Endpins are a big topic: Pultruded carbon fiber, woven carbon fiber, stainless steel, chrome-plated carbon steel, fiberglass, wood, titanium, aluminum, 8 mm, 10 mm, half-inch, solid rod, or tubes, angled, straight, adjustable, or not, and the list goes on…. And then, of course, there are baroque cellists who use no endpin at all! The choices can be overwhelming, but changing endpins can be a great way to improve the sound of an instrument for curious players willing to take the time to experiment.
After years of trying dozens of endpin materials and designs, I’ve developed some clear preferences, but also recognize that each instrument, player, and hall are different. The endpin that sounds and functions the best in one set of circumstances may not work well in another. In order to encourage players to try our flagship “Saddle Rider Tone Adjusters” with their own familiar endpin, so they can hear more clearly how the Saddle Rider affects their instrument’s tone, we don’t include endpins with our Saddle Rider endpin mounts.
We do, however, offer high quality endpin tips in 10 mm or half-inch sizes for players who would like an inexpensive way to experiment with different endpin materials in combination with their Saddle Rider Tone Adjuster.
Our tips are inspired by the industry-standard tips many bassists use, but differ in the following ways: Unlike the ubiquitous similar-looking tips, our Saddle Rider brand tips’ holes are approximately 10.01 mm and .501 inch, allowing a slight clearance for manufacturing variations in stock rods. (The other tips on the market are usually sized at 9.96 mm or .499 inch, often requiring either drilling out the tip or lathing down the rod to fit stock rods.) Our tips are made with top quality materials and state of the art CNC techniques, and have sharper points than most. They use standard M10 threads which are fully compatible with many other brands, and are manufactured to exacting quality clearances so they don’t vibrate loose. Perhaps best of all, our high-quality tips and non-slip rubber balls are significantly less expensive than other tips of similar quality! Please contact SaddleRiderLLC@gmail.com for more information.
In order to compare the sound of stock rods or tubes purchased from online rod providers, Saddle Rider brand tips can be pressed onto any standard rod with a thin paper or tape shim, or can be attached with a drop of super glue. I find that shimmed tips work well for comparing the sound of different rods. When glued, the fit is rock-solid and permanent, but can still be removed by heating over a stove flame for 15-20 seconds. Heating expands the metal and breaks the glue bond, allowing the tip to be removed and used again on a different rod.
With regard to rod materials, after years of experimentation, I’ve found that cost often does not dictate sound quality. I have a drawer full of expensive endpins of all types, but find I keep returning to a 10 mm carbon fiber rod I purchased on Amazon for $9, and alternate this with a 304 stainless steel rod (also from the internet) depending on my mood and what I’m playing. The carbon fiber is a little more resonant and has a more sensitive response, and the steel has a slightly firmer bass sound with a brighter resonance up high. Using inexpensive stock materials like these offers players lots of latitude to experiment with various lengths (which affect modes of resonance), and other sound-altering modifications.
All popular endpin materials, with the exception of Silicon Nitride, can be cut by hand with a $6 fine-toothed hacksaw from any hardware store. If desired, hand cut rods or tubes can easily be given a professional-looking rounded or chamfered end. This is done by mounting the rod in an electric drill and rotating it diagonally for a few seconds against an inexpensive grindstone from the local hardware store. Half-inch rods, which won’t fit in most inexpensive drills, can be first mounted onto a half-inch endpin tip. The tip can, in turn, be wrapped with some masking tape to protect the threads and then inserted into the drill.
For more information about endpins, check out these links: