Bass Tricks #1 DIY endpin project

I keep going through these rubber endpin tips after a few months. They usually start slipping on me after only a short time. They are kind of expensive and hard to find, so I deecided to take matters into my own hand.

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Here is an image of my old worn down endpin.

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I removed the rubber tip and start hacking away at the side with a large knife and a cutting board.

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I was hoping the metal would be enclosed at the other end - but hopefully end pin will not push through the new rubber I will be adding.

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Here is all the rubber I took off and my weapon.

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Once I cut it down enough, I was able to stick a crutchtip on the end. So far this badboy is working just great. It should be cheaper and easier to replace if needed too. I'm not sure if it will deepen the sound more, but so far it does not seem like it.

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I got to idea of switching to an crutchtip because this is the way my bass built by Kent McLagan came when I bought it. I have not noticed any reduction in sound on that bass. Kent uses it on his bass, and he is one of loudest accoustic bass players I know.

Do you believe in smelly cat?

I was recently talking to my friend Shawn Conley about a musical phonomenon that happens on the bandstand. Many times when I am doing a sound check, whether it is a new venue or with new musicians, right off the bat, I will think that the sound of my bass and or the ensemble is just horrible.

After several tunes, it will start to sound better to me. Countless musicians that I know seem to have had a similar experince.

Here are some possible explinations that I have come up with to explain this.

  • The soundguy has adjusted
  • I have adjusted
  • The other musicans have adjusted
  • My ears have adjusted
  • "smelly cat"

Obviously you want to know what "smelly cat" is, but hold your horses. Let's go down the list.

I have a really hard time believing that it is the soundguy. I have experienced this in places that do not have a soundguy. This is totally true if you are in a place that has a good soundguy/gal but sense it is not mutually exclusive, I am ruling this one out for the experience that I am describing.

The next two are possibilities for sure. Good musicians are always adjusting dynamics and attack to create the sound that they hear in their heads. Every room and every situation requires a slightly different attack of the string to find the right space for your sound.

The last two are variations of the same idea. I think that your ears need to adjust a little to a new sound and environment. After you have been playing for a while you begin to be a little more comfortable with the sound. This is what I had attributed a lot of this experience to in my own rationalizations. But when I talked to Shawn Conley about "smelly cat", I had to reexamine my thoughts.

Shawn was a student of Francois Rabbath, and said that Rabbath had told him that your first impression of the sound was a truest. A truly great sound is undeniable right off the bat, but as our ears listen to a bad or mediocre sound for a while we begin to accept it. He compared this to walking into someones apartment with a smelly cat. At first the smell is awful, but the longer you stay in the apartment the more you don't notice it.

I don't know if I totally agree with this, but it has really made me reexamine some things. What do you think?