Tag Archives: eub

Finetuning the bass

During the last 3 weeks the Stagg accompanied me on my holiday. Such a holiday is perfect for small imperfections to surface… And they did. This post documents a few minor tweaks I did after I got back from holiday.

Thrussrod rattle
The Stagg is fitted with a totally useless thrussrod. During my holiday I found out that the only thing it did very well was rattling in its slot. I tried to fix this using bathroom sealant. Read about it here.

Endpin got stuck
At the campsite we had bbq that ended in a jam session. I could not join as I did not bring my amp but I did show the bass on request. Only to find out the endpin got stuck in the new plug. I knew the fit was quite tight and after taking it out there appeared to be some transfer from the (softer) aluminum to the steel of the rod. After carefully removing this the rod was OK again. Something to keep my eye on.

Endpin rattle
EndpinRattleInside_1At the campsite I mainly used the bass with the pin as far in as possible. This leaves a long part inside the bass which is a possible cause for vibration. So while I had the pin out anyhow I decided to make an endblock that fixates the endpin when it is as far in as possible.

EndpinRattleInside_2This might well be the most unnecessary modification I have done but it took only a few minutes. I made a maple wooden insert with a 10,5 mm hole in it. The endpin was chamfered a bit more  so it would “guide itself” into the hole. The block was made to exact size and fitted with a couple of screws. When the pin is in the block it is under a bit of tension so it will not rattle.

Battery compartment
BatteryCushionAnother modification that might not be all that necessary is fitting some padding material to the battery compartment to prevent possible rattling. It implied nothing more than sticking two pieces of foam tape inside the compartment and on the lid. Better safe than sorry 🙂

Body support and tuner
BodySupportTuner_2The body support that I made for playing seated turned out to be on the wrong side of the bass. At home, sitting on a high bass stool, everything was ok, but on the campsite, sitting on a picnic bench the balance point proved to be a bit off. So I moved the body support over the left hand side (G string) of the bass. My first impression is that this position feels a lot better, the bass appears to be better balanced. But time will tell I guess…

I used (and have hidden) the hole on the right hand side to fit a small Planet Waves NS micro tuner. This way this can stay on the bass permanently and not look obtrusive. And I won’t get caught again without a tuner!

Apogee JAM
apogee-jamThe last thing I did was treating myself to an Apogee JAM guitar interface. With this nifty little device you can connect an electric guitar, or EUB, to an iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC and record the sound in an application like Garageband. I wanted to be able to hear myself back for a while and this makes it possible. I have yet to find out the optimal settings but is is very “educational” to hear yourself play…

The finished honey Stagg

This post is just to show how the Stagg ended up after all my modifications. Some of the pictures were actually taken after ALL work was done (so including the body-support and the new endpin plug) and some before that was done. The newer pictures can be recognised by the green windings of the Pirazzi strings. In the older pictures the bass was still strung with the orange ended Presto Balance strings. Enjoy!

And will this be the last post on this blog? Probably not… I am the kind of guy that always “finds something” that can be improved or altered. And last night I heard a buzz on the open D string I could not place right away… So keep an eye open for new additions in the future!

A new amp!

Today I received a used (4 months old) Phil Jones Bass Double Four amp!!!  🙂 Maybe not a “Stagg modification” but I am so happy with it that I found it worthy of a quick post.

After using my Stagg through my iPhone dock over the headphone output (far from ideal…), I was on the lookout for a good practice amp. I discussed it with my teacher and he recommended the Phil Jones Bass amps amongst a few others. That should be a decent amp for my Stagg as well as my acoustic double bass. PJB amps are hard to find in the Netherlands but I was so lucky to find a PJB double four for sale for a price I could just afford! I did not hesitate for long and decided to take the plunge and bought it unseen…

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This is one of the smallest combos on the market but it delivers a very nice and deep sound. Much better as to be expected from its small size!

So, in the next days/weeks I will be experimenting with my new little red friend to find the best settings and so on! My first impression is very good, it sounds really nice and clean. It also looks to be extremely well made (build like a tank). And also not quite as bright red as in the picture.

Below some more pictures. Some with an iPhone for reference so you can see how small it actually is!

Endpin… again

Being fed up with the rattling and moving endpin on my honey Stagg I decided to fix it once and for all. The movement is due to three things: the long extending length of the pin, the cheap plastic the endpin plug is made of and the fit of the plug in the bass body. After some thinking on it I decided I had two options:

  1. change the whole assembly for a normal DB endpin en plug
  2. make a new, good fitting plug from a better material

As I had already put some effort in making a new rubber tip for the stock pin and did not want to spend a lot more money on the bass at this moment (the money paid for the new amp was still fresh in my memory…) I decided to have a go at option 2. I knew I had a piece of 35 mm diameter aluminum rod in the workshop somewhere and that would make a good starting point for a new plug.

The pictures below describe the process of making a new plug step by step. The new plug has been chemically blackened afterwards using Birchwood Casey Aluminium Black and the fixing screw has been threaded directly into the aluminum.

The plug has a tight fit in the bass body and is fixed by two countersunk screws that screw into the aluminium of the plug. I made the part of the plug that goes onside the bass body about 20 mm longer to give more support. The pin itself did not fit in the 10 mm hole I drilled… The “10 mm” pin actually turned out to be somewhat larger in diameter… So I had to ream this out a bit. But now it is a nice and tight sliding fit.

Below you find the pictures from raw material to the mounted plug. So far I can feel no play anymore and the rattle is gone too. Time will tell if this will stay that way.

Playing while sitting

WP_20140411_002With my acoustic bass came a free and very good K&M bass stool and I have been practicing while sitting a lot since then. This works absolutely fine with my acoustic DB but as the Stagg lacks any form of body support at the back, playing the Stagg sitting for a longer time resulted in a sore left arm (as this functions as a support for the bass to keep it upright). So I decided to figure out how to make an extra body support at the rear so that the Stagg could lean against me without the need to keep it up with my left hand.

After experimenting with a few options I finally have settled for a support made from three RAM Mounts parts. I use these parts on my motorcycles for holding my satnav and I have found these to be extremely sturdy and very well adjustable.

So I bought the following parts:

  • RAM Mount B-201-U-A: a short double socket arm
  • RAM Mount B-202-U: a 2,5″ round ball base
  • RAM Mount B-273-M6U: a threaded M6 ball

I assembled all three parts together and figured out the right position on the bass. The support is mounted using a coach rod screw. I intended to fix a larger support plate to the round base to rest against my left leg but so far the 2,5″ circle seems to be large enough to be comfortable. I can be adjusted in all directions and is also easily taken off or folded together the bass when it had to go into the bag. The ball is not too obtrusive looking.

Below some pictures of the parts and of the assembled support on the bass (apologies for the hairy leg 😮 )