What's the longest scale ERG you've played? Anyone play anything over 30"?

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by Hollowway, Jul 23, 2017.

  1. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

    Messages:
    11,787
    Likes Received:
    2,303
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    Hmm, interesting! I've played around with the custom guitar tool on rondomusic, but never the bass one, so I had no idea those were even options. I should ask Kurt.
     
  2. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,941
    Likes Received:
    606
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    I've long wished for bass-length ERGs, but of course string availability is a problem and acts as an obstacle, just like it does for ultra-long basses.
    Most guitar strings are not long enough for scales over 30" and bass strings are relatively expensive. Then there's problems of mixing guitar strings with bass strings and having both work in the bridge. Also, the nut-end taper must be between nut and tuner post, so a 34" scale seems best for the lowest string, but how to combine that with an instrument short enough to use guitar strings for the higher strings?
    Of course many guitarists want something not too long due to technique and want very low notes on guitar-like scales, which is somewhat unreasonable.
    These are just the commercial pressures, hopefully things will shift as they have been recently, moving guitar and guitar strings towards longer and lower.

    The tuner post for the lowest string could be placed further away from the nut to create a 32" or 33" scale that allows using 34" strings.
    It seems individual top-load bridges are needed to cope with taperwound low strings, and such bridges should accept guitar or bass ball-ends.
     
  3. Tom Drinkwater

    Tom Drinkwater ERG/ERB Builder

    Messages:
    1,367
    Likes Received:
    226
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Location:
    Oakland Maine
    I made a 32"-29.5" 10 string six a few years back. I believe it had a labella .120" tuned to G# and it sounded pretty good. I would be more inclined to go for a longer scale than that for optimal low string tone. That 30-35 bass scale might be just the ticket. Obviously the pickups, amp and technique all need to be on point too but the longer scale would definitely go a long ways toward your goal.
     
    Hollowway likes this.
  4. M3CHK1LLA

    M3CHK1LLA angel sword guardian

    Messages:
    5,433
    Likes Received:
    659
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Location:
    orbiting caprica
    longest erg ive played is the mark tremonti baritone - 25.5"

    lol...j/k. longest played is 27" on my rg8 and and an rga8. i dont think it too long, wouldn't mind trying a 30"
     
  5. BigViolin

    BigViolin SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    239
    Likes Received:
    9
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2014
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    Any way you go about this will come with a big compromise on either end. I start thinking about how good the clarity is with say a Dingwall at 37" and how big of a fan is actually playable. Obviously you've been kicking this around for some time and am much farther down the road than I, but I would be looking at two key issues, fan range and which end would be optimized. What's the biggest ten string fan you know of? Is something like 30-37" even playable?

    Apologies if this has been covered, but I would love to see someone build a super extreme fanned 10 and make it work. .009-.160 would be pretty cool to check out.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  6. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

    Messages:
    11,787
    Likes Received:
    2,303
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    Yeah, these are all good points. My thinking with a super long scale is to tune it below standard, such that it would be adding frets "behind the nut." In other words, you could make it such that a capo at the 4th fret would result in the EADGBE tuning on the upper strings we're all used to. Then you could have a thicker string with lower tension on the higher strings. And that would work with super long scales.
    Alternatively, skew it to favor the higher end, and not take the high end much beyond the 28" that we all accept on 8 strings.

    I feel like a 5 or 6" fan should be doable, especially since this wouldn't be a shredding guitar, per se.

    But yeah, top loading bridge, low end tuning posts near the nut, etc, and some Kalium strings, and it's probably reasonably doable.
     
  7. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,179
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Southend-on-Sea, Essex, U.K
    Yeah the frets behind the nut thing is exactly what Holdsworth was doing. He wanted to retain a 25.5 EADGBE with regular gauges - so that actually ended up with a 38" scale just do go down 7 semitones to regular low A! The clarity would have been incredible, the feel with his regular strings? I'm not so sure.
    I've only tried it detuning 34/35/36 basses with Kaliums (having the same string construction as their guitar strings so in theory being the same thing). I took them down from 40lbs to around 28lbs (I'd usually use 20lbs for a regular baritone guitar, found 24lbs good for my 30" Bass VIs (which I treated as guitars entirely)). It felt ok but was kind of hard to get used to, maybe it was the bass mindset due to it still being one of my basses, with bass spacing and electronics etc.
    I'm really into the idea of experimenting with this - I'd really like a 36
     
  8. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,179
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Southend-on-Sea, Essex, U.K
    Here's what I have in mind:
    len 36
    b0 .114 ckwng == 31.35#
    len 35.7
    e1 .086 ckwng == 31.75#
    len 35.4
    a1 .063 ckwng == 30.09#
    len 35.4
    d2 .045 ckwng == 28.34#
    len 35.1
    g2 .033 ckwng == 27.37#
    len 34.8
    c3 .024 ckwng == 26.83#
    len 34.5
    f3 .017 ckplg == 24.18#
    len 34.2
    b3b .013 ckplg == 24.76#

