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u14steelgtr
Junior
Username: u14steelgtr

Post Number: 48
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 9:51 am:   Edit Post

I have a a question for those of you that tune your basses down to:
--> F# B E A D

I do not play much Bass guitar but when I do I often find myself playing with folks that like to play in G quite a bit. I also find myself frustrated that I can not go all the way down to a G. The idea of setting up my bass with a low-F# so that I could have the 7 to 1 hammer-on in G has been rattling around in my head for a while so I thought I would just ask for some input from other Forum members.

My questions are:
* What strings do you prefer for the F# string (and on what scale length)?
* How high do you set you action for the F# string?
* Do you need to increase the neck relief to avoid fret-buzz (and how much)?

FWIW: getting/building a 6-string which is already setup with the F# is not a viable option for me at the moment.

Regards
-- Eugene

(Message edited by u14steelgtr on March 09, 2007)
byoung
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 536
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 12:22 pm:   Edit Post

I have considered it (on a six), but up a half step, i.e. G C F Bb Eb Ab.

Those are the six keys that we always play in church. It would make harmonics and open strings simpler.

As far as strings go, it seems that most of the really extended range guys use SIT.

Bradley
jsaylor
Member
Username: jsaylor

Post Number: 98
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 12:59 pm:   Edit Post

What type of music are you playing that uses low F#?
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1508
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 2:24 pm:   Edit Post

Well, you're going to have to go to some seriously heavy strings to do the job. At that point, you'll probably need to be filing bridge and nut slots. How high you set the action will depend on how heavy you go with the strings. Heavier strings will allow you to string it tighter and set the action lower, but that will put more pressure on the neck. Not sure how much more pressure or how much relief you can dial in, especially since you don't mention what kind of bass you're playing.

What I really want to know, though, is how you plan to effectively amplify notes in that range. Even on very solid basses, I find it hard to get a tight enough low B tone amplified. I can't imagine what it would take to effectively reproduce an F# below that and still sound like a bass guitar.

Personally, I would sooner tune or capo up to do what you want in the "regular" bass range. If you want to give the impression of that lower note, get a quality octave pedal and blend some in.
u14steelgtr
Junior
Username: u14steelgtr

Post Number: 49
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 9:12 pm:   Edit Post

Bob; cutting a nut and polishing some saddles is part of the setup process any time you make a substantial change in string guages and does not concern me in the slightest. What I was asking for is some tips on ball-parking the initial setup with reguard to the string gauges and fret clearance.

I am not venturing in to uncharted territory just looking for some tips.

Going up a half step to G C F Bb Eb Ab should make no difference in string guage selection.

With regard to power amps: a 41hz (F#) is not a big deal. The only substantial hurdle in the amplification chain is speakers. Alas accuracy and flat response from speaker systems is always a challenge.
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1510
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, March 09, 2007 - 10:14 pm:   Edit Post

41 Hz is about the standard-tuned low E string on a bass. Low B on a 5-string is a hair below 31 Hz. The F# you're talking about is right around 23 Hz.

While that's still no problem for a quality power amplifier, the amount of power required is significant as is the speaker configuration. Also, the frequency range starts to fall below level of the subsonic filters of some power amps, so config becomes important there.

If it were an Alembic bass I was going to tweak, I'd probably consider moving the bridge saddles over a string and ordering a new saddle to cut for the lowest string. Not much you can do on the nut other than cut, but you could again order a blank to preserve the original in case you want to convert back. Also, an exposed or taper core string set might allow you to get by without filing the bridge saddles.

The SIT sub-contra set (C#-F#-B-E) runs 195-165-135-100. I suppose that would indicate that your five string set would be something like 165-135-100-80-60. It also means that somebody out there is stringing a bass all the way to the bottom of the range of a piano, around 16-17 Hz.
keurosix
Intermediate Member
Username: keurosix

Post Number: 163
Registered: 10-2005
Posted on Saturday, March 10, 2007 - 4:58 am:   Edit Post

About the only cab on the market that even states it can reproduce the low F# is the AccuGroove El Whappo Grande, a 21" woofer in an 87 pound cabinet. That stated, I think a 34" scale bass would have a hard time with an F# fundamental. My 35" Modulus Graphite Quantum has a low B that can be tuned down, but even that gets really floppy. I know Dingwall makes the Novacks slanted fret fingerboard which makes a 37" scale low B. Certainly something longer than 35" would be nice to support the fundamental, and perhaps ebony laminates to firm it up. I can hear a definate difference in the low B from my Modulus compared to my 34" scale Europa. I have thought about a detuner for the low B, but have not committed to it yet. The SIT string sounds about the best choice. Most string manufacturers do make custom strings, and may be able to satify your request. I think a taper core may work best, but don't have the experience to back it up. A low B taper core works well, but throws off the string height at the bridge saddle, and will require a custom saddle replacement.
Kris
Kris
jsaylor
Member
Username: jsaylor

Post Number: 100
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 10, 2007 - 8:03 am:   Edit Post

Garry Goodman is making a set of strings with SIT that will allow people to have low C#, F, And B at 32"- 26" scales. This means that short scale basses can finally move beyond 4 strings.


However, have you ever considered just detuning it, and leaving your standard strings on? Might get a little floppy though.

Bob,
Yes these do cover the low piano range. Usually when you see someone with an extended range bass, they are usually playing things you could play on a keyboard, which makes me ask, "Why not just get a keyboard?". But aslong as your using the range have fun. Most of these ERB'ers just make it a competition to have more strings, more range.

