Cello Tuned Short Scale?

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by ElRay, Jun 16, 2020.

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  1. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    We have a Fender Bronco Bass (30" Scale) that isn't seeing much use and the thought of stringing it up: C-G-D-A just popped into my head. Any thoughts or experience playing a bass in 5ths?
     
  2. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I think it's schecter that makes something called a "cello-blaster"? I actually don't know much about them though.
     
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  3. Demiurge

    Demiurge Intrepid Jackass

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    There was a recent thread about the celloblasters in the ERG sub: https://www.sevenstring.org/threads/about-the-schecter-a-5x-and-other-celloblasters.144068/

    Somebody posted a picture of their celloblasters along with what appear to be some awesome custom short-scale basses (he didn't say if they were tuned in 5ths, though).

    I've been thinking about setting up a guitar for 5ths tuning and was debating between a tele copy and a short-scale Talman bass.
     
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  4. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Schecter USED to make the Celloblaster: A 26-1/2" 5-string, 5ths turned guitar. I've definitely been drooling over these for years, except that they made the neck more narrow than you'd expect from just losing one string.

    The Bronco Bass is definitely a bass w/ a 30" scale and Id string it up for C1-G1-D2-A2 and not Celloblaster range (A1-E2-B2-,F3#,C4# or C2-G2-D3-A3-E4)

    I was thinking of stringing up the Bronco with guitar (thinner, looser) strings, but the Bronco Bass definitely has a bass bridge, so I'm definitely leaning towards sticking with bass (thicker, tighter, octave lower) strings. But, the thought of replacing the bridge with a 4-string cigar-box bridge is still lingering in the back of my head.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
  5. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    I do have experience playing a 30" Bass VI in 5ths - F1 C2 G2 D3 A3 E4. I'd say the scale is just short enough to not be too much of a problem in 5ths tuning :)
    I have also tried C1 on a shortscale bass, not sure how I feel about it but it wasn't awful with a regular 130 B
     
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  6. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Hmmmm. Maybe I can give-up cello-tuning and do F1-C2-G2-D3. The big draw was to play the cello parts in duets/trios w/ the kids.
    Understood. I haven't worked-out string tensions yet, so C1 very well may be a no-go.
     
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  7. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    You can think of it as regular bass Bb with a capo :)
    You are aware cello is C2 right? Drop C guitar pitch. C1 5ths being octave-down cello, below double bass in pitch. So you could have a tenor bass and play true cello parts. I understand if you'd rather keep some low notes in there though!
     
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  8. Necris

    Necris Bonitis.

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    It should work fine. If you know the total tension of the set you currently have it strung with you can go through D'addario's (or another brand's if they provide it) string tension pdf and do some math based on the unit weight of the strings and your scale length to make a set with roughly equivalent tension to what you have on there now for the new tuning, that way you won't have to worry as much about a truss rod adjustment, since as far as the neck cares nothing has changed. You can generally use long scale bass strings to string a short scale bass so you have plenty of options for building a set.
     
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  9. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    Yup. The Bronco is already E1-A1-D2-G2 so I figured I'd come down 4x1/2-steps instead of going up 8x1/2-steps. Let me plug&chug with the string tension calculations, "skinny" bass strings and see what I get.
     
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  10. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    I suggest actual cello pitch then, starting on C2. The scale length is more suitable for cello pitch.
    Obviously a custom set of strings, but because it is 30" you have the option of using guitar strings (more flexible) (thread the string through a detached bass ferrule to acheive the correct ferrule size). If at cello pitch the top A will be a plain steel string, use a guitar string for that.

    I have set up my bass guitars in many different fifths tunings, including baritone tunings close to cello tuning, i often used .065 .040 .025 .015p (lowest 3 being bass strings).
    Remember the gauge rule for fifths: For equal tension, adjacent strings have gauges in ratio 3:2.
     
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  11. ElRay

    ElRay Mostly Harmless

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    I just did some quick plinking around with String Joy's String Tension Calculator. Cello tuning (C2-G2-D3-A3) works fairly well with a hybrid set. If I do a 5th lower (F1-C2-G2-D3), then I can do it with all bass strings, at typical bass string tensions. I may go that route for timbre. I'll have to see what strings I have around and just give a try with cello tuning. I know I don't have the right bass strings.
    I'm assuming you meant that the lowest three strings are wound guitar strings, because that will give more linear progressive tensions. Or did you mean they were bass strings? That gives big tension difference between the sole plain and the wound strings.
     
  12. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    I'm seeing a linear progression from ~40-28lbs there which is quite nice. Even with balanced wounds I prefer a drop to the plains on extended range bass - not a fan of going over 30lbs with them.
     
  13. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Hmm? It does not matter if a string is a guitar string or a bass string, on average across brands, a particular gauge will approximately result in a particular tension.
    Bass strings have larger cores than guitar strings, so i expect the 'unit weight', and therefore tension, is slightly higher for a particular gauge, but only slightly.

    For the string set i stated, the low 3 are indeed wound bass strings. The high string is a guitar or loop-end plain steel string (high string on a bass guitar usually goes to the tuner post nearest the nut, so some guitar strings are long enough to reach. Alternatively, D'Addario 'loop end plain steel' strings are extremely long, but you need to add a ferrule).

    Bass string wounds are usually necessary for a 34"/35" bass guitar where guitar strings are usually too short.
    And Winspear yes, the tension falls steadily from low to high, which is why .065 .040 instead of .060 .040.
    A step-down in tension from wound to plain helps to blend the tone and volume across the construction change.
     
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