    A 9 with an Eb4 on top would be nice but it's pushing it too much for me at 34" - just a bit more than my 24.75" Ab4. I think 31" would be just right for an Eb so perhaps a 31-34 9 string is in order :) Yes a bigger fan is viable but it's not a priority to me to get the top string in there.
    The long scale is super appealing to me not only for tone, but for small microtonal frettings, and easier fretless intonation :D
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  9. Halowords

    Halowords SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    397
    Likes Received:
    14
    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Location:
    Oshkosh, WI
    Well, the Chapman Stick has 10 strings at a 36" scale across all strings. Not sure how they do that on the higher strings and it's a tapping instrument, however that range is at least possible.

    Honestly though, I've had similar thoughts and ended up getting a 9-string Rondo with a 27"-30" fan. I have it at B0 and find it just stands out, so may eventually get a much thicker string or change the tuning (it's a BEADGCFAD right now). At this point, I find the low-B string pretty much just taking up space for now. However, in concept and in my mind, those can be useful for adding some low end thump or filling in the sound (which, yes, a bass player suits nicely) and having more strings under-finger.

    I'm still mentally weighing my options before I jump to a different tuning (probably something with a low-E or something in the range of a Bass VI where I add a high-G or something because a high-A would snap if I breathed on it at 27"), however at proper tension having a 9 (and obviously a 10) gives me options that I think could work really well.

    I've mostly abandoned the idea because I think more in terms of playing lead and bouncing between that and rhythm, and am considering selling the 9 for something shorter-scale to add a high-A instead of a really-low-B, but I really like what I've got so I'm a bit stumped. However for somebody like Hollowway I think he likes to play more with those low notes. It works for Charlie Hunter and I think could work for Doom Metal or bands like Meshuggah or just atmospheric stuff. My preferences are leading me more toward my roots of short-scale with a sweet treble (which my current tuning gets me close enough, it just leaves the low-B a bit...lacking), however the thought of playing Bass VI-and-lower stuff with standard chords, riffs, and just sort of bouncing back and forth between bass, rhythm, and lead (not in a band, just a middle-aged guy jamming in the basement for now), then something that could get low like a Quake Bass that just provides a visceral feel AND allow me to play around with lead stuff has an appeal. At that point it is a very instrument than a more singular-purpose-build guitar, like a designated bass, rhythm, or lead, and for playing a certain role in a band at this point I think I might opt for fewer strings and stick to my role a bit more. Which is surprising to hear myself say because in theory the more strings the better.

    TLDR version, I totally get the appeal and think I understand what @Hollowway is going for. I think there is definitely a place for that, and the Chapman Stick is a great example showing that it can be done and work well in a band situation. I could just watch Tony Levin rock out on his Chapman Stick and be back here totally rejuvenated for ten(+?) strings in about two minutes. I just think to make it all work ideally for me requires waaaaaaay too long a fan to be playable and becomes something other than a guitar in the traditional sense.

    Probably more than anybody wanted to know.

    -Cheers
     
  10. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,941
    Likes Received:
    606
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    Certainly it's good to give up on keeping a E4 on top, it's not difficult to get used to a transposed guitar.

    Chapman Stick, WarrGuitar and TouchGuitars all have D4 as the highest possible open tuning for 34" (= C#4 on 36"), that's the highest possible with typical plain strings, D4 on 34" is equivalent to G4 on 25.5". Obviously having E4 open is meaningless due to the string damper and playing technique.
     
    Halowords likes this.
  11. Halowords

    Halowords SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    397
    Likes Received:
    14
    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Location:
    Oshkosh, WI
    That's kind of how I have my Agile set up, and I have seen one or two where Rick Toone has built guitars with a built-in partial capo for the lower strings. However, in practice I never got a capo and ended up just playing it dropped down a full step just because I like consistency. Ergo, it is easier for me to have static open notes/chords, so it still kind of throws me a bit going from my Agile to my standard-tuned 6's. Not because of the extra strings, but the fact my scales/patterns are all kind of tied to the first string and everything is two-frets off.

    At that point, why not consider something like a Chapman Stick or a Harpejji?
     
  12. Backsnack

    Backsnack Many strings

    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    22
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2016
    Location:
    San Diego
    *Hint hint*

    Chapman Stick ;)
     
  13. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

    Messages:
    11,787
    Likes Received:
    2,303
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    Yeah, I was actually looking at the Stick. I sent them an email asking about the new aluminum version. Never got a response, though.
    But, I don’t do two hand tapping. I don’t really like the sound of it, it’s not my style, and I don’t want to learn that method of playing when I still suck and every other method. :lol: But I definitely thought about buying one and trying to use it as a traditional guitar. Though, they’re quite expensive for that sort of experimentation.
     