If you guys are really into low range, check out Jauqo III-X. He invented the Low C# string and uses a subcontra 4 string quite often. And to be honest, you can barey hear him over the drums and guitars.

Heres a clip: http://www.jauqoiii-x.com/JK_pages/JK_music_cd_6.html
u14steelgtr
Junior
Username: u14steelgtr

Post Number: 50
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Saturday, March 10, 2007 - 11:58 am:   Edit Post

Oops; I was off by an octave in my frequency calculation. That is a big difference.

I am now thinking about using a Velodyne unit for the bottom end. They are familiar to many of us, they have a long track record, and I think they sound great.
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 4857
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, March 10, 2007 - 1:20 pm:   Edit Post

Kris stated, "About the only cab on the market that even states it can reproduce the low F# is the AccuGroove El Whappo Grande".

Several of us in the forum use Bag End Elfs (now called Infras).
keith_h
Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 713
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Saturday, March 10, 2007 - 3:11 pm:   Edit Post

As Dave mentions the Bag End ELF's are ultra low frequency. They are rated to 8Hz as I recall.

Keith
byoung
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 538
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, March 10, 2007 - 4:18 pm:   Edit Post

Yes, Bag End goes either 8 or 18Hz depending on the integrator that you use.

I might've just bought a pair of 21" Infra Subs, wish me luck.

Bradley
bsee
Senior Member
Username: bsee

Post Number: 1511
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Saturday, March 10, 2007 - 6:04 pm:   Edit Post

I didn't say that there weren't cabs and amps that could do it, only that it was non-trivial. You can put together a very portable gigging rig for four string or down a step from there. It takes a little more juice and cab to get down to low B. It takes a lot more of both to go down to F# or C# below that.

Maybe I have just been there and done that, but I really don't want to lug around 100+ pound cabs if the musical style doesn't absolutely demand it. As far as this thread goes, I just wanted to make sure Eugene knew what he was getting himself into by stringing a bass down to F#. I know I was surprised that the gear I owned didn't handle a low B well the first time I went to a fiver.
byoung
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 542
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 11, 2007 - 10:12 am:   Edit Post

Bob,

I'd just argue that bass reproduction is non-trivial, in general.

Of course, I don't move my cabs, so there you go.

Bradley
jauqo_iiix
New
Username: jauqo_iiix

Post Number: 1
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Sunday, March 11, 2007 - 9:12 pm:   Edit Post

With all due respect you would need speakers a little bigger than most little computer speakers.

try this
myspace.com/jauqoiiix
byoung
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 548
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2007 - 11:39 am:   Edit Post

Jaquo,

In addition to being a musical innovator, you're also a master of the British Understatement?

:-)

Bradley
u14steelgtr
Member
Username: u14steelgtr

Post Number: 51
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 2:49 pm:   Edit Post

I'll do a little experimenting and see what my quasi-portable rig will do justice to.

Thanks for the responses.

-- Eugene
jauqo_iiix
New
Username: jauqo_iiix

Post Number: 2
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 9:27 pm:   Edit Post

:-)
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 1142
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, March 15, 2007 - 4:48 am:   Edit Post

Wait a minute . . . isn't this the 'MythBusters' Brown Sound thing . . . ?

J o e y
u14steelgtr
Member
Username: u14steelgtr

Post Number: 54
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 - 10:12 pm:   Edit Post

It turns out that this is not that difficult a job.

The majority of the challenge was modifying the tailpiece to accept the F# string. I did cut a new nut and had to eyeball the E, and F# strings because my nut files were for smaller string gauges. For the test I used an F# E A D G tuning with no B-string.

The bad new is that the speaker in my instrument-amps were not up to the task of the low F#, G, and G#.

A good resource for folks interested in instruments of this sort is here: http://www.extendedrangebassist.com/

Regards
-- Eugene
jsaylor
Intermediate Member
Username: jsaylor

Post Number: 108
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 9:24 am:   Edit Post

Why would you skip the B string? That doesn't make any sense. I thought the point of extended range was to make playing easier to the sense that you don't have to move around as much.
byoung
Senior Member
Username: byoung

Post Number: 710
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2007 - 6:34 pm:   Edit Post

Jordan,

I think he just did it to see if the F# string would work at all, without modifying the whole instrument.

I'm tempted to try a set of the Warwick Dark Lords (4-string F# B E A) on my Epic.

But I'd prefer flats. Maybe I'll adapt some upright strings. :-)

Bradley
dannobasso
Senior Member
Username: dannobasso

Post Number: 582
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 7:20 am:   Edit Post

I spoke with Senny and Warwick is sending him a bass with just that configuration. I'll get to hear how it sounds on my full cab set up. Thats a ul212-t310 rt side and elwhappo jr-low b4 left side. Granted it is portabe but vanesque not compact car portable. I fear this will open a whole new can of worms for me if I like it. Does it attract elephants or blue whales?
davehouck
Moderator
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 5195
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2007 - 10:24 am:   Edit Post

I just accidentally started rereading the entire thread; didn't mean to do that. But one thing that just occurred to me, if you are converting an existing bass, is that in order to intonate the F# string, you may have to move, alter, or replace the bridge. On my six string, the low B is already as far back as it will go; and this suggests that intonating a low F# would require going further back than that.

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