Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

Which Extension

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by KSB - Ken Smith, Nov 23, 2004.


  1. Single 'E' Latch Fingered Extension?

    41.0%
  2. Sliding Latch with fixed 'E' Latch?

    5.1%
  3. Chromatic with 4 seperate Latches?

    53.8%
  1. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    Maui
    The first one. Simple and elegant.
     
  3. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    For those of you that may be wondering, this is mainly for Orchestra playing. First I was going to put an extension on this Bass. Then I decieded we would make it a 5-String. Then after seeing that the Peg box was a bit tight, I decided to go back to plan 'A'.

    I have used a Mechanical Etension in the past but prefer the manual/fingered type. I am currently testing a large 5-string Bass to see if I want one but I may drop that idea completly as the percentage of playing that is more difficult on an extension than a 5er doesn't warrant the extra effort on the other 99% of the time.

    Please........ give us your thoughts and experiences. I know there are other threads out there active and inactive about this but this is 'Personal', not 'Business' !!
     
  4. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    In the future, I would like to get one of Bill Merchant's extensions. I've researched this topic a fair bit and although it's a personal opinion, I like Bill's design the best. It's a very minimal and elegant and by all accounts the workmanship is top-notch.
     
  5. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    I know several Luthiers that make extensions in the NY area. It's tough for me to choose one over the other. Arnold has the Bass now and I like his work. He get's this job from head to toe and believe me.. it's a REAL 'head to toe" operation !! If it was at Merchants, Biase's, Bolbach's, Eibert's or Kolstein's....... I would probably have them do the entire job as all of them do good work.

    Like I said, I gave THIS Bass to Arnold to rebuild so he will do all of the related work. Maybe, just maybe.. I'll change the gears if done afterwards as I have no idea how well the original ones will work.

    Currently I am doing a 'Gear Job' on the Martini. I did the Batchelder 2 years ago and did both the Gilkes and Solo Bass earlier this year. If I decide to put an extension on the Martini when Arnold's done with the Morelli and I like his Extension (which I am sure I will), then he will get this one as well to do.
     
  6. Adrian Cho

    Adrian Cho Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2001
    Ottawa, Canada
    Arnold's extensions look and by all accounts are great too as many others - it's a personal preference in many ways. That said, I have not heard much good about the Kolstein extensions at all. Have a look at the photo gallery at this site too:

    http://www.heartlandstringbass.com/
     
  7. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    I had a one-latch extension on my old bass, but I asked Mike Shank to put a chromatic extension ("4-latch") on my Arvi as soon as it was delivered. I couldn't be happier. The extension is elegant, easy to use, and utterly reliable.

    I stress the last point -- reliability. If you have to fine-tune the latches every time you play the bass, it gets tedious. I almost never have to adjust mine.

    To me, a chromatic extension is much more user-friendly than a one-latch fingered extension. If you can plan ahead for the lowest note in a section of music (other than a C), the chromatic extension allows you to play the note as if it were an open string. That's MUCH easier than having to reach back and finger a note on the extension.

    Have a look at the Shank version -- I think the photo Mike uses may be my bass:

    http://www.shankstrings.com/services_cextn.html
     
  8. Mudfuzz

    Mudfuzz

    Apr 3, 2004
    WA...
    I'm not trying to cause trouble but I was wondering why this wasn't a option; granted it isn't the best looking thing in the world but I am curios about you opinion.
     
  9. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    This whole thread is about using an extension to get below E. The bass you linked is a 5-string. That is one of the three principal ways to get below E (the others being extensions and non-"standard" tuning of one or more of four strings), but there are plenty of other threads at this site that discuss five-string basses.

    I have nothing against five-strings. I just prefer playing on four. Hence my choice of an extension...
     
  10. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Yes Aaron, I have seen that Bass as well as other similar ideas of adding a key. Arnold Schnitzer has a 3-to-4 string converted Bass with a split gear. Two handles on either side but one post split to work half and half with each gear.

    That idea of a 5 conversion like that is just not for me. I wanna 'See' 5 seperate gears where they belong.... That's just me...

    Pete, this Thread is about an extensions because I am not converting the current project Bass into a 5er. I started it so i welcome his input. For all he knew, that might have been the fix for me.

    As is stands, the Morelli will get an Extension. A 5er may be in the cards but the Jury's still out on that. I get ALL 12 votes......lol

    Thank's for the input guys and keep it coming.. Vote if you haven't already.. 287 views and only 12 votes... I guess most just play 4 strings and have no prefrence concerning extensions....With the Exception of Paul W. He is lucky enough to have found a killer old 5er and plays the heck out of it as well...
     
  11. Hi Ken:

    Although I prefer a mechanical extension, I would go with a chromatic extension as opposed to the single E capo. I find for orchestral playing, especially Baroque continuo pieces i.e Vivaldi, or any piece which require a lot of octave, or two octave playing, a single E capo is very difficult to facilitate at a quick tempo. I have performed many of the Vivaldi concerti for example, where the continuo part is jumping two octaves C-C, D-D, or Eb-Eb, E string to G string, at a steady eighth note pattern. I can do it with the machine, but I would think it would be very difficult to play with only a single capo E. If one is only playing whole, or half notes, I would think, it wouldn't matter which one you use.

