Three Ways To Use Angled Endpins

Three Ways To Use Angled Endpins

January 23, 2018

Rufus Reid, Francois Rabbath, Lynn Seaton

What's up with all this angled endpin stuff?

The double bass is a huge instrument, so being able to manage it in an ergonomic way while you play is really important. 

I learned to play on a traditional, straight endpin like a lot of people.

This absolutely works. However, just because something works doesn't mean it is optimal

There is often a big difference between passable and optimal. I have found that angled endpins are certainly closer to optimal than straight endpins.

  • The bass feels lighter
  • Easier to play on all four strings, arco or pizz
  • Shifting from very low to very high positions feels good, not scary and insecure
  • The bass tilts back slightly, increasing projection and the ability to hear your sound accurately

Another problem

Making the bass easier to play is welcome, but that presents us with another problem—angled endpins can still be set up a lot of different ways. Even if you have a sleek adjustable endpin, setting it up can be a little intimidating. 

Especially if you plan on drilling your bass permanently, you should at least know what you want!

Trying several different setups, ideally for a few weeks, before you commit to one is strongly advised.

Here are three example setups to start with, explained by master players Rufus Reid, Lynn Seaton, and Francois Rabbath. 

#1 - The "45 & 10" Setup

The "45 and 10" is popular with a lot of people, particularly bassists who have worked with Paul Ellison or his students. 

You angle the endpin back 45 degrees and 10 degrees to the G string side of the bass. 

Rufus Reid plays with a similar configuration. I believe he uses an endpin cut a little further than 10° toward the G string but the idea is the same. It causes the bass to lean into the player. 

He explains more and compares it to the straight endpin in the video below.

Click the picture to play the video.

#2 - "The Lynn Seaton Special"

I call this the "Lynn Seaton Special" because he is the only person I've seen angle the endpin toward the E string side of the bass, but there are some definite advantages.

  • With this setup, you are able to get the fingerboard very close to your body and it feels very stable. 
  • It mimics the bass position you would achieve while seated on a stool. 
  • The bass is angled back and toward the player's body. This combines the posture one would use when seated in a stool, with the added freedom of motion that comes with standing.

Lynn demonstrates and explains in this video.

Click the picture to play the video.

#3 - "The Classic"

The classic comes from the setup Francois Rabbath uses—the first player to fully embrace angled endpins as a legitimate solution. He plays with the endpin angled straight back about 45°. 

This type of setup is a compromise between the first two mentioned and arguably makes the bass feel the lightest. 

Check out this video from a masterclass in Berlin where Francois explains it himself. 

(it's from a long masterclass, so he takes a minute to get into the endpin stuff)

Click the here to play the video.

...but these all look good

They are!

Each of these setups works. Rufus Reid, Lynn Seaton, and Francois Rabbath are each virtuoso musicians with unique voices on the instrument. 

Final Problem (And Our Solution)

Trying several different endpin setups on the same bass isn't possible if you're drilling the end block, unless you want to ruin the bass.

We made The Chromatic Endpin  so players could streamline the process of figuring out what feels right because it's a little different for everybody. 

You can easily try all three of these configurations in an afternoon for the price of getting your bass drilled once. 

If you find an angle you like on The Chromatic Endpin and want to keep using it without ever doing a thing to your bass, that's a great use of the product too.

Enjoy and happy practicing!