The Chromatic Endpin—Making a Change Months Later

Well, it has been almost a year that I have been using the Chromatic Endpin. Previous posts detailed my experiments with different rotation angles, and I had settled on an angle that shifted the weight of the bass away from my body slightly. I described this in my “day three” post.

Well about a month ago—as of the day that I’m writing this—I decided to make a pretty radical switch. I changed the rotation of the pin so that more of the weight of the bass would fall into my body.

I had always more or less subscribed to Gary Karr’s thinking of having the bass lean into the left hand. As I understood it, this means that the arm and hand don’t have to “press” the bass, in essence the bass is pressing them. I guess I can’t say that I was ever super-rigorous about feeling this ‘pressing,’ and to be honest I probably didn’t do my technique any favors by switching back and forth from seated to standing. I started out playing standing, switched to seated when studying with Brian Marcus (I think that was when I switched, anyway) and continued seated when at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying with Stephen Tramontozzi, but then went back to standing after that. (Boy oh boy isn’t making hyperlinks fun? I should mention I studied with Sal Macchia for a while too! Oh and Greg Sarchet!)

Okay, back to blogging and away from bragging.

So I made the switch and my end pin now looks like this:

The result, and this is what I said to my friend Rich Armandi at Chicago JazzPhilharmonic rehearsal, is that the bass suddenly felt like it was hugging me. It was a pretty dramatic feeling. I have now been playing like this for over a month, including rehearsals and concert with CJP and also with a local semi-pro symphony, and it’s going well.

I haven’t done the more rigorous self-examination I described in the ‘day one and two’ post—i.e. playing specific excerpts and scales to assess the effect of the end pin on my playing—but my casual observation is that there has been no problem. I’m just as sloppy and undisciplined as I was before, haha.

So what should you conclude from this? You should try the Chromatic Endpin yourself and don’t be afraid to experiment, even with things that seem pretty different. It sure beats drilling another hole in your bass!

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