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Matthew Tifford
Registered User
(3/5/01 12:14:19 pm)
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Bent Endpins
I am thinking about getting one of those bent end-pins, and I wanted to find out about peoples experiences with them.

(Sorry about posting this here, I know there is an equipment chat page but for some reason I can't post on it right now. I have contacted the support people about it.)

Steve Drake
Registered User
(3/5/01 12:23:54 pm)
Reply
Re: Bent Endpins
Welcome back, Matt!

I've got Stahlhammers intalled on all of my cellos. When I first got the first one done, I didn't think I'd use it bent, as I'd been playing with a straight endpin for 25+ years. I mainly needed one since the sound system we use frequently comes with a bunch of sms mikes that fit into a stahlhammer. But I tried it bent for a while at first, and liked it so much, I never went back.

My MP3's
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Paul Tseng ICS Staff 
Administrator
(3/5/01 12:28:30 pm)
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Re: Bent Endpins
This is one of our recurring topics (along with Haydn/Kraft, etc.) But I'm happy to give you my 2.5 cents.

I use bent endpin to achieve a near-horizontal angle of the cello. After years of using a straight endpin and not feeling totally satisfied with the results in my sound and relaxation-state, I tried the bent endpin.

If you use the weight of your arms to play rather than force or pressure, then the near horizontal position afforded by the bent endpin is ideal. It lets your arms to hang (or drape) over the cello. You can hang your bow arm and your left hand over the cello which is higher up and more platform-like.

It takes some getting used too initially and you have to remember that the point of it all is to facilitate relaxation. If you miss this point, you miss THE point (no pun intended, or was is it?)

Another thing I had to get used to (and now LOVE) is not using my knees to squeeze and hold the cello. Actually, before I used the bent endping, Stephen Kates introduced the idea of not using my right leg to clamp the cello. He advocated 2 points of contact: The endpin, the chest and the left leg. The idea was that freeing up the right leg off the side of the cello allowed the cello to vibrate and resonate more freely.

He didn't really care for the bent endpin, but it did achieve the same thing with the freeing from the leg clamping effect.

Another benefit is in ricochet bowings. In the Prokofiev op 125 there are many passages that employ this technique and it really makes it easier.

All that said, someone with shorter arms and legs might find this kind of uncomfortable. However, a stand partner of mine (female) had been using a Stahlhammer endpin for years before I ever did and she was probably about 5'4. She sounded just fine and never had any problems with this.

I happen to use a regular endpin which I brought to a pipe bender (yes, there are pipe bending shops) with the angle I wanted and the point where the bend would occur marked. I don't really like Stahlhammers because I've heard them and have heard that they rattle after some time.

Matt, are you considering crossing over the the "dark side?" ;)


Paul Tseng


My Website
Alexander's website
MP3!

Christopher Chan
Registered User
(3/5/01 12:33:48 pm)
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Re: Bent Endpins
Paul wrote an excellent article on this topic.
www.cello.org/cnc/tim61.htm

There is also an interesting but inconclusive study that was done on bent endpins.
www.umich.edu/~mvs330/w00/cel/main.html

As far as personal experience with them, i currently use a bent endpin and i think it's great. Paul explains it very well so at the risk of being redundant, i'll let you read the article. I have the the stahlhammer on one of my cellos, but i don't really care much for its design. It's also more cost effective to just go to home depot and get a steel or aluminium rod (i chose aluminium b/c of light weight) for $3 and get it bent on a pipe bender than to spend $100 on the stalhammer +cost of installation by a competent luthier.

Paul Tseng ICS Staff 
Administrator
(3/5/01 12:52:34 pm)
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Re: Bent Endpins
Thanks Chris,

I never knew that my post was published on ICS. I'd better watch what I say, eh? :)

Once again, I've been proven truly redundant, again.


Paul Tseng


My Website
Alexander's website
MP3!

