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Need help, piccolo bass strings and stuff.

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Rip Topaz, Mar 16, 2014.


  1. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

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    Finishing up a shortscale fretless bass build, and would like to string it as a piccolo bass.

    It's an unlined fretless, 32" scale.

    What is the standard piccolo bass tuned?

    Are flatwound strings available in those gauges?

    Let's hear your experiences with piccolo basses, and your preferences for string gauge and tuning.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. lz4005

    lz4005

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2013
    Research. Search function. There's dozens of threads that will answer those questions.

    The more important question is why didn't you design the bass to the tuning from the ground up, rather than wait until it was almost finished before trying to figure out what that tuning is and if strings are available for it?
     
  3. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

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    I knew it was gonna be a shortscale, just decided to tune it as a piccolo. Never strung up a bass this way before.

    I did do a search, but I'm looking for specifics that the search didn't turn up. Not to mention people's experiences with the tuning.
     
  4. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

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    I'm fairly sure most piccolo basses are tuned EADG an octave up, though that Zander Zon fella uses all kinds of wacky tuning. The only options on bassstringsonline are nickel rounds.
     
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  6. Gorn Captain

    Gorn Captain Supporting Member

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    I've also heard Labella will make custom strings upon request. Pyramid too, but Labella is in Newburgh NY so they might be easier to deal with.
     
  7. MrWalker

    MrWalker

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    Apr 3, 2002
    Location:
    Norway
    I've been string up an ordinary 34" scale bass with piccolo strings, and Im using the D'Addario XL Nickel rounds, I guess their gauges are 20, 32, 42, 52.
    I tuned it D-G-C-F, simply because the tension got so high that I couldn't really play the instrument otherwise. If you look into the extended range basses, the top four strings on a 7-string (if it's tuned B-F anyway) should match the piccolo strings fairly well. So the top 4 strings from an ordinary 7-string set from, say, Conklin (like the Snakeskins) should work on this bass, too. I just checked, the D-F strings are .022, .027, .047, .067 from them.

    I find the piccolo bass sounds beautiful, it's got a very clear ringing tone, nothing at all like an electric guitar really. Its just the string length that gives a much more piano like sound. I've had 7-strings as well, but those didn't sound as clear as my 34" tuned D-F with D'Addario nickel rounds. so I'm happy. Don't use it much, but I have too many basses as it is, so I can afford keeping one strung to piccolog :D

    The only possible improvement I could see is adding a Bigsby tremolo like Stanley Clarke has on his.... :)
     
  8. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

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    One octave up from regular EADG.


    You're going to be looking for gauges that are around 18-30-40-50, so if you find some flats in a medium scale in those gauges, you should be fine.

    Depending, you might be able to get away with guitar strings for that bass and tuning, which would open up the doors to string options. Our regular guitar strings are a 42" length, so they should (I say should because I haven't seen or measured your bass) be available.


    I've strung up a regular PJ with a set of piccolo strings (that were nickel-plated steel). I wasn't at the point of really tweaking or caring that much about the gauges and tuning at the time; just wanted that sound.
     
  9. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

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    Awesome. Thanks guys.

    I had given thought to the idea of flatwound guitar strings in the appropriate gauges. I've never strung any of my basses in piccolo tuning, so this is all new to me.

    I originally build the bass for standard bass tuning, but as I've gotten closer to finishing it I've been leaning towards giving it a try in piccolo tuning.
     
  10. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

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    Chromes come in a guitar set, 11, 15, 22W (I'm assuming wound?), 30, 40, 50.

    Would that work for the gauges I need? Not sure the actual length which is gonna be the downfall with guitar strings.
     
  11. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Supporting Member

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    Yes, the W is showing where the first wound string is; the other two are plain steel.

    Measure from the bridge to the farthest tuning post to find out the actual length of string you'll need. You can put guitar strings on a standard length bass, so your 32" scale shouldn't be an issue.
     
  12. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

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    Awesome. Thanks a bunch.
     
  13. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

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    Btw, if anyone is interested, here's the bass in question:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    All you need are singles from a Flat Wound set... D G C and a plain steel F and you are in business. No need for having custom sets made.

    You can do the same thing with chromes... .050 .040 .032 singles and .020 Plain steel. I tried .020f Chrome vs .020 plain steel, sounds the same to me, plain steel feels smoother too ;)
     
  15. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

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    D'Addario makes a Chromes flatwound set for 6-string guitar. The gauges are pretty much exactly what you just quoted. Thanks for the info.

    Do you have any favorite examples of DGCF tuning?
     
  16. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    They are not going to be long enough for a bass though. The total length of the guitar strings is not long enough to reach the G or D tuning posts on an inline... might get a quarter wrap on the A post.

    See this post:

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f16/f...arstring-bass-823379/index2.html#post11842033
     
  17. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

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    So what would be your recommendation? I'd prefer flats just to help preserve the fingerboard, but I guess rounds would be ok, too, just not first choice.
     
  18. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Gold Supporting Member

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    Chromes using Bass strings... 50 40 32 and a .020Plain Steel.

    Exactly what you are after!
     
  19. Rip Topaz

    Rip Topaz

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    Awesome. I'll be placing an order this weekend.
     

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