1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

sound post setup

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Sergio Barrozo, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. I would like to learn to setup the sound post of my bass. Anyone knows if there is any book or article explaining this?
  2. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    Two websites to check out: David Gage's website with the articles he writes for Bass Player, and Jeff Bollbach's website with the article on just how important setting the soundpost correctly can be.

    Besides this info, the right tools (you can get them from Lemur) and a "No Fear" sticker on the rear window of your pickup are the only things you'll need.

    Sorry, I got the wrong luthier the first time around...
  3. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    www.newstandardbass.com in the "Chat" area under "Setup".
  4. jonas


    Dec 9, 2003
    Frankfurt am Main/Germany
    Kontrabass-Atelier, Lando Music (Germany)
    Some years ago, I've got a video tape from the luthier named Dery (Gardena, CA 90249, USA). He has developped a soundpost caliper tool, to enable every amateur luthier or player to set up the soundpost on his own. I've never ordered the caliper (it's price was 230$, what was too much for me at this time). But the video tape was very informative.
    Does anybody knows this caliper?
  5. matt macgown

    matt macgown Guest

    Dec 1, 2003
    Chattanooga, TN
    My sound post tools for the last 50 years: (ready?)

    a long piece of string (use becomes obvious after first trial)

    A one - handle, small car "jack handle" (not four), or: A flat 15 inch pry bar (flat like a chisel, sharply curved at one end, gently at the other)

    A healthy, long barbeque fork!

    mirror on a stick, at angle (goes with the flexible ruler).

    Duh. Many soundposts later - same tools. Not to be recommended for violins or violas, cellos! Cost? Just part of the tool shed.
  6. What does it do?
  7. Sam Sherry

    Sam Sherry Inadvertent Microtonalist Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2001
    Portland, ME
    Euphonic Audio "Player"
    I use three tools.

    a) Pliers with a dime-sized hole in the middle to hold the soundpost. I got it from my dad; I think it's a brake-tool and he got it at an auto-parts place for five bucks.

    b) Sharp-pointed thingy with spatula-with-cutouts on the other end.

    I use either the sharp-ended thingy or the brake-tool to stand the post up rough, the spatula-with-cutouts widget to position the bottom where I want it, and either the spatula or the brake-tool to adjust the top.

    c) And of course the extendable-claw doohickey to grab the post when it falls down the first sixty times is also key. That one is taped all over so it doesn't stcratch the f-holes.

    I bet there are spiffy luthier names for this stuff -- "Oh yeah, that's an ipso-framjus. I bought one from Irving Sloan -- it's very nicely engraved, and only cost seven hundred dollars."
  8. I drive to Brewster, NY.
  9. here's a picture of all you really need…


    …how they are used to fit the post, and how to cut the post, trim the ends at the correct angle… aye, there's the rub!


    - Wil
  10. matt macgown

    matt macgown Guest

    Dec 1, 2003
    Chattanooga, TN
    Excuse my ignorance, but what's the electrical doohicky for?
  11. Drop it in the F hole to light up the inside.
  12. matt macgown

    matt macgown Guest

    Dec 1, 2003
    Chattanooga, TN

    On soundposts, I imagine everything on the globe has already been tried. I've got a new one coming in from Maine, off beat tree species.

    Is anyone familiar with trials on a two piece post, for example, a post hollowed (drilled) through the center to accomodate another smaller internal post of different material(wood species)? (Why? Rarely does any of this tinkering result in an improvement, but it keeps the hands from mischief).

    That's just the tinkering gene working, of course, but sound post can change the bass dramatically.
  13. matt macgown

    matt macgown Guest

    Dec 1, 2003
    Chattanooga, TN
    I guess, after reading the "soundposts" sections in the "Links," it would raise the hair on the back of real luthiers necks to hear about such crude methods. Never the less, they work very well if you're careful, and take an hour or two to make sure things are copascetic. And I've never had one come through the back, or front, yet. I don't work on expensive instruments, though - that's a luthier's job!
  14. I've made all of my own soundposts for at least 30 years. In the past I experimented with different species, but always came back to spruce. Even within the same spruce species there is a tremendous difference in the density and hardness. A harder post will often brighen a dark sounding bass and a soft post will often darken an overly bright instrument. Finding exactly what degree of hardness is right for a particular (problem) instrument is the problem. With all that said, a medium density spuce works well with 90% of all the instrument I've seen. Most commericial pre-made soundpost blanks fall into the medium density category. Needless to say, none of them work well if the post is not properly precision fitted.
  15. matt macgown

    matt macgown Guest

    Dec 1, 2003
    Chattanooga, TN
    Thanks. That's about the way it's worked out for me, as well, and I invariably revert to the original post that came in the instrument - which seems to be about medium density spruce. (though some laminated basses vary in that considerably).

    I plan to drill one out - fill the middle with a smaller second post, to make a "hard and soft" one, shortly, wondering if some vibrations may make it through that might not otherwise. This may be a futile effort, too, but since I'm curious, may as well try it.

    If it is a miserable failure, no one will ever hear about it, of course.
  16. Maybe you should get yourself a Lucchi wood tester. It is supposed to take some of the guess work out of wood selection.
  17. matt macgown

    matt macgown Guest

    Dec 1, 2003
    Chattanooga, TN
    I don't know exactly (or even roughly) what the Lucchi is. Instead, I've got years of forestry and woods work (at the really rough levels, like saws and axes) and done quite a lot of x ray work on woods - conifers! And have a fair amount of "refined" work on histology of wood, and other plant materials. So I sort of judge a piece of wood based on that experience - my first thought on any piece of wood is, "What would I do to that in a histology setting - dessication, infiltrations, and all such - to preserve all the structure "as is" and yet dehydrate it - etc.

    It's a lopsided viewpoint for instrument woods, and has nothing to do with sounds that have to go through it. I'm a rank amateur from the get go on that part.

    I plan to try some dehydration processes on sound posts later this year, to see if I can produce one that is fractionally better than what I can get commercially, preserving all the cell structures, etc. Probably a miniscule differece, if any. And maybe a complete waste of time.

    Once a bass is built, it seems to me the parameters for improving it are very narrow, and the parameters for wreaking havoc on it, very broad! So I only do little things, and sometimes those have to be undone very quickly. I have managed to maximize the sound of my cheapie bass, though, and it makes a pretty good practice instrument, for now. When I get my new Christopher, there will be no such intervention! It will be "luthier set-up." Too much money for me to tinker with, and I can only afford one.

    After a lifetime of microscopy, and now antique microscopy, I figure that violins and such are at least as complicated and require at least as much skill. I don't have it. But luckily, there are folks who do.
  18. matt macgown

    matt macgown Guest

    Dec 1, 2003
    Chattanooga, TN
    Lucchi - oh - ok I opened the page. It's a piece of lab equipment. Now that, maybe I can manage!
  19. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001

    Would that be the "Sammy Sosa" model soundpost?
  20. My turn to blow iced tea out my nose -
    We're even.