Dick500
Registered User
(3/5/01 12:53:24 pm)
Reply
Re: Bend endpins
Many many moons ago, I played with a Tortelier endpin (bent) before switching to a straight endpin for the simple reason that it came on the cello I bought and I thought it (the straight one) was too pretty to replace. Silly me. then I went back to the bent endpin. I've played steadily with a bent endpin for about 23 years now and I love it. It's not so much for the extra height that the bottom of the cello can get but rather for the extra lateral mobility the bottom of the cello has. This mobility is great when playing chamber music for instance because it lets you lean over toward your colleagues and bring the cello with you when you want to do that extra little bit of special eye contact rather than feeling like you're anchored to one spot on the floor.

An added benefit is that the point of the endpin goes into the floor straighter than happens with a straight endpin. Because of the angle, bent endpins don't tend to pop out of the hole in the floor like everybody else's straight endpins inconveniently do. There's no wake-up call quite like getting clipped in the back of the neck by a C peg. And that hasn't happend to me now in how long? Oooh, maybe about 23 years or so.

So I like them a great deal. BTW, there is an old thread back a little while on the Instruments & Equipment board about how Stahlhammers can rattle when the rubber o-rings go bad. That's easily fixed by taking the o-ring and the part on which it fits to an auto parts store (which stocks such things in a variety of sizes and thicknesses).

Dick Mattson

AGabbert
Registered User
(3/5/01 10:29:21 pm)
Reply
Re: Bent Endpins
I have a Stahlhammer on my cello.
I've had it for about 2 and a half years now.
I switched to it on the advice of a few cellists...(Helga Winold years ago championed it in a coaching I had years ago, and Lubomir Georgiev strongly suggested it in a lesson I had about 3 years ago.

I finally went for the change, partially because my normal endpin was buzzing a bit, and perpetually dull... and because due to the fact that I sit on the front of my chair, the boards our orchestra uses on the floor were not long enough to accomodate my endpin position...

I figured the bent endpin would make me more flexible...

Well... In the end, I do find the Stahlhammer gives me more flexibility when it comes to using different chairs (and you never know what you're going to get in school chamber concerts!).
The added bonus was that I was starting to have pain in the rotator part of my shoulders...
These pains went away soon after I made the switch...

HOWEVER... I would suggest trying someone else's first before making the switch. Some people don't like the extra maneuverability that another poster mentioned...
My cello actually needed a slight "operation" to make the change (the hole was apparently too narrow for the new endpin...)so going back would be hard.

zambocello
Registered User
(3/5/01 11:08:29 pm)
Reply
Re: Bent Endpins
I've never tried a bent one long enough to get used to it. I don't like the extra mobility of the cello. Also, I felt uncomfortable with the cello being balanced more to the front. I sit on the front of the chair and lean into the cello, and I like the cello to push back a little!

I suppose it just depends on what you're used to and if you like what you're used to. I'm injury-free and happy with my 12-14" straight end pin.

DEFINITELY try someone else's before you take the plunge.

Matthew Tifford
Registered User
(3/6/01 12:50:26 am)
Reply
But which kind?
Thanks for all of your replies. I did feel bad about posting this, since I'm sure it comes up every week or so and you are probably all tired of talking about it. But I couldn't find any old posts about it.

I understand that there are at least 5 different companies that make a bent end-pin, and I was wondering if anyone had tried anything besides the Stahlhammer. I do plan on trying one out extensively before making the switch. I don't want blow that much money and then hate it.

I'm kinda interested in the idea of getting a bent pin made in a machine shop. For those of you who have done that, what angle did you prefer?

AGabbert
Registered User
(3/6/01 1:31:02 am)
Reply
Re: Bent Endpins
I guess the positive thing the Stahlhammer has going for it is that it is highly adjustable and can be used straight if one chooses.

Of course, if you had a straight one bent, I suppose it would allow you to have both... (just keep two endpins...)

I find that the many different chairs life throws at us makes adjustability a big plus...

But the price of the Stahlhammer is probably NOT the best you can do... ($101.50 at Shar)

Christopher Chan
Registered User
(3/6/01 3:10:06 am)
Reply
Re: Bent Endpins
I think my pin is bent to about 28 degrees.

