Ibanez BTB 35" for a F# tuning... Doable? :)

Discussion in 'Extended Range Guitars' started by Vehuel, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. Vehuel

    Vehuel Reach the Light

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    Hello,

    As an 8 strings guitarist I'd like to have a Bass soon and this model catches my attention:
    https://www.ibanez.com/usa/products/detail/btb1936_1p_01.html

    I just love it in terms of aesthetics, but I don't know anything about bass.
    The only thing I'd like to is to tune it in F#BEADG to match my 8 string guitar.

    Do you think a 35" scale can be enough to have this "8 strings guitar tuning"?
    Or should I look for a 37"?

    I'm hesitating with a Skervesen Bronto bass Fanned frets 37", but I don't know if the extra cash could really worth it. I need a F# bass that will be used for Periphery covers for example, as well (and mainly) as pop/funk music.

    Please help! :)
    Thank's!
     
  2. akinari

    akinari SS.org Regular

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    35" can handle it. You'll need a string somewhere between the 160 (bare minimum) and 180-something range, but I think 35" is just fine for the tuning.
     
  3. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    It's doable. My 35" bass's electronics weren't entirely cut out for it though. I'd certainly prefer at least 37", but if you're fine with 35" you can make it work.
     
  4. Vehuel

    Vehuel Reach the Light

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    Thank's so much for your replies.

    I fear the 35" scale to be not as good as 37" scale to handle the power of the low F#...

    I read everything and the opposite, according to some guys, even on a 37" scle, the F# is not as great as it should be...

    I'm wondering if the scale is the main reason, or the gauge of strings or anything...
    I know amplifiers can do the job too, but the goal is to play mainly on my Axe FX, to record parts.

    Do you think the BTB I shown could be nice for it, according to the scale and electronics? (as it might has an importance on the final tone)

    Thank's!
     
  5. Thaeon

    Thaeon Cosmic Question Asker

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    I don't think that scale is going to be the biggest thing here. I think that how we hear and what will sound useful musically will be the biggest limitation. The range of human hearing goes down to 20hz. But that's an average. And the amount of power required to hit those notes is a lot. And most speakers aren't made for it. You're running into a lot of the same issues that you run into with detuned guitar. It may not sound muddy or flubby, but it could be a situation where the fundamental note is more felt while you hear the overtones. I don't honestly see much use for it. Got hit the F# above the lowest B on a piano and that will be the note you're talking about. Experiment dynamically with it and see how your ears respond. Growing up with a piano in my house as a kid, those low notes have less dynamic range and are audible for a shorter period of time because the energy required to make them audible is relatively high, and the tone decays much faster than higher octaves. Electronically amplifying this will reduce the effect a little. But ultimately you're working against physics and biology.
     
  6. Vehuel

    Vehuel Reach the Light

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    Thank's for your advices, I guess I won't be able to have what I'm looking for unfortunately... :(
    I like to play in standard tuning with 8 strings guitar, so I'm not into the drop A or drop Idunnowhat...

    I just saw Nolly from Periphery and the bassist of Hactivist playing in F# or even drop E, so I wanted to have the same thing to have a incredibly nice low sound. Similar or equivalent to the F# I have on my 8 strings which sounds huge!

    I'm a bit lost I must admit :D
     
  7. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Well, it is all a matter of degree, not black and white.
    Yes, 35" can do a reasonable tone F#0, but a longer scale does help improve tone. It all depends how you want to balance tone against cost.
    Obviously, a longer scale than 37" will be even better.
    "not as great as it should be" is subjective. There are many players using 34" or 35" for F#0 who are reasonably happy.

    Sorry to write this, but Thaeon's post is mostly incorrect and contains the often repeated typical misunderstandings about very low tuned bass guitars (i spent many years on the various old ERB forums so learnt from the experts).
    Reproducing the fundamental of very low bass guitar notes is completely unnecessary (even ERBassist Greenboy, designer of fEarful amplification states this). The fundamental is so low the tone is fine without it, and it is difficult to reproduce or hear anyway. The fundamental is also weak compared to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc. harmonics. It is usually best to filter the fundamental out.

