Upright Bass Setup
Until now, we haven't made too big a deal about telling everyone about our upright bass setups. We just took for granted that everyone that got a bass from us, would always get the same great attention and detail. Ok!, now we're sayin' it! Here we give a detailed list of some of the things that we include in the set up of our upright double basses:
1) fingerboards, are all solid ebony. Unless our customer specifically asked for the old fashioned beveled fingerboard (the type that has a high ridge down, along the A string) all of our boards are rounded across. The camber that we plane is very slight so that strings will not buzz, but vibrate freely and minimize stress to the left hand. Those that want a deep camber, no problem, we can do that too.
2) bridges are fitted perfectly to the top and for bridge adjusters, we usually use the new high density, composite, 'delrin' adjusters. These are much more expensive than any other bridge adjuster, but they're worth it. They will never mute the bass vibration and there is an absolute minimum of vibration interruption when using these. We even use these in the setup on our upright basses under $3k. These adjusters are also super easy to use everyday and will not get hard to turn, or bind up later.
3) the string height in our bass setup is a direct correlation of how the fingerboard is planed and again, it's all about comfort. Some really prefer a higher string. That's no problem, but when the seasons change it's nice to re-adjust back to the preferred playing height.
4) We set up all of our upright basses with "braided" steel cable. We tried the special cords (like the Velvet strings brand) but didn't like them because they stretched for days and weeks after installing them. Each bass has an optimum cable length between the bottom of the tailpiece, and the relationship and distance to the bottom of the bass and endpin. Here, every bass is different. Some like longer distances, some "like" shorter distances on the cable. When we say "like", we mean whatever allows the bass and strings to be the most responsive and vibrate the free-est (is that a word?) Most of the time, we're able to tune the strings, bridge and tailpiece so that the partials line up in perfect 4th or 5th intervals between the open string and below the bridge. Tricky, but we take the extra time to adjust these.
5) No upright bass set up is complete, until the right sound post is fitted to both the back and the top of the bass. This is always more work as most of our basses (especially our new ones) have carved backs, which always add another dimension to the sound post adjustment. This is always an interesting part of the set up: We always start in the middle of what most luthiers would place a post, then we keep tweaking it until the bass comes alive. One thing that we have found for sure is that every bass is different and what works for one, will not always do the same for a similar bass. That's why every note and every string has to be played to check for notes that may stick out, or even wolf notes. With patience, and trial and error you can find the optimum placement for the sound post.
We take our upright bass setups very seriously. This is what makes us the best. We're players here and we know what other players need. We are always open and eager to accommodate any individual's special need or request.
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