BA
Registered User
(3/6/01 4:10:12 am)
Reply
Re: Bent Endpins
My Stalhammer did rattle, and I was happy to see it go, since I haven't used a bent pin since I was 19 and was using it straight anyway. I also found it uncomfortable to adjust.

My Carbon Fibre I am in love with- So far the best thing I have learned from this board (Thanks Ryan!)

Ryan Selberg 
Registered User
(3/6/01 12:41:50 pm)
Reply
Re: BA
Thanks, Brinton,

I now have 3 long, straight carbon fiber endpins on my three cellos, and love them. Also, I feel secure every time I plant the carbide tip in the floor at Symphony Hall, knowing it is not going to slip! Having watched my predecessor as Principal Cellist of the Utah Symphony chase his cello, mounted with a bent endpin, halfway across the stage in a chamber music concert, was a good lesson in endpin physics. Besides, I really don't like the constriction of the left arm in the lower positions caused by the cello's raised location when using a bent pin. It feels very unnatural. How do you bent endpin players deal with this?

Ryan

Christopher Chan
Registered User
(3/6/01 1:11:10 pm)
Reply
Re: BA
Do professional cellists have something against endpin holders? Slipping endpins shouldn't be a issue. I myself feel bad making holes in the floor. I sit with my back to the chair when playing in the lower positions and i lean into the cello when playing in the upper register. I find the position to be very natural and i've never had a problem of left arm constriction. It's different style of playing, and for people trained in one way all their life, i imagine it might be a difficult adjustment.

Edited by: Christopher Chan at: 3/6/01 1:11:10 pm

Paul Tseng ICS Staff 
Administrator
(3/6/01 1:13:05 pm)
Reply
Re: Ryan
Ryan

Quote:
"I really don't like the constriction of the left arm in the lower positions caused by the cello's raised location when using a bent pin. It feels very unnatural. How do you bent endpin players deal with this?


Actually, I have no idea what you are talking about. I feel absolutely no constriction in my left arm using the bent endpin. If anything, after I adjusted my technique (using arm weight) when I began studying in the the more Russian traditions with Feigilson and Panteleyev, both of my arms became more free and relaxed than when I was using a straight endpin. One of the first things I noticed was that I could practice for 3 hours, go to 3 hours of orchestral rehearsal and come home and not feel the slightest bit of fatigue. I could actually keep practicing after that (if my eyelids could only stay open). Before this, I would be in too much pain to play after a rehearsal. I attribute this lack/loss of tension and pain to the bent endpin-relaxed arm approach.

Perhaps you are/were doing something with your left arm that was not compatible with the bent endpin. Ah...the secret is to not raise your entire arm and shoulder as you shift back to 1st position. At some point your left hand will be higher than your elbow (on the plane of the fingerboard, that is) If you try to keep your elbow and left hand in a line parallel to the floor then your shoulder will start rising and that might be what causes you to feel concstricted.

As with the level base-knuckles technique, when one initially tries this they feel a bit disconcerted by the seemingly lack of power these new positions afford them. But after learning the principals of balance and not force they realize that what they once thought of as power was actually tension and force. Our natural tendency is to grip harder when we feel we are going to slip or fall. But if we relied completely on balance, there would be no need to grip or squeeze. There would be strength from the natural weight of the body (which is more than adequate) and flexibility that cannot exist with tension and squeezing. Consider the difference between being a rock climber with a rope and being a skilled tight-rope walker. There is a difference in how they both use their ropes.

I can personally attest to this as both a student and a teacher. Of course, it's really difficult to explain in words alone without demonstrating physically with the students own arms and hands.


Paul Tseng


My Website
Alexander's website
MP3!

Tracie Price 
Registered User
(3/6/01 1:35:21 pm)
Reply
endpin holders
I hate 'em.

It's way too fun to stab holes in the floor for one thing.

Plus, I never seem to get those holders that are attached by a strap in the right position. And the ones without straps aren't solid enough.

