Wednesday 10 January 2024

Double Bass Bridge

First, let's have some background to this photo.

Over the Christmas holidays I recorded a full song with me playing all the parts, for fun, because I can, because the DAW Reaper simplifies the process. I recorded the bass part on my double bass. I bought a double bass second hand many years ago when my eldest daughter was learning electric bass and really wanted to learn double bass. She doesn't play it anymore, there has been talk about selling it - they kinda take up a lot of room - but I love the sound of it and any excuse to play it will do.

Over the years the bridge has warped. I had bought a new bridge and figured I would carve a new one like I carved the cello bridge...but it would take me probably a day of effort to do. And there was nothing wrong with the existing one, just warped, which was putting the intonation out. Ha, not that my ability to fret on a fretless bass hinges on perfect intonation!

So I decided to try un-warping the bridge.

I removed it and put it in a dish of water. Of course wood floats, so I put the first water proof thing I found in the pantry on it to weigh it down. Wood is an amazing thing, by the end of the day it was fully soaked and had pretty much reverted back to the original un-warped state! Like it knew what shape it should be, and soaking freed it to return to normal.

During the soak the water took on a bit of a yellow colour, possibly leached out of the wood, possibly because whoever had last used the jar of golden syrup had let a bit trickle down the side and I didn't notice and it dissolved in.

So back to the photo. My youngest daughter looks at a dish of yellowy water on the kitchen bench, recognises the double bass bridge in it, and then sees a jar of golden syrup on top. Thinks about it for a moment. "Hey dad, what's going on here, is this how you get a sweet tone from the bass?"

Bah dum dum.

After I removed it from the water I clamped it to dry just in case it decided to go back to warped, and you can see from the photo I slipped a bit of folded paper underneath to give it a tiny bit of pre-load anti-re-warping; thinking if I pre-skew the direction of force it might be a bit more stable. One week later, fully dried, back on the bass, success!

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