    For F#0 all you need is the 2nd harmonic (46Hz) and up, and this sounds fine. The B on the B string has a fundamental at 31Hz, this is not reproduced by most amplification, but it still sounds good. So, F#0 is little different to B0 in this way.
    No, F#0 is the F# below the lowest pitch on a piano A0. Judging this from a piano is pointless as it is acoustic and different.
    Not at all. Only the harmonics need to be heard, and when only hearing those it still sounds good. Nothing you need to do works against physics or biology.

    Yes you will, Thaeon is incorrect.

    BTBs are a good choice for low tunings, if you choose a 35" scale bass guitar.
    There are several affordable 37" bass guitars, but mostly 5 strings unfortunately.
    All you can do is try F#0. Even if it does not satisfy you, you will still have an awesome bass guitar to tune in a different way.
     
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  8. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    35" scale bass guitar, tuned in standard G0, 1 semitone higher than F#0, sounds good to me:
     
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  9. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    If it's of any help, I have a Schecter with whatever the passive EMGs it came stock with. The F# (and even the E) with a .182~ gauge from Kalium was doable, but only if I wanted a warmer tone.

    For metal, I didn't like it. If I had better electronics I'd have been happier.
     
  10. oniduder

    oniduder HONKEY DONKEY

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    I just keep my bass with the E and make the tuning drop E like my guitar not a E lower just normal E but everything else tuned up

    I have never tried it to be E whatever E0 or idk but recording and everything else is a fuck load easier and I think it sounds better
     
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  11. Vehuel

    Vehuel Reach the Light

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    Thank's for your replies, thank's again for taking your time to answer to me.

    The problem is that I don't have any model of bass, I didn't buy for the moment any bass instrument.
    The downside is that either the BTB or the Skervesen, a luthier will have to change the strings, adjusting the truss rod and neck and even the nut probably.
    If I'm not satisfied, I'll have to do everything opposite including the nut, so it's a pain for a new or as new instrument.

    I'd like to be sure about 35" scale before buying.


    ---
    Here are my pros and cons for each model:

    Skervesen Bronto bass (used condition)
    Pros:
    outstanding building quality (I have an 8 strings guitar) and durable, quality of WOODS! (please have a look at the poplar burl top)
    Cons: 5 strings (so I'll have to forget the high G string if I tune it to low F#), shape is correct but not my favourite, finish is nice but I'd like more flashy colors.

    https://www.notreble.com/buzz/2018/12/10/bass-of-the-week-skervesen-guitars-bronto-37-5/

    Ibanez BTB 1936 (new condition, unfindable in used condition)
    Pros:
    FINISH with the colors fadings is perfect!, 6 strings, my dream bass shape, beauty of woods.
    Cons: 35" scale enough?, Ibanez electronics that may be limited?, made in Indonesia (no japan anymore)and mass produced, I heard of some finish issues

    https://www.portmacguitars.com.au/ibanez-btb1936-sfl-electric-bass-with-bag-in-sunse
    ---


    Please note again that I don't know a lot of things about bass... I'd like your opinion about the aethetic of both instruments, and maybe the specs?

    Thank's again for your time, really appreciated!
     
  12. Thaeon

    Thaeon Cosmic Question Asker

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    I'm not arguing about the psychoacoustics. You'll 'hear' the low note when you hear the overtone series because your brain will fill in the fundamental. For it to be felt like you want you will need a lot of power to drive speakers. If just for recording, then sure, shouldn't be a problem. You can make it sound how you want. Same with direct to PA. In an actual bass rig i have concerns about how useful it would be. Most of the bands getting a really good bass tone with really low turned guitars are playing unison notes with the guitar. Which tends to sound cleaner when that low. With 8 strings, guitar players tend to shelve off the fundamental anyway, and the bass filling that fundamental in is what sounds really good. The physics part I'm talking about isn't about the sound. Its about the limits of the equipment. As I am sometimes with guitar and reproducing my 8 string, I'd be a little worried about over excursion of the speakers of my bass cab and the power required to reproduce. Especially if I'm not shelving it off before the amp sees it. Regardless, the transient is the part that is rhythmic and its towards the top end of the audible range, which any sort of amplification will pick up.

