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Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by Hollowway, Jul 23, 2017.
If it's a 10 string you're going for, i would go for some negative frets on the two lowest strings
Somebody here, can't recall their name, has a guitar with something like a 32~36" fan. Dunno if they're around as much these days, but that would be a good person to ask.
Finally remembered, I was thinking of Durero.
Hey that's me. I haven't been very active here lately - too busy working on my prototype designs and getting my shop going.
InfinityCollision you're exactly right: I've been playing a 36"-32" 7-string since 2000.
I also have a 32"-28" 10-string which I've modified to allow pickup position adjustment. It came with a straight pickup, not angled with the fan, which sounds awful for the bass strings. I had the top routed to allow the pickup to be swung so it's parallel to the bridge and right next to it and it sounds infinitely clearer now on the bass strings.
There are a couple of ideas expressed in this thread that I'd like to react to.
First I've had a nice discussion with Tom Winspear (outside this forum) regarding perceived tension and scale length. My experience with long scales is that if you chose your string gage to match the tension you're used to with shorter scale instruments then the tension and perceived tension is exactly the same assuming you're picking at the same distance from the bridge which you were on your shorter scale instrument.
If you let your picking hand wander farther from the bridge on your long scale instrument then of course the perceived string tension will be lower, but that's not really due to the scale length, it's due to your hand position. I find that palm-muting technique is the perfect way to keep your picking hand at a consistent distance from the bridge regardless of the scale length of the instrument.
For the fretting hand the perceived tension will definitely be lower (assuming the same actual string tension) on longer scale instruments as you move your hand towards the 12th fret. In my opinion as a former full-time guitar teacher for over 20 years if this issue bothers you then you're pressing too hard when you fret notes. This means that you're relying on string tension to keep your fretting fingers stable, instead of strengthening the smaller muscles in your fingers to keep each finger stable.
Secondly I have to respectfully disagree with the notion Holloway expressed about pickup placement. I have experimented with this by varying the pickup placement on the same instrument and I've found that the proportional idea you're talking about simply doesn't work.
It's much simpler: pickup placement acts like a filter. Closer to the bridge = more treble & less bass. Closer to the neck = more bass. On my 10-string the clearest and most guitar-like tone happens when the pickup is right against the bridge M8M-style. It sounds more and more bass-like the further the pickup is away from the bridge.
This pickup placement concept applies most strongly to high-gain guitar tones. For clean tones then perhaps the issue is debatable. I have a variety of basses and I find that pickup placement on them is less standardized than it is on guitars.
I would say that there is definitely a tonal difference achieved with different pickup placement that goes beyond varying levels of treble and bass.
Regarding "guitar-like" bridge pickup tone on bass scale lengths, i think there is definitely a sweet spot for pickup placement that changes a bit as the scale length goes up. At 34" scale, i'm 100% sure that a bridge pickup placed right next to the bridge will sound less guitar-like than placing it a little further away, but obviously not placed so far as where it starts to sound like a middle pickup tone.
Another fun thing with 34" scale when using guitar strings is that fretted notes on the 5th fret sound very similar to open strings on a 25.5" scale guitar, but that same pitch as an open string at 34" scale (still with a guitar string) will start to sound less guitar-like to my ears and more raspy.
It would be great to record a test using a 34" scale instrument with a sliding pickup of some kind, and guitar strings.
Can I see a picture of this instrument? It sounds super cool.
Leo, you gonna start building? I’ll be at the front of that line, if you do!
Thanks for the contribution! Following our discussion, and a little rethinking on my part, I'm going to see what's the longest scale I can handle with a traditional bridge position - rather than it being further back like a bass. I was already finding that backwards position to affect my muting hand slightly, and given what you said about the hand position I want to keep it as easy as possible to mute normally. Will have a play around !
the second pic was taken before i had the mulitchannel pickup installed and moved a little further away from the bridge
Very interesting instrument, showing an advantage of headless design. Clever dual-use of fretboard dots too. Shows how the 5th fret of 34" bass is 25.5" guitar.
Yes this is what i find playing a bass as an ERG, the picking hand is at a different angle to the strings, the forearm more perpendicular than parallel, this can affect guitar techniques.