  14. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,179
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Southend-on-Sea, Essex, U.K
    Looking at my post above I had thoughts about converting a 6 string bass into an 8 string guitar and using;
    len 35
    b0 .120 ckwnb == 32.71#
    e1 .090 ckwnb == 33.27#
    a1 .067 ckwnb == 33.43#
    d2 .049 ckwnb == 32.53#
    g2 .037 ckwnb == 33.67#
    c3 .026 ckwnb == 31.43#
    f3 .018 ckplb == 27.9#
    b3b .013 ckplb == 25.93#

    I realised trebles aside these gauges are not far off a typical 6 string bass set, or a lighter gauge set. Pretty much like tuning a bass down a semitone or two. That still feels very very much like a bass like I said before haha. I'm trying to convince myself it's just a mindset thing and that the string spacing etc would alter my perception
     
  15. Tom Drinkwater

    Tom Drinkwater ERG/ERB Builder

    Messages:
    1,367
    Likes Received:
    226
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2009
    Location:
    Oakland Maine
    Extreme fans can be playable but it really depends on the player. My SS8 Shorty model looks unplayable with a 22.5-26 fan but is surprisingly easy to play. If you added two strings to that layout you'd be looking at 22.5-27 and if you increased the entire scale length to something like 37-32.5 i dont think it would that bad at all.
     
    Winspear likes this.
  16. Poo

    Poo Tunes to B00

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    6
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2016
    Location:
    Selfoss, Iceland
    I do that, too! Did you put in different pickups or stick with the weird single-coil/pseudo-humbucker setup?

    Never. It's fun. I have, however, found out that B♭00 (14.568) is the lowest note I can actually hear from my bass guitar...
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
  17. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

    Messages:
    10,549
    Likes Received:
    1,179
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Location:
    Southend-on-Sea, Essex, U.K
    Stock pickups, I was very happy with them. I didn't buy it for death metal or anything and found they were fantastic for anything else. Singlecoil sounds and low tunings are incredible fun, imo
     
    Halowords likes this.
  18. op1e

    op1e Blood_Lust:Unlimited

    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    120
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Location:
    Northeast Ohio
    Regarding the very first post, that's strange and interesting. I wanna go up to 28 for a 7, probably just get an 8. I found while I briefly had an Agile 827 I could ACTUALLY get by with a 64 instead of a 74 for the low A unlike my 7421. But being tuned A standard in the band, getting the low E tension was a problem even with a 90. I would prefer to be in half step down for 8 string stuff, but alas the songs are already written and they would be useless for our 7 string set of songs until we could all afford a Drop pedal. Need MOAR TENSIONS!!!
     
    Hollowway likes this.
  19. jrui

    jrui SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    143
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Location:
    N/A
    I have a 30" 6 string. a bass vi copy from jackson guitar company. I simply use EB 1256 B std tuning on it, which to me is very good. I like the voicing of a baritone guitar , more huge sounding, more tough,more defi
    nition,more unforgiving. That's really what a real metal guitar means.
     
    Winspear and Hollowway like this.
  20. luca9583

    luca9583 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    367
    Likes Received:
    66
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    @Hollowway

    I have a dual scale instrument (25.5" and 34") that produces a great sounding B0 with a .120 gauge. It has a multi channel bridge pickup that allows me to eq the two lowest strings separately from the higher strings and from each other. I was using a .094 for the B0 to begin with, but this required moving the bridge saddle so far back for intonation to the point where it started to affect the bridge pickup tone..in that it started to sound more like a bridge and middle pickup combined.

    For tuning lower than B0 i would definitely look into an even longer scale length because after a certain point, you definitely need relatively heavier strings (bass gauge for the super low tunings down to F#0) for the fretted notes to be intonated. I would also look into getting a multi channel pickup or perhaps several single string pickups as you will definitely want to eq something like an F#0 differently to a typical E1 in terms of how much Tube Screamer style boost you apply before hitting your preamp.

    Another very, very important point when going for longer than 30" scale for ERGs is the pickup placement. If you place the bridge pickup very close to the bridge M8M style at 34" scale for example, you'll get a very raspy bass tone with very little low end and it won't sound like a guitar. As you start to move the pickup away from the bridge, the tone starts to become more guitar-like because the distance between bridge and bridge pickup is in proportion to the scale length compared to say, the pickup placement on a Gibson or Fender.

    I would grab one of those Rondo fanned fret basses that go up to 36/37" scale and then experiment with string gauges for your desired tunings.
     

Share This Page