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Room to Spitccato

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Johnny L, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I've got a Strunal, and I'm guessing if anyone else has one of these then they've got pretty much the same bass.

    I'm working on my spiccato, and when I'm on the G string I'm just about bumping into the side of the bass (I think it's called a C-bout, but I may be wrong) to keep away from the D string as my facility increases. I tried muting the D a little as I played, but those pesky D harmonics occasionally like to come out.

    Do the other Strunal owners out there have this problem? If so, what did you do besides live with it and keep practicing (and saving your bread for a better bass)? Did you or your luthier take issue with this during the setup? Anyone have any quick/dirty/cheap/innovative fixes that cost less than $20?
  2. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Strunals are wide in the c-bout, and they have a relatively low bridge due to the neck set angle. Either raise your strings or start shopping. Neck reset would be prohibatively expensive for such a bass.
  3. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Thanks for the advice Arnold. After what I've learned so far, one would think that I'd have better sense than to set a $20 limit on anything double bass related...

    I pretty much wasted what was left of my bridge before a luthier got ahold of it (jacking around for a quick, dirty solution to this very problem), and so the adjusters are about as far up as they'll go. Not to say he didn't do a great setup with what I gave him.

    I was even considering taking a file and removing some wood from the C-bout (I've rejected that idea). I've imagined removing the fingerboard and shimming it up to a steeper angle, but then I'd have to get a new bridge anyway (and I'm sure it would all look and sound bad enough to get my teacher on me again about letting folks who know what the hell they're doing get the credit they deserve again)...

    One of these days, I'm going to start shopping!
  4. This is the least expensive solution. No top removal, chopping neck tenon, and it's reversible.
  5. The problem with the "poor man's wedge" is that it makes neck that much thicker down near the heel of the neck and makes it harder to play downd there. In a true wedge, you reshape the neck itself so that it is the same thickness and shape as it before the wedge was inserted. Unfortunatey, that's not inexpensive nor reversible.
  6. Yeah well I guess it depends on how much is much. Going from zero at the nut to 3/16" at neck heel will give you around 3/8" extra height in the bowing area, about the range required for extra bow clearance. That's not too obnoxious. It improves playability in thumb position by bringing the string line further out from the upper bouts.
    I prefer shims on thin neck basses from playability and a structural, and acoustic standpoints. A maple shim with a nut to heel taper of 3mm to 5mm does wonders for those spindley Kay, Englehardt and other student size necks.
    This upgrade can make the bass sound better. I think part of it is because it forces a higher bridge to drive the "sturdy" top harder, but it also seems to give these basses a more solid tone with more sustain, much like you'd expect from a heavier fingerboard.
    You can also plane the shim with X-axis taper to improve f/b accessability without cutting meat off the f/b. This however wouldn't improve jonnyell's dilemma with clearance at the c-bout.
    I think this upgrade is usually more prudent structurally and financially than opening the bass up and pushing the neck forward or rechopping the neck block.
  7. Pete - I agree with you that a wedge (shim in Chicago) will many times help a bass. I just disagree with you that even a 3/16 increase in the thickness of the neck at the heel is insignificant. A change like that would bother the hell out of me. Thumb position is not the only thing I worry about.