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So, I took the end pin challenge ...

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by rolandm, Sep 14, 2015.


  1. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note.

    Aug 8, 2010
    Peoria, IL
    I finally got some vacation time, and I'm staying at home, so when I was out running errands today, I took my Chadwick's end pin with me and made a stop at the local woodworking specialty store. I found that the Glasser Carbon Fiber end pin that came with my bass had a twist-lock on it that would accommodate a 3/8 inch dowel. So I picked dowels up of cherry, oak and black walnut. When I tried them in the bass, I preferred the walnut, which is not surprising due to the Traeger book I read reporting that give a lot more volume and tone.

    My daughter agreed with what I thought of the switches, too. Cherry seemed a bit tighter, but still pretty full sounding.

    I do have a question for others who have tried this. Have you tried turning a full, plug-sized end pin out of a wood you liked, and if so, did you like the results, or not?
     
  2. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman

    Jan 1, 2010
    Fairly recently I was pulling my bass out of its case and setting up for a show. When I pulled my (metal) endpin out and turned the screw to tighten it, nothing happened. The threads in the collar had completely stripped out and there was no way to keep the endpin from sliding up into the bass.

    Downbeat for "Pippin" was in 20 minutes and here I was with no way to hold my bass up. I quickly ran to the percussionist and begged/borrowed a drum stick from him. Then I mad a crude measurement and ran upstairs to the prop department where a good samaritan cut it to my estimated length. Surprisingly, it held up pretty well. In fact, some of the other string players on the other side of the pit commented that my bass sounded better - more open and resonant.

    This was enough impetus for me to do the Traeger endpin thing. I ordered a new endpin assembly and got a drum stick to use instead of the metal rod that came with it. (a hickory 2B...the only kind of wood in the right size at the time)

    The bass definitely sounds better with a wooden endpin. I may experiment with different woods in the future, but for now, I've got more pressing things to worry about: Warning: Gruesome Photos Ahead! | TalkBass.com
     
  3. Martin Beer

    Martin Beer

    Dec 4, 2004
    I've thought about trying the dowel endpin trick, but haven't got around to it yet. My bass has a 5/8" endpin with the little round puck inside which prevents the screw from digging into the rod, which seems ideal. I've got a weekend of unamped playing lined up at the end of the month and it seems like anything that could help squeeze a little extra projection out of the bass is worth trying. Is walnut generally favoured?
     
    rolandm likes this.
  4. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note.

    Aug 8, 2010
    Peoria, IL
    According to Traeger, it is, for the most part. Everything depends on your bass, and the tone did change between oak, cherry and walnut for me, so there's that.
     
  5. DHoss

    DHoss Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2005
    Connecticut
    Some great insights above on using wooden end pins. I had tinkered with oak and poplar dowels, and as suggested by a fellow bassist, a fiberglass driveway marker.
    On my ply bass, oak is more resonant than steel, poplar's at the bottom of the list, and fiberglass has a compressed sound. The wooden dowels' exposed length is 4": good for sitting using an end pin anchor. Longer lengths of wood while standing cause major flexing (the bass looks like it's hoola hooping, lol) and failure.
    Thanks for mentioning walnut. I'll have to search for some.
    DSCN0204_zpskqlaa3hw.jpg '] DSCN0204_zpskqlaa3hw.jpg [/URL]
    6edea290-370b-462e-b99a-60e383b88197_zpshpjr3fdc.jpg '] 6edea290-370b-462e-b99a-60e383b88197_zpshpjr3fdc.jpg [/URL]

    OT tinkering: I summoned up the courage to undertake Matthew Tucker's method of making a C bout access port. I installed mine on the bass bar side intending to reduce the mass of the end pin block (the bass felt bottom heavy), corner blocks and bass bar while still allowing sound post fiddling. After doing conservative sanding & planing, the E & A strings have more cushion and the corpus vibrates more freely. The challenge is guessing when to stop!
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2015
    rolandm likes this.
  6. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note.

    Aug 8, 2010
    Peoria, IL
    Well, I have a huge trapdoor in the back of my Chadwick, so I don't necessarily worry about the C-bout ports. But yeah, Traeger said that (on most basses) walnut worked best. I have a 3/8 dowel rod, but was considering making a larger, complete endpin and plug assembly and seeing how that works out. I have a friend with a lathe, so the only issue would be getting the stock and making the taper perfect so that there is a completely connected piece of wood in there. My guess is that if you remove anything that can rob vibration, you stand a better chance. And granted, I am working with a bass with a metal insert that secures a removable fingerboard, a neck that is not glued in place, and the afore-mentioned trap door.

    But once I get a few pins made of different sizes, I plan on doing a measurement on them to see what woods inherently worked better at give frequencies. So far, I have carbon fiber, oak (very high-mid heavy sounding), cherry (compressed, but even) and walnut (big, full and very clear in the lower registers), with walnut being the clear favorite over all of them. What I'm wanting to ascertain is, if I created a larger endpin (with more mass) would that work for or against the tone and volume gains in this instrument.

