Here's something new!
Bassist designs scordatura pedals for real-time retuning
Gotta say, I'm a bit skeptical. But, hey, what do you guys think?
The second link has a video where he demonstrates a prototype. Certainly interesting. Basically, it seems like a set of Hipshot detuners, on a fixed tailpiece, with a manual remote control.
Maybe it will inspire Michael Manring to take up double bass... (?) ;)
As I have mentioned several times here in relation to 5ths tuning, alternate tunings like "Drop D", the Hipshot tuners, etc. using strings at a different pitch than what they are intended for can create a lot of problems. Some basses work well with high tension strings, some really don't. Some work well with low tension strings, others sound like floppy messes. Some basses (and bassists) are ok with a Low B tuned as a C, or a solo F# tuned as a low G. A lot of them aren't.
Some people would call me picky, and they are a lot more open to compromises when it comes to tension and playability. That is definitely their right. The double bass is a difficult enough instrument to play as it is. I personally would not like to add to that challenge by using strings at significantly higher or lower tensions than they are intended to be used at, or having to adapt to dramatically different tensions in string crossings if one string is tuned up from normal, and the next string is tuned down.
It seems like a novelty idea. I am sure that a lot of us would be interested in trying one of these if it was at a shop or the ISB or a friend had one, but I doubt too many people would want it on their everyday bass. Short of your lowest string moving lower, slides between notes can be achieved absolutely everywhere else on the bass. There are plenty of harmonics at your disposal already, especially if alternate tunings or hipshots are employed. I could see bassists having a problem with open strings changing pitches mid performance. Having switched between 4ths and 5ths on electric and double basses between songs, it's enough of a head game that way. Doing something like that mid piece would not be easy for me to get my head around.
It would meet a lot of resistance in the world of classical music where any type of change is an uphill battle. It might be something that is used occasionally for newly written music, but there is no call for it in the existing repertoire. If it was easily removable, I could see someone putting it on for the work it is required for and then taking it off for everything else they do, but it appears that it would at least involve swapping out the tailpiece. I can't see orchestras/sections being open to these, and if you aren't going to use it for those rehearsals, you aren't going to want to carry any extra gear around either. I see it as a niche market at best. There are already bassists interested in Hipshot tuners that are scared away by the price, and I would expect something like this being significantly more expensive.
On top of that, you have all of the other nuts and bolts issues of strings over the nut and bridge and them ravelling, the bridge being pulled forward or back, tension changes on the instrument, mechanical failure etc. It sounds like the guy has sunk a lot of money into this so far and he doesn't want to have the boat sink before it even hits the water, but I don't see it as "the next big thing" in bass playing. Definitely an interesting PhD project, but there are a lot of really great thesis projects that never see daylight. I apologize for this seeming pessimistic. I hope a good portion of that money was grants/scholarships and not his own.
Include Me Out.
I expected to see that the links were posted on April 1st. :)
I went to the website, looked around and watched the video (there's some really interesting bass music playing in the background of it, presumably by the bassist/inventor).
It certainly would help in the performance of Bach Cello Suites to be able to lower the D down to a C to create a CG fifth then raise it to create a GD fifth (D octave harmonic). Or if you wanted to play/compose a piece with all harmonics.
I don't think it'll be a product that will fly off the shelf at Long & MacQuades, but if it advances the instrument musically, brings more people to appreciate the bass and brings some notoriety to and furthers the career of Carter Callison, then that's great.
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