thing that I ever did for my playing (next to getting my butt whooped on the bandstand time after time). The ramp should definately be the same radius as your fingerboard (at least the end of the fingerboard in the cases where the radius differs slightly down the board.) You want to go to a hardware store to get the more heavy duty double sided tape. Your typical Scotch double sided tape will just move around and eventually not stick. To get the most out of the ramp you want to get it right up close to the strings, hence the radius being the same as the fingerboard. With a perfect setup you can get the ramp really close.

    At first it may feel a little awkward to play over the ramp but with some time and patience you'll never go without one. I've been able to work up to the point where I use my thumb and three fingers on my right hand consistently where I no longer have to think about it. It allows for many different sounds from the bass that aren't available otherwise. Watch out though, it can be addictive and it's easy to overplay at first. You're shredder friends may start getting mad at you. ;)

    As for price, every luthier will charge a different price but it shouldn't be much. Around $100 at best. You should really make sure that you have someone that can radius it properly to do it for you though. It'll make a huge difference.

    Have fun!
     
  19. sargebaker

    sargebaker Commercial User

    May 2, 2004
    Montreal QC CA
    owner/builder, ISLAND Instrument Mfg.
    I just had a birdseye maple ramp installed on my spector. He didn't have a piece thick enough (I assume) so the ramp was a tiny bit shorter than the pickups but I just lowered the pickups to make them the same height. He had told me he would screw it on...but when I got it it was glued... I still need to drop a line and ask what was up with that. The ramp is flat, matches the surface of my pickups, (EMG) the bass is fretted. I notice that when I'm playing in my room or practicing I do play with a lot lighter touch, but when I jammed it played harder than ever before (But i think thats because my amp was quieter than it should have been that day :meh: ) Oh well, I hope this helps.

    note: my ramp is located between the bridge and neck pickup.