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Posted by Francis X. on June 22, 2001 at 00:26:45:

Dear friends:

"La Rancharita" sends her regards;she's feeling much better thank you!

The operation was a success:I replaced the tailpiece and tailpiece cable and re-strung with Corelli Fort Tirant 370's. I would have preferred a heavier gauge,but these are probably better for La Rancharita,who is not of robust constitution. Overall,the sound is much better defined(especially arco),but her voice is still slightly nasal,small and weak-which I guess is as good as it's going to get with a bass of this size and mediocre quality. All of my intonation problems have disappeared. The strings which were on the bass when I bought it were black and round wound,like acoustic guitar strings;I think they are made of nylon(If anyone wants them to experiment with,I'll swap them for any any interesting item of comparable value). The strings alone have made a great difference;some of the problems I had in playing the exercises my teacher gave me to do have resolved-they were made worse by faulty strings. Shifting from b to c on the g string with the 4th finger always sounded off;now I can hit it spot on.

My solution to the endpin-pulling-out-of-its-hole problem improved things,but not by much;its now canted forward at about half the angle than before. I shimmed it by taking a very thin sheet of wood(.01 inch)and cutting it the length of the endpin barrel,but only half the circumference,steamed into a semi-cylindrical shape and wrapped(but not glued)it around the endpin plug,then tapped it into the hole with a mallet.

Some advice for other rank amateurs like myself out there. I bought this bass for $300. It was a fluke-I was content playing bass guitar and wasn't even looking to buy a doublebass,although I thought I might one buy sometime in the future. It was offered to me and I grabbed it. The bridge and endpin installation cost me $250(I think I was overcharged);parts and strings cost me $150,for a total of $ 700(not counting the $$$ I have to pay my nephew to cart the thing around for me in his pick-up,since my other mid-life crisis was resolved by buying a little red sportscar that cant even accomodate a cello)
$700 aint bad for a useable bass to learn on,or to use with a pick-up and amp for C&W jams,and I have learned a LOT about basses. It may look like a simple piece of furniture,but the handful of wooden and metal pieces that make up a DB must fit and interact perfectly to make music-and there are lot's of things that can go wrong. Looking back,I would have been better served If I had spent twice or three time the money,and gotten one of Bob Gollihur's Bulgarian basses.

THANKS TO ALL,ESPECIALLY MARTIN SHERIDAN,WHO WAS GENEROUS WITH HIS TIME AND EXPERTISE.

Francis X.


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