Tag Archives: pictures

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!

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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.

Strings

The Stagg EUB comes with a set of pretty basic steel core strings. For pizzicato they are not that bad. They have pretty low tension and play nice. Under the bow they are not that good. On my new Stagg the quality of the strings was ok but on the old Stagg the strings itself were not completely even making them even harder to bow.

Strings are one of the most personal things on a bass. Some prefer bright and some prefer dark sounding strings. High tension versus low(er) tension is also a matter of taste as is steelcore versus synthetic core… I personally like my basses to sound dark and mellow and the strings should have not too much tension and be bowable. I tried several sets on the Staggs:

StaggEUB_stringsStock strings
As I said these are pretty basic. They do not feel very flexible when off the bass but when on the bass they play pretty nice. They sound not very deep and kind of metallic (which is not strange being steel core strings). They are pretty cheap (about 30 euro) and certainly not the worst string on the market. In fact I think they offer a very decent price-quality ratio.

SpirocoresSpirocore medium
I also tried the well known and loved Spiros (medium) on the Stagg. Firstly, I do NOT like Spiro’s. I think the tension is too high and the sustain way too long. But I thought I would give them a shot on the Stagg. I tried them on the old Stagg and to be honest I was kind of afraid the headstock would not take the tension!!

On the Stagg the strings felt even tighter than on my acoustic double bass. The sound was better however than the stock Stagg strings but also typical Spiro so not to my tasting. Maybe the the low tension Spiros would give a better sound and feel on the Stagg. I quickly took them off again and sold them to another bassist.

PrestoBalanceOrchestraStringsPresto Balance Orchestra
After a lot of searching on the web and Talkbass I decided to give a set of Presto Balance Orchestra strings a try. Especially after I got them cheap (used for a short while by a guy on a quest for the perfect string). These strings are also steel core just like the Stagg and Spiros but should be a lot easier under the bow.

Well, I did not like them. The sound was nicer, darker than the Spiros except the A string that sounded really metallic and quite different from the other strings. I found the Prestos quite horrible to bow. I am a beginner on the bow but I could get a much better sound from the Spiros than from the Prestos! So off they went. They are for sale.

EvahPirazziStringsEvah Pirazzi Weich
The last set I tried was a set of used Evah Pirazzi Weich I bought online. I have a set of Pirazzis on my acoustic double bass and I really like them. But they are pretty expensive, almost as much as the black Stagg bass was! But when I could buy a used set at a reasonable price I decided to take the plunge.

Well, it felt like coming home! A beautiful dark sound, not too much tension and easy to bow. All things I like in a string. This set is a keeper, that is one thing I know for sure! After I decided to keep the string I cut them to the right length as Pirazzis are always pretty long. The headstock now looks nice and tidy.

A trip to the luthier

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.

WP_20131116_006He 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)!