    Dennis
     
  12. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Ok, but even with the Chromatic, how would you latch and un-latch to do those octaves without the mechanical extension?
    I would think a 5-string would be easier. BTW, the Bass used on many Vivaldi recordings in the 60s by Virtuosi di Roma was a regular 4-string Testore (attributed). I know this because that exact Bass was offered for sale to me. Do you think they played it one octave higher?

    I would prefer myself to use a 5-string Bass for chromatic octave jumps as you have described. I plan at this time to get in addition to an extension on my Bass, another Bass that is a 5er for those occassions........
     
  13. The fact that if the lowest note is a D, with a chromatic capo, you could lock in the D, and your open string is now a D, unlike a single capo which makes you have to finger the low D. I agree, a 5er is the easiest, with the machine, second, a chromatic third. Using my first finger, I can play any of the four levers, without moving my hand below the nut, which helps with speed.

    They could have played it an octave higher,( bass sounds an octave lower than written anyway). The only other option I can think of is, a different tuning i.e. 5ths instead of 4ths.

    Was the bass an actual Testore? Did you get a chance to play it?
     
  14. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    The Bass has a Nicolo Amati label and was for years accepted as Amati until recently. A good authority on instruments claims the Label is false and it IS a C.G.Testori c.1710.

    I have a full set of pictures of the Bass. I did not get to play it as it is in Italy and I don't have the time now to travel. The second and main problem is the Euro/$ ratio. If it gets below 120/$ I may be interested. The Bass was restored but the seller says "It can be repaired again" which scares me a little. I don't want to buy a Bass like that and then spend 10K or more on a full restoration unless I pick up the Bass for a song.. It will run close to 90-100K at this time to bring it in and get it working b4 any restorations are done. And that's IF you can get it past Italian 'Customs' as a modern Bass as they wont let it out of Italy if they know what is really is.
     
  15. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Thanks guys.. It looks at the moment 10:7 for single latch.. That's about 60/40. I hope your votes considered Orchestra playing as the main use. It's nice to have it for Jazz as well but I am doing up this Bass for Orchestra.

    I will probably get a 5-string Bass within a year as well so I have the choice depending on the music. I sounds like from what I've heard that moving parts and octave parts need a 5-string to play it the easiest.

    Let's see what un-folds here down the road.. Keep em coming..
     
  16. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Well. it's almost running neck & neck now...11:9.......

    My Bass is coming along in it's restoration and I will probably go with (my thinking at this time) with a single 'E' latch Ext.

    Arnold, Jeff and other Luthiers/Bass Repairmen, I am curious what your Clients prefer here on the subject. Your comments will be greatly appreciated as it also speaks for many voices. Please vote (if you haven't already) for the type that is used or requested by the majority of you clients..... Thx.. in advance.....

    BTW, tonight I will play my second concert with a 5-String I borrowed last month before returning it next week. It's fun but wouldn't want to play this monster full time. I guess on occassion I would have parts easier to play on a 5er than a 4 with an Ext..

    Maybe owning both would be a good idea to cover all the 'Bases/Basses'.......... I am talking with Paul at Shen now as we both wait for Sams' comments on a 7/8 Carved Willow 5er (back and sides) with a high grade Spruce Top. This would be the first from them like this . They are currently making some in 4 string now but with the regular grade tops that go on the willow Basses I think.
     
  17. justBrian

    justBrian

    Apr 19, 2002
    Kansas City, MO
    Hi Ken,
    I was in KC Strings last weekend picking up a cello for my daughter. Anton Krutz & Co. are making some beautiful instruments-- and extensions. I was particularly impressed with the chromatic one. I believe it was a 4 latch. Here's a link to their website: www.kcstrings.com.
     
  18. KSB - Ken Smith

    KSB - Ken Smith Banned Commercial User

    Mar 1, 2002
    Perkasie, PA USA
    Owner: Ken Smith Basses, Ltd.
    Yes Bed, I do know them. If you look at the Double Basses on my website you will see that 4 of them have Krutz gears. I love them and how they work.

    As far as the extension goes.....too many moving parts for my taste and I don't like bending a String so steeply under and around the Ext. like that. I prefer to put it thru the Scroll or even better, wrap it around the Ear with some teflon tubing to protect the Scroll and Pegbox wile providing a smooth surface for the string to slide thru for tuning.
     
  19. Pete G

    Pete G

    Dec 31, 2001
    Northern Virginia
    Because my Arvi (with chromatic extension) is at the shop for the moment for minor fixups, I've been playing my prior bass (a good Pfret with a one-latch fingered extension) for the past few days.

    As it happens, the concert for which I'm currently preparing has a lot of sub-E notes.

    I can only tell you that passages in the Messiah and the Corelli Christmas Concerto that are no-brain-easy with the chromatic extension are borderline impossible with a fingered extension. During running eighth notes, the leap from a stopped D on the extension to a stopped G or A-flat on the E, or a stopped D on the A, is a challenge for me and would be for nearly anyone. With the chromatic, you just close the D latch before the passage begins, and play the low string as if it were open -- easy. Later this year I have to play the Mahler Second, and for me that would be flat-out impossible without the chromatic.

    Y'all get what you want, but once you've played a good chromatic extension, you'll realize it's the logical choice unless you're either very, very good at fingering the awkward extension, or want the extension just for looks.