Sunday, March 11, 2018

Bass String Conundrum

March 11, 2018 

I decided to try tape-wound strings on the beautiful Martin bass that Nancy got me decades ago. But, as usual, every solution creates a problem. 

 Problem #1: at the ball end, the winding is too fat to fit in the slot in the bridge.
I suppose I could get to it with a file but jeez this is my only Martin and I'm a little bit reluctant to hack away as I might with a "lesser" instrument.

Problem #2:  The same blue winding extends too far from the ball, such that it would lay over the saddle. To my mind, that just ain't right.
Shown here is the G (lightest) string, clearly in the wrong hole but that's the only slot it will fit in (per problem #1).

Solution #1: Not finding the right thickness wood and not wanting to start a major archaeological dig to excavate power tools I superglued some bits of light shim together and drilled this piece to anchor and space the strings. 

You might be wondering what that crud is on that otherwise lovely ebony bridge. I am too. Gotta scrub it off one of these days.

Here's the internal view. 

You may wonder what the heck's that copper foil about. When I first played this instrument plugged in (it has an under-saddle piezo) I found it had a hum. Grounding the strings made that go away and that is how I did it. So I fear that problem may come back and if it does I'm not sure what I'll do. I can wrap my new spacer with foil to connect the strings to my ground, but as the tape-wound strings will be electrically isolated from my fingers it may be in vain. Stay tuned.  

I don't know the Martin model but the strings I'm trying are D'Addario ETB92.

1 comment:

  1. As a piano craftsman, I surely agree that modifications that are permanent or hard to reverse are to be avoided.