After having used the Stagg for a while now, I noticed that the nut slots could be a bit deeper, mainly on the E and A strings. So digged up a business card as a distance gauge and some small files and decided to have a go at it.
The Stagg nut is made of plastic which is not the best nut material to be honest… But nevertheless working on it went fine but it turned out that business card thickness was just a bit too little on the E string. There is no buzz on the E string itself but when plucking the A string the E string “clacks” against the fingerboard. Which I find quite annoying… Or course this only occurs while playing pizz (I play mostly arco nowadays (started in an symphonic orchestra recently) but I have decided to have a go at making a new nut from ebony in the near future…
So I have ordered a piece of ebony that was in my mail just yesterday. I showed it to my kids and they would not believe that wood would sink… So I proved to them that it actually does in a glass of water. Never thought a piece of wood could be educational!
In the near future I will try to make a new nut for the Stagg. I will document this process in this blogpost.
Contradictory to what I wrote earlier, I am NOT going to make a new nut in the future. The E string “clacking” has gone (or I have gotten used to it…) and the plastic nut works fine.
I am however going to make a new pickup for the Stagg as the stock ones do not work well when playing arco. But that is a whole different story….
Boink! That was the sound I heard yesterday when the strap on my bag snapped loose and my bass hit the ground 😦
Luckily the bass was not damaged but I was not amused… And I almost hit a woman sitting on a bench with the bass…
I already knew the Stagg bags are of pretty poor quality (see also this posting) but I had not seen this one coming… All the stitching that hold the strap to the bag came loose! So tonight I will be stitching it back on and I will most probably reinforce all other handle and strap attachments too…
Also some good news: yesterday I finally had the opportunity to show the bass to my teacher and he thought is was pretty good! Much better than the old black, unmodified Stagg that he tried earlier. Especially the improved neck angle and better bridge. He played pizz and arco on it and I was very pleased with the sound too (had not heard someone else play my Stagg) 🙂
After most of the work was done I took the bass to the well known Dutch luthier Lucas Suringar. He is also selling the new Stagg RDL bass as I mentioned before in this posting. The one thing I did not trust myself with was planing the rosewood fingerboard… As he has a lot of experience with the Stagg EUB I was more than happy to drive quite a bit further to visit him. And it is always fun to chat with him and other customers while waiting for the work to be finished.
He took off the strings and removed quite a lot from the fingerboard. The planing revealed some lighter spots on the board but I think this only adds character to it. And after re-oiling the board it was a lot less visible anyhow.
In order to be able to plane the board Lucas removed the top nut. On most Staggs this is glued into place and removing it almost certainly will damage the epoxy on the headstock. As it did on my bass too 😦 But I was able to recover the paint flakes and I have glued them back in place at home and the damage is hardly visible. Strangely enough the top nut on my black Stagg was not glued on at all, something he had not seen before on any of the Staggs he had worked on so far.
The nut itself was also modified. On a stock Stagg the string spacing is not correct (too large). This should be 10 mm heart to heart. So three of the four slots were filled with a mixture of super glue and ebony sawdust and some new slots were cut. A quick re-oiling with some linseed oil finished the job.
After all work was done the Stagg played a lot better. No more buzzing! Top job and also at a very reasonable price (about 30-50% less than other quotes I got)!