Post Number: 29
|Posted on Tuesday, May 02, 2006 - 6:48 pm: |
Admittedly, I am a guitarist first and a bass-tourist as needed. With all of the effort I put into learning scales, arpeggios, modes... on a guitar, I wonder if there is a better way than re-learning them on bass.
I was wondering if any of you have experience with tuning a 6-string bass like a regular guitar, but an octave lower. I think Fender made such a beast in the 70's, Bass-VII or something like that. Seems that, with a tweak of the truss rods, a standard 6-string could do this well.
Post Number: 197
|Posted on Tuesday, May 02, 2006 - 7:16 pm: |
It would work fine. But if you use a standard 4 or 5 string, the difference in tuning doesn't come into play, since the eadg is the same as a guitar anyway. I have used a 5 string tuned eadgc, and it worked fine, so tuning that string to b would, too. I have no idea what guage string you would use for a high E on bass. Maybe Mark the 8stringking can help?
Post Number: 161
|Posted on Tuesday, May 02, 2006 - 9:29 pm: |
Cary, the high F string on my custom 8-string Europa bass (B-E-A-D-G-C-F-Bb) is .020.
I am also a guitarist; I learned electric bass first (a standard 4-string) and then majored in guitar.
My first teacher and mentor -who's a really sweet and swell guy, and who helped me get my two Alembics- owns about 250 stringed instruments, and I've played several of his, including standard electric basses and actual acoustic bass guitars -with both the standard tuning in 4ths (BEADGC) and the octave lower than standard guitar tuning.
First, there is, of course, no right or wrong. MY preference (assuming an either/or) is for the standard tuning in 4ths; I LOVE a/the low B (assuming it's done right). My low B has an extra long scale (35) and ebony laminates, and it rocks. My 6-string Elan Plus is just standard 34 inch scale with purpleheart neck lams, and sounds good, but nothing special... but I'd still prefer it to a high E.
If YOU prefer a high E, OR it just doesn't matter, then there is a strong case that the path of least resistance is to just tune 'em an octave lower than what you're used to... why not?
However, if you prefer or just want the low B, then you should get it. Keep in mind that you could also tune the high C down a 1/2 step to a B; I've heard of others doing this (for obvious reasons) and my friend with a 7-string bass tunes it like that (BEADGBE).
But you shouldn't be afraid of wary of relearning the arpeggios a little. If you're an advanced player, you'll figure it out instantly. If you're intermediate, it'll just take you a little bit of time.
It's no trouble at all to go back and forth between the two, mentally -at least if you have a certain basic understanding of scales, scale theory, and the math of it.
I'll share a little interesting insight which you may or may not already know. I've had lots of people really dig this when I tell 'em.
Most of us learn or end up learning the "caged" system (as Joe Pass dubbed it). This is THE basic universal system. It's great. "Caged" teaches us/observes that there are 5 basic forms... 5 basic (major/minor/modal) scales/chords/arpeggios.
Ultimately, as our understanding becomes more advanced/simplified, we can come to the understanding that there is really ONLY one basic (major/minor/modal) scale/chord/arpeggio form. On guitar and bass, this pattern is "5 strings wide". Let's discuss this for just a moment. Let's say I have a 5-string bass tuned in 4ths. Now let's say I learn a scale or arpeggio in a given position. Now, if I were to magically add 5 more strings -still tuned in 4ths- it wouldn't be difficult at all to do the complete scale or arpeggio on all 10 strings (aside from physically, maybe). The rest of the arpeggio would have the exact same fingering as the first 5 strings (just over 1 fret).
So the "pattern" for a scale/arpeggio on a bass and/or guitar "takes 5 strings to complete".
This is because the bass and guitar are tuned in intervals of perfect 4ths -WHICH ARE FIVE chromatic notes.
Mandolins and violins, for example, are tuned in 5ths; the scale pattern for these instruments is "SEVEN strings wide" (because a perfect 5th is SEVEN chromatic notes).
Anyway, the 5 "caged" scales are really just "the ONE scale" starting/ending on each of the 5 different strings of the pattern.
Once you understand the concept of "the one scale" (and the corrolary, the "one arpeggio")... it's EASY... EASY!!! The "adjustment" required by the inconsistency in standard guitar tuning is EASY to grasp.
If you get used to tuning in straight 4ths, you'll probably prefer it. Now, though I've used it for guitar -and can do so easily without problems- I DO prefer standard tuning for guitar. But it doesn't give me ANY trouble switching to all/straight 4ths tuning. The ONLY way it could would be if I DIDN'T get the "one scale" concept; if you get this concept, then extra strings and the adjustment guitars require do the the inconsistency in standard tuning won't faze you!