    Then again, that can always be taken too far as well. Traeger did also caution that a louder sound is not always equal to optimal sound. Just because something is loud, doesn't mean it won't have a more pleasing sound at a quieter volume. But I'll keep pushing until something makes me say, "Woah, that was a bridge too far."
     
  7. Martin Beer

    Martin Beer

    Dec 4, 2004
    I picked up some pieces of 5/8" walnut and oak dowel to try out. It's hard to tell in my small living room without bothering the downstairs neighbour, but I'm sure I can hear a little more lows with the walnut. It will be interesting to try them out in a larger space where I don't have to hold back. The walnut seems almost boomy in my small room, but then again that may be just the thing in a larger room.
    However, if I choose to stick with a wooden endpin I might have to go with something thicker as I usually have about 25cm (10") of rod sticking out and I can feel the wood flexing slightly which is disconcerting.
     
  8. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note.

    Aug 8, 2010
    Peoria, IL
    I keep my endpin at about 6" out, and with 3/8" it does flex a bit more than I am accustomed to with the carbon fiber.
     
  9. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Its great to see folks experimenting with end pin materials! It can make a huge difference to the sound produced by a bass.

    I just wanted to add that most of my clients choose a maple stick, followed by walnut in second place and then the OEM Ulsa hollow steel tube. Nobody's ever preferred the sound of oak or mahogany on their bass. :cool:
     
  10. Martin Beer

    Martin Beer

    Dec 4, 2004
    What are people doing with the bottom of their wooden endpins? Rubber crutch tip, metal spike or just bare wooden end?
     
  11. Don C

    Don C

    Jan 13, 2007
    Victoria BC
    I made endpins from several different woods, Maple, Walnut, Ash, Padauk, Oak, and Pernambuca.
    They all have a slightly different sound.
    After much expirimentation we settled on the Ash, Padauk, and Walnut as our favorites.
    I usually put a Carbide spike in the end as I prefer this approach.
    Another Bassist, who has a Laborie style endpin just puts a rubber foot on the end.
     
  12. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Shepherd makes a white rubber chair leg tip in 5/8" that will keep the bass from skating but the best is the New Harmony End Pin Ball and adapter. :thumbsup:

    Products - NHM
     
    Jon Mush likes this.
  13. DC Bass

    DC Bass Supporting Member

    Mar 28, 2010
    Washington DC
    To those experimenting with different endpin materials- wood is a great option that that can yield very interesting results, but don't forget to try different metals too. I tried aluminum and titanium, with the latter being my favorite.

    Joe
     
    james condino and rolandm like this.
  14. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    I have the Ulsa in my Kay and prefer the hollow tube. I've got a cane tip on it.
     
    Jake deVilliers likes this.
  15. Jake deVilliers

    Jake deVilliers Commercial User

    May 24, 2006
    Crescent Beach, BC
    Owner of The Bass Spa, String Repairman at Long & McQuade Vancouver
    Kays seem to like the focus that comes with the slightly denser end pin, whether maple, tubular steel or carbon fibre.
     
  16. Greg Clinkingbeard

    Greg Clinkingbeard Commercial User

    Apr 4, 2005
    Kansas City area
    Black Dog Bass Works
    The tone with the tube is a bit clearer and i don't worry about chewing up dowels or drumsticks.

    I have a maple KC Strings 'Peg Leg' in my old German and the tone is much deeper and warmer than with a conventional steel pin.
     
    Jake deVilliers likes this.
  17. tbplayer59

    tbplayer59

    Jan 20, 2013
    Admittedly I know very little about double bass physics, but to me an obvious question is, Why not ebony for the end pin? It seems do be the preferred hardwood for everything else on the instrument.
     
  18. rolandm

    rolandm In search of the lowest note.

    Aug 8, 2010
    Peoria, IL
    It's too prone to breakage due to its hardness, according to Traeger. Same with Rosewood. The point of the endpin experiment is that the endpin has to vibrate freely, and in balance with the rest of the bass. That's why one bass sounds great with a particular wood, but another bass would sound awful with it. Different materials, carved vs. ply, vs. hybrid, different setups. All of it together makes for an optimal sound and tone when it's in balance.
     
    tbplayer59 likes this.
  19. powerbass

    powerbass

    Nov 2, 2006
    western MA
    Here is my home made endpin. I used 3/8" aluminum rod epoxied into a 3/4"x 3/4" piece of walnut, this dimension is ideal for a rubber end cap. I started w/a square piece of walnut and planed it into a multi sided sorta round shape. I recently made a better one which I turned on a lathe. I like the aluminum shaft, you can tighten down hard on it. The bass (Thompson RM200) has different feel pizz/arco if I tighten the end pin or leave it loose
     

    Attached Files:

  20. Carl Hillman

    Carl Hillman

    Jan 1, 2010

    Crutch tips from the pharmacy. They have metal inserts in the bottom, they're made to accommodate different diameters, and you can buy a box of four for five bucks.

    CVS Small Base Quad Cane Tips 1/2 Inch - CVS.com
     
    Jim Ford and tbplayer59 like this.
  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.

     
    Mar 1, 2021

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