musician.educator.musicologist

on A New Endpin

Added on by Taylor Smith.

Last year, I wrote about how I am always tinkering with my bass playing. That blog was about tuning my bass in fifths (instead of fourths like a “normal” human being). Now I have gone and done another weird thing. To but it bluntly, I drilled a hole in my bass, and I am excited about it.

$95 (labor) and a trip to San Juan Capistrano later and I am now part of the weird endpin club.

 Pretty weird looking, I know. 

Pretty weird looking, I know. 

I started playing with a bent metal endpin back in 2005. This was out of curiosity toward François Rabbath’s funky method and posture. I had seen a few of these weird endpins coming out of the bottom of basses at an angle (which traces back to Rabbath) which got me curious. So, I bought a custom-bent endpin to see what that world was all about. The bent pin is supposed to be something like “training wheels” before you go all the way with a Laborie endpin installation. My training wheels lasted eleven years.

The whole idea behind this monkey business is to make the bass a bit more ergonomically friendly. As you would probably guess, the bass is a pretty awkward instrument, so bassists—especially small ones like me—often have to make compromises when tackling the thing. A lot of the difficulties can be solved by playing seated on a stool, but now you have to carry a stool around with you everywhere (let alone an amp, stand, etc.). But, sitting has its drawbacks as well.

Anyway, this new endpin is a pretty good solution to some of the ergonomic challenges the bass presents. Among other things, it puts the bass in a more “horizontal” position, similar to what you get when you are sitting, or, better yet, to the position a cellist achieves. It also makes the bass feel lighter because its contact point with the floor is closer to its center of gravity. The biggest (and only, as far as I can see) downside is that you have to drill—have a professional drill, that is—a hole in your prized instrument. Granted, that is a pretty big deal, which is one of the reasons I put it off for ten years.

Will this make me a better player when all is said and done? Maybe. But, I think it will make me more likely to practice as I am liking the direction things are headed with this new setup; I have already made some adjustments in my playing (for the better), so I think some good things are coming.

 Here is how the whole thing is supposed to work, as demonstrated by the master himself. 

Here is how the whole thing is supposed to work, as demonstrated by the master himself.