Hope this offers you some useful info!
Take care, Mark
Post Number: 768
|Posted on Tuesday, May 02, 2006 - 9:44 pm: |
I actually daydreamed this backwards: A baritone guitar tuned BEADGC to match a six-string bass.
J o e y
Post Number: 198
|Posted on Tuesday, May 02, 2006 - 10:14 pm: |
Mark, is there any way you could provide a diagram or illustration to clarify the "one scale" thing?
Post Number: 639
|Posted on Tuesday, May 02, 2006 - 10:41 pm: |
Interesting... I certainly get the one scale concept, but having started with guitar and eventually switched to bass, I just can't imagine going back to a tuning with that "odd interval".
Probably just getting too old, and I really admire those who can deal with all sorts of alternate tunings.
Post Number: 21
|Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 12:15 pm: |
I had a cheap guitar. An epiphone Les Paul special. I wasn't using it as a guitar as I have many better ones. I was longing for a six string short scale bass. So this is what I did:
First, I took off the tailpiece. Studs and all.
Second, I widened the holes in the tailpiece to accept the bass strings.
Third, I removed the strap buttons and fixed them to the back of the guitar. These are the new tailpiece posts.
Fourth, drill two new holes the same size as the stud inserts. I staggered these so they were in line with the saddles on the tailpiece for the high E and the B.
I used an A and a D string from a guitar as the B and high E. I also used long scale Fender bass strings. No electronics were switched.
The only problem with this is the low bass sound isn't as prominent as the mids and the highs.
Post Number: 548
|Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 4:42 pm: |
I highly recommend the Fender Jaguar Bass VI Custom. I tried it and I have to admit I really like it! It's inexpensive, sounds great and is easy to play. I think it's ideal for guitarists who want to double on Bass from time to time. It's tuned E-A-D-G-B-E and can hold up pretty well as a Bass. I find it a little tough to play fingerstyle though due to it's narrow string spacing, but guitarists should have no problem playing it with a pick.
Post Number: 162
|Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 6:40 pm: |
Charles, the link and chart supplied by Bob below your query does a pretty comprehensive job of illustrating it. It may be a little overwhelming at first, if so, just keep looking and it'll be simple.
Basically (assuming you are playing with the standard reference of your four fretting fingers covering a "zone" of 4 adjacent frets -although this is sometimes stretched temporarily to 5) whenever you play some segment of a major/minor/modal scale on a guitar or electric bass, you're playing one of 3 things: (1) your 1st, 2cnd, and 4th fingers play (either the 7th, root and 2cnd of the major scale, or the 3rd, 4th, and 5th; or: (2) your 1st, 3rd, and 4th fingers play (either the 6th, 7th, and R of the major scale, or the 2cnd, 3rd, and 4th); or (3) you'll play just 2 notes -the 5th and 6th of the major scale- but which fingers you'll use depends on whether you are playing an instrument tuned in straight 4ths (in which case you'll probably have to "skrunch and shift") or not -the inconsistency of the guitar's tuning actually elinates some shifts... on a 6 string bass, all 5 of the "caged" scales require shifting, but only 3 do on guitar.
Anyway, look closer, and you'll see a simple pattern that applies to ALL 5 of the caged forms:
X stands for 2 adjacent strings where you finger 124 for both strings, and then go to the next two strings to finger
Y 134 for both strings, and then go to the next STRING (single) and play... (Z) it depends... 1 & 3, or 2& 4, or 1 & 4 skrunch and shift.
This pattern takes 5 strings to complete, and then the next 5 strings have the same exact fingers (except off by one fret). If we had 5 more strings -a 15 string thing- then it would be the same. The pattern just goes on and on. 124 goes to 124 on the next string, then on to 134 on the next string and then 134 again on the next string, and then 13, skrunch and shift, and then repeat!
Anyway, this pattern applies to ALL the caged scales. Once you see it, it's actually pretty simple. If you have any questions, you can email me. I'm not good with computers, I don't know how to get a chart up here, but I could explain it on the phone if you need any help with it!
Post Number: 30
|Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 7:43 pm: |
I checked out the Fender at their websight- it's actually a Baritone Guitar, with a 28.5 in scale. I really want the full sound of a neck-through 34 in, possibly an essence. If I do this, I will look next at neck widths to find something small.
Thanks for your input everyone. Anyone else have a thought?
Post Number: 640
|Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 9:01 pm: |
studio - my apologies for contributing to a hijacking here. If it bothers you and you'd prefer we take some of this discussion elsewhere, simply say so.
