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Too tight, too loose

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by B. Graham, Mar 7, 2006.


  1. B. Graham

    B. Graham Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    I've search this board so as to avoid cluttering the area up with another soundpost thread, but didn't find a clear answer.

    For soundposts the advice is not too tight, not too loose.

    Should the post be snug enough to stay in place when tension is removed from the top, or is that too tight?
     
  2. Brent Norton

    Brent Norton

    Sep 26, 2003
    Detroit, MI
    Generally, yes.
     
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    You should read Mr. Bollbach's soundpost rant. It seems to cover the concept pretty well.
     
  4. Hello, the soundpost in my new-to-me entry level bass is very tight. When I take the strings off, it won't budge. It's ALSO crooked and looks like the one side of the bottom edge is kind of crushed... need a new soundpost, huh? My question is, how do I know how long it should be? And what diameter? My husband is a woodworker and guitarist so we'd like to do this ourselves. Any advice would be very appreciated...
     
  5. That's a very dangerous combination. :atoz:
     
  6. It is not easy to fit a new soundpost. But it sure sounds like it needs attention. Here are some tips. Someone will post a caution about doing it at all but you asked HOW. Maybe this will help you decide to or not to.

    There is a commercial bass soundpost setter if you can find one quick enough. If not a grilling fork and a framing square can be used. A "Mechanical Pick-up from Home Depot helps too. And get an inspection mirror on an arm. And a light that can be stuffed through the FF hole.

    You may want to cover the ff hole edges with painter's tape to avoid marring. Loosen the strings.

    Check the existing fit with the mirror and the light behind the post to see if the bevels (slopes) look reasonable to use as a pattern (sounds like they might not).

    Grab the post with the Pick-up tool from the E side. Tap the post out w/ another tool. Fish it out.

    Use a 3/4 or 7/8 hardwood dowel. You may have to cut more than one or two to get it right. Start a little long. Cut it so the grain is cross-ways to the body grain so it won't mush together. Knife-shave or belt-sand the ends to an angle that matches the slope of the body where it contacts. Sandpaper ease the edges a touch. Warning - not matching the bevel can cause permanent damage.

    Grab the post with the pick-up tool or sound post setter and get it standing - try pulling from the G side. You can use the fork on the top and the square on the back side to move it around. NOT TOO TIGHT. Placement is generally under the treble bridge foot but down toward the floor end a bit like 3/4". Not leaning. There may be marks you can see where the post was before.

    Check the fit with the mirror and the light behind the post. Re-cut or start over as required. WARNING - not matching the bevel to the top/back or too tight a fit can cause permanent damage. Make it just tight enough to stay in place w/o string pressure.

    Others may disagree or provide additional help or discouragement.

    Good luck
     
  7. Diameter for a 3/4 bass is about 3/4 inch or 18.5 mm. Made of straight grained spruce, you can get a Blank from most bass shops, including (all hail) Bob Gollihur and Upton. If your'e trying to save some money by doing it yourself,that is a dangerous endeavor. If you don't have the tools to make sure it is perfectly flush with the top and back as well as positioned correctly, you could do some expensive damage. My Luthier, (a friend of mine) only charged me 10 bucks to do it.
     
  8. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    ^^ I agree. Taking it to a luthier will at least save you some trouble and possible damage, and maybe even a few bucks.
     
  9. EggyToast

    EggyToast

    Jan 21, 2006
    Baltimore
    It's usually cheap to have it done at a luthier, and if you've never done it before I would strongly suggest having a pro do it at least the first time. If it shifts or whatever in the future, your hubby will have a reference after seeing it done correctly the first time.

    As I'm sure your husband, and hopefully you yourself realize, it's far better to see how something is done correctly first, before attempting to do it yourself ;D Especially considering how cheap it is, relatively speaking, to have a pro do it.

    It's only cheaper if your time (and possibly your bass) is worth nothing ;D
     
  10. robobass

    robobass

    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    What an idea! I've been to so many luthiers over the years who didn't seem to have a problem scratching up my ff holes!
     
  11. uprightben

    uprightben

    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    Don't use hardwood, spruce is definately the best way to go, I guess you could use something like pine, but I really can't see why you would want to. If you remove the endpin socket you can really see inside of the bass to make sure the post is straight up and down. You can use the old post to get an idea of the length and shape you need. When fitting it, if the post is too long, take it out and you will see shiney spots from the wood rubbing together, this is where you shave a little off with a sharp knife.

    That's just about everything I know about setting soundposts that wasn't already covered. Honestly, though, I think you would have to be some kind of a fool to try this kind of thing with out the help of someone who actually knows what they're doing because they've done it many times before with success. If you get it wrong, and the table or back of your bass gets damaged, then you've just caused thousands of dollars of damage to save less than a hundred bucks. Good luck!
     
  12. +1
    but if after several years of setting sound post and you're still scratching ff holes...there's a bigger problem. ;)
     
  13. dchan

    dchan

    Nov 19, 2005
    Bethlehem, PA
    10 bucks?! What's your luthier's normal rate, roughly?
     
  14. Well, to tell the truth, he did a lot of other work on my bass, so he only charged me the cost of the post. To make and fit a new soundpost, his usual rate was $50 (still pretty cheap by most standards)
     
  15. I was assuming the "entry-level bass" is plywood. Also assuming there are not thousands of dollars at stake here.

    Reference for the soundpost species: "Setup and Repair of the Double Bass" the author, Chuck Traeger, likes hardwood posts for plywood basses. Says it matches the impedance of the plates - whatever that is. Probably a fine-tuning point and maybe a matter of opinion but I paid $68 for that book and I am sticking to it. :)
     
  16. uprightben

    uprightben

    Nov 3, 2006
    Boone, NC
    Hardwood matches the impedence of the plates? Well, you learn something new every day, I guess I'll take the resistors out of may bass and get me some oak! ;)

    Oh yea, I didn't mean that the bass was worth anything, but that a sound post crack caused by not knowing what you're doing could be a quadruple digit repair. (how does one fix a crack in plywood?)
     
  17. Hey Ben, you're lucky these ain't the good old days around here with a statement like that. Most of our bass luthiers aren't around much any more, but one in particular, my old and respected friend Bob Branstetter considers the Traeger book the definitive bible of DB luthiery. Sicko that I am, I thought of dropping him a link to your post just to stir up some action, but that would prolly have renewed his energy and brought him back on board with a vengeance. Because of this I thought better of it, not wanting to put you and your loved ones in any immediate physical danger.
    You owe me, man. :atoz: