An 8 string 19" scale length, fifth tuned guitar b0-b6+ range.

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by aus, Apr 24, 2021.

  1. aus

    aus SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2011
    Location:
    Newcastle, Australia
    I had an Agile 828 intrepid pro when they came out but the scale length is too big for comfort.

    The 19" scale is to allow me to comfortably reach four notes per string using all four fingers.
    Also, since it is tuned in fifths I do not need to slide much at all when moving between strings.
    Also the same chords work almost anywhere and there are 1 finger power chords.
    Also I can get more range on less strings.

    @aus if u don't mind sharing, what's the motivation here, maybe we could help u achieve what u need but without residing to such drastic measures.[/QUOTE]

    The motivation is to play low to high notes on an ergonomic light weight, compact guitar.
    As much of the range of 88 piano as practical on an electric guitar.

    Also I thought those 7 string viper violins looked pretty neat.

    The pitch shifting sounds a bit over my head.

    I should be able to make a pickup as I have the wire and a sewing machine to wind.
     
    Stuck_in_a_dream likes this.
  2. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    1,577
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    The lower strings would be bizarre certainly if they go down to around B0 on such a short scale, but i love the idea =) I have recurring dreams about tiny scale ERGs with 10+ strings, perversely low tuned for their scale. I now have an interest in seeing how low a guitar or short scale guitar could be tuned by compromising tone, pitch stability and playability.

    A very low tuned string on 19" will inevitably have to be very low tension to avoid requiring a huge gauge that will be very stiff and therefore have bad tone. So for the lowest strings you need to experiment with reducing tension as much as you can stand.
    Keep in mind that as scale gets shorter, less tension is required for the same 'feel', so you do not have to match 'standard guitar string tension', you can use a lower tension for all strings.

    I suggest experimenting with tuning as low as possible on a 25.5" scale guitar, keeping in mind that 19" will be at fret 4 or 5 on such a guitar. You could capo a normal guitar at fret 4 or 5 to create a roughly 19" scale guitar. Then buy some large gauge ERG strings and experiment.
    If you are happy with a bizarre tone you could go quite low. You will not be able to acheive a conventional 'good tone' as that requires more scale length the lower you tune.
    It is difficult to choose gauges in advance for such a crazy project as you will really be pushing the limits of tone and playability, which will probably require unusually low tension on the lower strings, so experimentation is the way forward.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2021
  3. RobDobble6S7

    RobDobble6S7 Lizard Man

    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    96
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2020
    Location:
    Texas
    Now imagining a 19-35 scale length
     
  4. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    1,577
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    aus, your idea reminded me of this 9 string electric violin tuned in mostly fifths Eb1 Bb F C G D A E A.
    (The video title gets the string number wrong and the comments get the tuning wrong, confirmed by an article about this instrument i found.)

     
    vozhyk and aus like this.
  5. Stuck_in_a_dream

    Stuck_in_a_dream SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,331
    Likes Received:
    367
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I'm no luthier, but B0 is the lowest note on a 5-string bass tuned to B-standard. So, I don't think a 19" B0 string would sound much better than a rubber band between the thumb & index, I believe 34-35" scale is a must imho. I play bass sometimes and my hand is not too large or anything, and with proper technique it shouldn't be much of a problem.

    Also, is the "4-note per string" is a must? Am I detecting an Allan Holdsworth influence here? Holdsworth had unreal (read un-human) hands, that's why other players invented different approaches that do not involve wide stretches (e.g. Greg Howe's tapping). Tom Quayle has an interesting approach (he doesn't even use all hammer-ons) and he tunes in fourths, check him out.
     
  6. akinari

    akinari SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    701
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2013
    For whatever it's worth, I've gone down to B0 on a 30" scale with a 100 and it felt and sounded pretty good despite my expectations.
     
  7. aus

    aus SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2011
    Location:
    Newcastle, Australia
    Yes the four note per string, four finger per string scale shapes, fifths tuning is the point of the guitar.
     
  8. xwmucradiox

    xwmucradiox sweep.tap.sweep

    Messages:
    2,178
    Likes Received:
    507
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2005
    Location:
    Maryland
    You don't have to chop 25% of the scale length off to get one extra note per string. You could probably go to 23" or 22" and pull it off but range is still going to be an issue. The guy in this video has a 3/4 scale 7 string for playing 4 note per string stuff more easily. Scale length is probably 21.5 or 22"

     
    Wildebeest likes this.
  9. Stuck_in_a_dream

    Stuck_in_a_dream SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    1,331
    Likes Received:
    367
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2011
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    ^ just fyi, this is Marshall Harrison, he's a monster player & he makes things look easy. He also has his own approach (not pure Holdsworth-ian). It's a combination of sweep/economy picking & hybrid, he calls it "Swybryd" picking.
     
  10. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

    Messages:
    14,802
    Likes Received:
    8,338
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    Maybe look into the kala U bass? Those aren’t typical strings, but they definitely get low at short scale lengths. Same with the old guild ashbory bass. Those are 18” at standard bass pitch.

    I know you’re getting a lot of “don’t do it” feedback, and that’s practical advice. But, if you CAN figure out a way to pull this off, that would be super cool. That’s why I keep pitching this ideas to you. You’re going to have to think well outside the box. But I think it might be doable.
     
    Wildebeest, RobDobble6S7 and luca9583 like this.
  11. aus

    aus SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2011
    Location:
    Newcastle, Australia
    I tried out a guitar to see what stretch I could manage.

    6 Fret stretch to play 4 notes is comfortable on the second fret at a scale length of 21.443". First fret is where it gets uncomfortable.

    A stretch of 7 frets is too much at the first fret on the E string. However if I play 3 notes on the E string and play the open B then four notes on the B string I can resolve that problem.
    [​IMG]

    As a side note I remember there was a fellow playing some Paganini on a 32 fret seven string dragon head guitar (can't find the video) which was pretty interesting. So I'd want to get some high notes.

     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2021
  12. luca9583

    luca9583 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    395
    Likes Received:
    82
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    How about the Ashbory bass? It's 18" scale and fretless but it gives you an idea of how the intonation would be for E1.

    Sorry..just saw this has been suggested above. I reckon either the Ashbory or the Kala would be useful tools for planning your final instrument, although the Kala stuff is already as expensive as getting something custom made.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2021
  13. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula A series of interconnected fortune cookies.

    Messages:
    1,087
    Likes Received:
    332
    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Location:
    US
    The Hadean bass ukes on Rondo Music are dirt cheap. Scratch/dent instruments are sometimes less than $100. I doubt they’re quite as good as Kala but that’s the route I’d take for experimentation.
     
    luca9583 likes this.
  14. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    1,577
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    I was recently searching through old posts as i remembered that someone here tuned an 8 string in all-fifths.
    I have just found this:
    From this post https://www.sevenstring.org/threads/28-scale-doable-for-drop-e-tuning.316156/page-2#post-4660816

    So 8 strings in fifths is extreme but possible on a 25.5" scale, but the shorter your scale is the worse the tone of the lowest strings will be.
    For the top strings he was using special high strength plain steel strings from 'Octave 4 Plus', which you could consider using.
    You could perhaps try the high strength D'Addario NYXL plain steel strings which cannot tune quite as high (G#4 or A4 on 25.5").
    Your entire tuning will probably be determined by how high you can tune the top string, then you go down in fifiths from there.

    I have a suggestion you could perhaps consider:

    This uses the feature that a longer scale guitar contains a shorter scale guitar.
    If you used a 25.5" scale guitar, you could play a little way up the neck to achieve the 7 fret stretch. So you have your short scale guitar but in addition to that you have some additional frets down to the nut that extend your range lower by a few semitones. This would be extra range that would not be possible in any way on a short scale guitar.
    This would also give you the option of playing by shifting your hand on the lower frets, when you do not need to play fast.
    This would also not restrict where on neck to use the 7-fret stretch, it can be shifted as required.
    This way you could modify an existing 25.5" scale guitar and avoid the expense, risk and stress of a custom build.
     
    RobDobble6S7 likes this.
  15. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

    Messages:
    14,802
    Likes Received:
    8,338
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    But that would require an even thicker string to compensate for the lower tuning at the nut, right? In other words, if he tunes to A0 at the 5th fret (for instance) and is using a longer scale guitar, he still has to have the guitar tuned to E0 at the nut. That would negate any advantage of using a longer scale.
     
    Winspear likes this.
  16. asopala

    asopala SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    266
    Likes Received:
    93
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2014
    Location:
    Chicago
    One thing that I don't think was mentioned: 18 inch scale is (only just longer than) that of a mandolin. Shredding high notes on that thing is insanely difficult due to the tiny fret distances, I had to use my fingernail to hit the 20th fret on one of those, and they usually stop there. If you go fretless, you might be able to get away with this at that scale, but it's a thing to consider. I don't even have thick fingers or anything.

    I know you mentioned the Mark Wood 7 string violin, why not try and learn to play that? They come fretted which makes finger intonation a non-issue, it's just down to learning how to use a bow (or just play that thing with a pick). The fingerings would accomplish what it sounds like you're trying to do. But I think it only goes up to 7 strings (at Bb 1, a whole step below a cello).

    edit: Mandolins are 13 in scale length, my bad. Though the point still stands; I have similar issues on the 24th fret of my B1-A4 8 string on the highest string which is 22.5-26".
     
    Wildebeest likes this.
  17. asopala

    asopala SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    266
    Likes Received:
    93
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2014
    Location:
    Chicago
    All that said, I love the idea you have for a guitar, but it definitely needs some prototyping and experimentation to see what does the job.
     
  18. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

    Messages:
    14,802
    Likes Received:
    8,338
    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Location:
    California
    ?? Uhh, you gonna tell us what THAT instrument is? I gots to know! Is that the Sherman 8 with trem?
     
  19. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    1,577
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    Sorry aus, i reread your posts and see you specifically want a lightweight, compact guitar, so nevermind my suggestion for a standard scale.
    I still really like the idea of a short scale guitar as it is so perverse =D I like the idea more than doing this on a standard scale.
    I feel a little sorry for you due to the responses, i knew this would be controversial the first time i saw the thread title =D
    Slightly yes, i forgot about longer scales requiring slightly higher tension, so yes there would be some disadvantage.
    But ... it does not have to have 24 frets =) So this is not a problem. The impression i had was that this would be played more across the strings.
     
    Hollowway likes this.
  20. luca9583

    luca9583 SS.org Regular

    Messages:
    395
    Likes Received:
    82
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2010
    Location:
    London, UK
    B0 at 23.5" scale here..for clean bass it's pretty decent and this scale could work.

    Not sure what gauge th B0 is, i'm assuming the E1 is a .110 from the Kala set.

     

Share This Page