I still think there is some relevance for you, in that scales on an even-tuned instrument are much easier than on guitar (though chords are a different story).
As a guitarist you can just pretend you don't have the top two strings. Since you mention an interest in small neck width, I would think you might be happier with fewer strings anyway, and if you want to sound like a bass, then yes, you will need more than a 28.5 scale.
Unless you spend a lot of time on the top two guitar strings, I would vote for a narrow spaced 5 (BEADG), and I don't think you'd have any trouble.
Post Number: 199
|Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 10:36 pm: |
Alembic will do the spacing as narrow as you want, pretty much. My nut is 1.75 for a 5 string with .53 spacing at the bridge. Jeff's Dire Wolf is even tighter, with a .50 spacing at the bridge. I think Mica said hers is something sick like .40(on a 4-string, no less!), but I don't recall for sure.
Post Number: 1145
|Posted on Wednesday, May 03, 2006 - 11:13 pm: |
You're getting into a tough area with regard to the neck. You're going to need some fairly high string pressure if you are even thinking about chording. Six bass strings worth of pull on a skinny neck could be a challenge to keep straight and under proper relief. You may need a very expensive neck to get this thing to hold together with the dimensions you want. One thing in your favor is that you won't be adding that massive "B" string, so the pressure may not be all that bad after all.
Another thought, since you'll probably want an expensive neck anyway, is that adding various laminates of ebony and purpleheart in the neck will bring out the bottom. You should be able to get great sound with a short scale bass, especially since you're not extending down below the standard "E". That's 30.75" scale and I assure you it lacks nothing in bottom end. I certainly wouldn't consider a neck without a few stringers of something really dense for this project.
By the way, the Essence has the smallest body, but the neck is one of the two Alembic standard sizes. As mentioned, you can have the neck customized to your specs within some reasonable limits.
Post Number: 229
|Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 4:23 pm: |
Post Number: 3762
|Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 4:48 pm: |
Mike's thinking to himself, "I think I'll play this card".
Here's the FTC.
Mike, I don't recall you mentioning the control setup. Is the second jack an effects loop? And the second switch?
Post Number: 1146
|Posted on Thursday, May 04, 2006 - 5:18 pm: |
Well, that's about exactly what I had pictured, but what do you think of your new instrument? The picture tells us that Alembic has built a 30.75" scale 6-string bass with a very dense neck. The FTC thread further tells us it is strung an octave below a "regular" guitar, but no where do I see anything about it's amazing feel and sonic superiority.
Mike, please tell us about it subjectively and talk about the neck dimensions. It does look pretty much like a scaled-up guitar in terms of string spacing. Personally, I'd love to play it for a week or two or twenty or...
Post Number: 230
|Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 9:35 am: |
Dave, It's got Essence w/ Q electronics, and a TRS loop (jumpers set to pre-vol)..... the extra switch is a bypass for the loop.
Bob, this bass put my EBO and Jerry Jones bassVI into retirement. The Jerry Jones was 1.75" at the nut, and I could only play it with a pick. I placed the order w/ the JJ dimensions, but told Mica to err on the side of caution (bigger = better), but they wouldnt start until I figured out exatcly what I wanted & what would work.... We toyed around with a 2" nut and .45" spacing at the bridge, but the numbers wouldnt jive.... The bassVI string sets that are out there have an .084" for a low E (too thin, imo) and none of those strings were long enough to cover the length from post to tailpiece (the JJ is a 30" scale).....
Finally, I bought strings in bulk ( .095-.030) and figured the neck dimensions relative to the strings. The nut is 2.15", and the bridge is 2.25". String spacing is .50". All in all, I couldnt have asked for a more comfortable neck.
Once I use up all my strings, Im thinking about using a .100" for my low E.
Sonically, this bass has all the characteristics you would expect from the woods used~ the fundamental is in your face, and the sustain goes on for days. The timbre of the attack transients is way higher than my maple necks~ very brisk and percussive.
I could go on & on, but Im preaching to the choir. Simply stated: for my first custom I wanted to improve on a design that no manufacturer has really taken the time to "get right". It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but Alembic has done well by me....
Post Number: 1148
|Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 10:04 am: |
Thanks, Mike. While most of us old-timers could have predicted your answer, I think StudioRecluse will benefit from reading it.
I actually have an .095 E on my current SS 4 and I think it both feels and sounds great.
Post Number: 3775
|Posted on Friday, May 05, 2006 - 5:24 pm: |
Mike; it's a unique instrument in many ways! Congrats!