What a cool concept and beautifully executed instrument. I love it!
Do you have any sound or video recordings of it which you'd like to share?
I suspect we mostly agree about the fundamentals of pickup placement and tone, but perhaps have different colours in mind for the terms "guitar-like" or "bass-like" tone.
I stand by my statement that closer to bridge = more high frequencies and closer to neck = more lows, but if your preferred guitar tone is more mellow / less shrill than mine then that's just different taste and I see nothing wrong with that at all.
I'll try to elaborate on my "guitar-like" tone statement and say that I was focusing primarily on the problem of extending the guitar range far below E2 and how easily that range starts to sound too muddy for my taste. This is in the context of a metal-head's preferred high gain distortion. I'm sure a jazz player, for example, would have different and perhaps opposite taste from mine.
To me an ideal design would be single string sliding pickups. I've always preferred a neck pickup sound for my high strings and a bridge pickup sound for my low strings. There was a pickup company called Linear Pickups which made such a design in the 90's/2000's but they seem to have gone out of business. It's on my todo list to try to develop one if I ever have the time.
Haha I bet you will! Yes I'm building, but I've still got tons of work to do in sorting out my production process and build more prototypes for myself before offering anything for sale. Believe me I'll be posting here a lot more when I'm in production
Are you aware of Cycfi pickups? Might be a bit more out there than you are looking for - but I'm going to be building a 9 string with their Nu capsules on sliding rails through slots in the body..just gotta figure out a rail system that works nicely !
Durero’s protos have either those actual cyfis or a version of them. He’s got them in an s shape for the best placement on the fan.
I should probably state the obvious at this point: yes, I do stalk Leo. Yes, I do have an obsession. And yes, I would probably ask him out, if he were female. I know a ridiculous amount about his long scale instrument (The guitar, you perv, get your head out of the gutter!)
Thanks man..it came out great after a few tweaks. Should have some recordings with it in a few months.
Cycfi stuff looks very cool. Tom are you gonna be using these as full range pickups or using any filters/eq? I seem to remember some early high gain clips of these had some hiss due to the full range response
Yes Joel's Cycfi pickup designs are super nice! If you ever want someone to bounce rail designs off of, please don't hesitate to contact me. Moveable single string pickups are the ultimate tone control in my opinion.
Joel's printed circuit board pickup connectors look ideal for sliding pickups. I imagine that a set of magnets on the bottom of the Nu capsules to hold their position along a simple metal rail could work well. The magnets would have to be strong enough to hold position securely, but not so strong that the player can't reposition the capsules easily.
A far out fantasy version of movable pickups could be to mount them on a set of those self-positioning mixing board faders (the ones used to recall mix settings on fancy mixing consoles.) I'd love to be able to press a footswitch on my MIDI foot controller and have all my pickups quickly reposition to a different arrangement. I looked into sourcing those self-positioning faders years ago but they were prohibitively expensive. I should probably check again soon to see if there are any inexpensive versions, or tiny servo-controlled threaded sliders like for a 3D printer or something...
(Darth Vader voice)"The bromance is strong with this one"
It's entirely mutual Hollowway. The amount of drool I've produced over your ERG NGD posts over the years is downright embarrassing.
I'm looking forward to the day when I've got as many ERG's as you!
Luca I was assuming that the multi-channel pickups on your instrument were Cycfi Nu's. Since I'm obviously mistaken, what are you using?
Or is there a Roland hexaphonic between the bridge pickup and the bridge which I'm not seeing in the picture?
Faders did occur to me to use as a ready-made rail system, but didn't think of automatic ones - that would be incredible indeed haha. They are probably much more affordable now with the popularity of digital consoles increasing int he last 5 years hugely.
The magnet idea is lovely and very simple - had not thought of that. I do wonder if it could intefere with the pickup? Still, a safe bet would be to extend the base of it further into the guitar with metal and then attach the magnet lower down.
I love this idea - very simple and will certainly be a good one for prototyping! Thank you
i have a 35" 6 string stung B-C.
Bass or guitar? Or crossover? And I’m assuming B0, right? How does it sound? What string sizes do you have on it?