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winter soundpost

Discussion in 'Setup & Repair [DB]' started by Marc Piane, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004

    I live in Chicago. Some guys I know use different soundpost for the winter. Some don't. Should I?
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Does yours fall over in winter? If yes, then yes. If no, then prolly no....

    AMJBASS Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2002
    Ontario, Canada
    I know a few symphonic players that change posts depending on season. I personally don't find it that necessary.
  4. Marc Piane

    Marc Piane

    Jun 14, 2004
    I have two basses.

    My German ply bass I've had for 12 years and never changed the soundpost.

    I recently got a Shen Willow 3/4 flatback. This is the first winter since I got it so I don't know how it will behave.
  5. If an instrument shrinks considerably during winter, then the post can become too tight and choke the bass. This is more of an issue with carved basses than ply. I did make a summer soundpost for mine that ended up being about 1/16" longer than the winter one. I haven't switched it back yet, but I probably should soon. The extreme weather is on the way. This is the first year I've had this bass, so we will see how much tighter it is in winter. A good fitting post is just tight enough to stay in place and a gentle bump should knock it over.

    I know my bass is given to expansion and contraction because the tuning will be off in a predictable direction depending on temp change (steel strings only). I just don't know how much it will effect the soundpost fit yet.
  6. Tbeers


    Mar 27, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Usually the post falling over would be more of a concern in the summer. The danger of leaving the same post in over the winter is that it can deform or even crack the top.

    That said, I leave one post in my instrument.
  7. True: longer post for summer, shorter for winter. In areas where the winters are more moderate, depending on the instrument, one post is probably fine. If you get that extended subzero winter, I'd at least check it out one season to see how tight the post becomes. It is definitely worth the caution because a big wooden instrument can change dimensions considerably with temp and humidity.
  8. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    Brewster, NY, USA
    Flatbacks generally like/need a winter post more than roundbacks do. The back braces running crosswise to the back wood prevent the back from contracting across its grain in the winter. So the back bends inward at the center, shortening the space in which the soundpost fits considerably. Also, basses with outside linings and/or thick round backs tend to lack the flexibility to bend with weather changes, and may also benefit from seasonal posts. The worst case scenario is a flatback with outside linings and a thin top. The sound it will make when the post comes cracking through the top is indescribable! :(
  9. drurb

    drurb Oracle, Ancient Order of Rass Hattur; Mem. #1, EPC

    Apr 17, 2004
    Well, all of this makes sense and I recognize the temperature-related expansions and contractions that can occur. Most of us do, however, keep our basses inside. I figure that the ambient temperature at which my bass lives is 10-15 degrees lower in winter than in summer (I am also very careful about humidity). Are these differences sufficient to warrant concern, even with a flatback? Is the concern only if the bass is transported and/or played in temperature extremes?
  10. christ andronis

    christ andronis Supporting Member

    Nov 14, 2001
    How can you tell if your soundpost is too tight BEFORE any major damage is done? This is my first winter with my carved bass and it's very cold and dry out right now here in Chi-town. I've got gigs every night this week and other than keeping it in the case till I get to the venue and let it acclimate (sp?), I'm not sure if i should be doing more.
  11. Others may know other ways, but for me the only way I could know for sure would be to detension the strings and see how difficult it is to turn or knock over the post. On a round back you can push the top or bottom of the post westward, on a flat back or one with the post on a brace (some roundbacks also have those) it is better to push the top of the post west. It should push over easily with no string tension. If it doesn't you need a winter post fitted.

    In other words if I go to check how tight it is, I need to be ready also to re-set the post or have a luthier do it.