Hooray for sharp endpins!

Paul Tseng ICS Staff 
Administrator
(3/6/01 1:43:05 pm)
Reply
Re: endpin holders
Does bent endpin = dull point? I seem to be hearing this subliminal message from some of the posts in this thread. I don't get it.? My endpin is just as sharp (if not sharper) than a regular straight endpin and because the point (not the cello!) is closer to 90 degrees it tends to slip a LOT less than a LONG straight endpin.

I can pull my bent endpin out and go spear fishing if I like! :) But those poor fishies! Never mind! I'll save it for the really obnoxious 1st violinist that....ooops! Did that come out? ;)


Paul Tseng


My Website
Alexander's website
MP3!

Matthew Tifford
Registered User
(3/6/01 2:12:52 pm)
Reply
Bent endpin
It would seem that the best thing would be a carbon fiber, bent endpin! I don't suppose this thing exists though.

:(

ekifri
Registered User
(3/6/01 3:56:42 pm)
Reply
Re: Bent endpin in Carbon Fiber
I spoke with David Bice (new harmony music) about exactly this.
He did say that although it is not currently available, he is working on designs. He does not have an estimated date of completion, and also expressed some reservations about the cost of such a thing. He fears (reasonably so) that the cost of developing when combined with a limited market for it might make it prohibitively expensive.

However, I for one, hope that it is feasible and reasonable....
He should update me with news if/when he succeeds.
Anyone want to mail him with further encouragement?

-eva

Jon Pegis
Registered User
(3/6/01 7:51:33 pm)
Reply
Endpin thoughts
A couple of observations on this excellent thread. On the subject of carbon fiber, I have seen first hand that every material sounds different, and it is important to try them all and see which one sounds the best. I was initially surprised by this, expecting to hear a big difference between solid and hollow, but not much between different solid materials. On my Acousticus endpin, it originally came with a hollow shaft. Russell Wagner found a drill rod that was the correct diameter, and we installed a Pegis point on it (of course!). However, due to condensation forming on the metal, eventually I began to see corrosion appear. I then replaced the rod with a stainless steel rod, and it sounded much better then the drill rod. Since then I've played cellos at Russell's shop with titanium, chrome steel, and stainless steel endpins, and they all sounded very different.
On the bent endpin question, I used to have a Stalhammer, but eventually it got noisy. Not a rattle from the o ring, but a creak where it went inside the cello. I did like the ability to go to a bent endpin if I was stuck on a short riser. However, I felt there were too many moving parts in the Stalhammer, and also the rod is hollow. For me, the perfect endpin would be one where you had a straight rod with some sort of adjusting knob at the bottom that would allow you to play with any angle you wanted. To the best of my knowledge such an endpin does not exist, and would be difficult (translation: expensive) to manufacture. I'll add this to the list of cello gadgets that I want to design. Also included in the list is a gadget to adjust the tailpiece gut without taking the whole set-up apart. Let's see, I can retire in 2016....
Jon Pegis

Ryan Selberg 
Registered User
(3/7/01 2:06:47 am)
Reply
Re: Ryan
Thanks for your explanation, Paul. It makes sense, and also points out why I find the bent pin so uncomfortable for the way I play, which is indeed with a higher elbow. I maintain an angle that allows me to cover the entire fingerboard with no significant elevation change of the elbow (at least on the A string. Of course, the elbow changes as I move to the lower strings.) I have always maintained a very good posture, and can play for long periods of time without the arms/shoulders in fatigue from the playing itself. I did experience some problems a couple years ago which I finally figured out were caused by my suddenly becoming interested in using a computer, which used some muscles in ways I hadn't used them before. And it was easy to do it for long hours at a time, when I first began exploring cyberspace. I now have a better chair, and better posture at the computer, and don't spend nearly so much time at it.

Anyway, as I am not about to change my way of playing at age 54, I will be content to better understand the bent endpin thinking and store it for future reference. Thanks again for your explanations.

Ryan

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