    I think that my main issue with this is that, in a recording, most of the information in that range is going to be filtered or shelved off. Most cars and home stereos you'll hear it but won't feel it. I don't really see the point of something that low other than to feel it. IMO, it doesn't sound good without the rumble. Sounds cool in electronic music. Not so much in Metal.

    All that said, if you like it and want to do it, do what you like. You're making music for you not other people. I'm just some dude online throwing out my opinion. If I were in your shoes I probably wouldn't listen to me.
     
  13. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    FWIW I have a 34" bass strung up with an F#0.

    It's not great, but it's not awful. The tension IMHO is fine. The problem is that it's quite hard to hear the notes. Not sure if it's the scale, the electronics, or my amp set up (which is old-school stuff that doesn't reproduce those super-low frequencies well).

    I'm more interested in getting a short scale 5- or 6-string bass and tuning it up so the lowest string is in unison with an 8-string guitar in F#.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
  14. Vehuel

    Vehuel Reach the Light

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    Hey Guys!

    Ok thank's for the replies!

    When you say "play in unisson with guitar", tht means same note at same height or with the bass, the F# on the E string will be an octave lower?

    Can someone send confirmation that 35" can be good in F#? Any video or soundcloud?
    I watch everything on youtube, but with studio recordings it's not obvious to tell if it's "that" simple.

    That could be so kind, I think I'm gonna buy the BTB tomorrow!
    Thank's!
     
  15. I play music

    I play music SS.org Regular

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    IMO it depends how you want to use it
    Just need that low F# string occasionally? > The 35" Ibanez will be a fine choice, perfect for all other strings and good enough for the low F#
    Love always chugging on the lowest string with your guitar? > get a bass with 37" that is optimal for low F#
     
  16. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    yeah, some folks tune the bass up so instead of E1 as the fourth string it's F#1, same as an 8-string guitar.
     
  17. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I have my 10 string guitars at 32” and 30” tuned to G#0. Now THAT’S a a fat string that doesn’t sound pretty. :lol: I have Kalium strings on to help, but there is really no winning at that scale length and pitch. I also have a Quake tuned to C#0 at 40”, and that sounds pretty good through my MAS112. But those notes just don’t ring out much, and the string vibrates so slowly it’s not particularly useful.

    I find F#1 on an 8 string guitar incredibly useful and musical. But my preference is to not tune an octave below it on bass. I just write stuff that isn’t hammering away an octave below for those low notes. It’s unnecessary.
     
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  18. Vehuel

    Vehuel Reach the Light

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    Thank's so much!

    To reply to "I play music", yes I'd like to use often this low F#, depending on the musical style I'd play but I really want to play some "classic" groove stuff as well as some djenty stuff.

    The problem is that I'm stuck if I go for th Skervesen, because I won't have the high G string, and the Ibanez is 35" and not 37"... Hard choice! I could tune the E string to F#, but I want that low "growl" I like so much!

    I checked on several video clips of the band "Hacktivist", that played for years on Ibanez basses (and guitars), and for some songs, they are in F# and even low E ! On every clip I see an Ibanez bass 6 strings... So I hope this 35" scale worth it?



    You can check this live for example, with an SR model 6 strings I think.
     
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  19. cardinal

    cardinal F# Dive Bomber

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    Here's one of my fav Meshuggah bass covers. He's tuned up half a step and sounds killer.
     
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  20. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    They both do it ok - for perspective a 35 will do F# as well as a 37 does F - slightly less good than a semitone higher but the difference is minimal . The tension difference is also small enough to not really change the gauge a ton - something in the 170-180 ballpark on either is good
     

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