Acoustic Bass Idea

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by harley_ou812, Dec 22, 2004.

  1. Hey Everyone. I would love to have an acoustic bass to play with acoustic guitars. I used to have a Washburn acoustic and it didnt keep up. I just came up with an Idea that may be crazy but I thought it seemed good What would happen if there was a 8 or 10 string (doubled) acoustic bass. It seems to me that having the octive stringswith the normal strings would provide the volume required to compete while still sounding like a bass. or maybe i am just crazy.
  2. thisSNsucks


    Dec 19, 2004
    Yonkers, NY
    great idea, it would probobly sound sick, but im thinkin it had to have been done b4, but if not it should be
  3. That's a pretty cool idea. I wonder if the tension of all the strings on the soundboard would be a problem.
  4. I dont think that tension would be a problem. there are 12 string guitars and I think a 12 string guitar wouldhave more tension then a 8 or 10 string bass would
  5. 5stringDNA


    Oct 10, 2002
    Englewood, CO
    Not really... The E and A strings on a bass are as thick as all the strings on a guitar combined. When you add in a B, the tension on a 5 string acousic bass has got to be far greater than that of a 12 string guitar. There aren't jokes about exploding Chinese upright basses for nothin'. My physics could be wacky though.
  6. I know the strings are thicker but they are also tuned a octave lower. I thought I remebered reading somewhere that a guitar has more tension then a bass. and if tension is an issue I would think that they coulf make it short scale or add bracing.
  7. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Even if it would work, it would cost a lot of money. At least $1500 for one that would play and sound as nice as a MIM Fender, and had a lot of volume.
  8. Some ABG string tension measurements from D'Addario (phosphor bronze):

    Diameter Tension
    Item# Note inches mm lbs kg
    PBB045 G 0.045 1.14 47.5 21.54
    PBB065 D 0.065 1.65 55.7 25.26
    PBB080 A 0.080 2.03 47.4 21.50
    PBB100 E 0.100 2.54 40.2 18.23

    And regular AG string tensions (phosphor bronze, medium):

    Diameter Tension
    Item# Note inches mm lbs kg
    PL013 E 0.013 0.33 27.4 12.43
    PL017 B 0.017 0.43 26.3 11.93
    PB026 G 0.026 0.66 35.3 16.01
    PB035 D 0.035 0.89 36.8 16.69
    PB045 A 0.045 1.14 34.0 15.42
    PB056 E 0.056 1.42 29.0 13.15

    Looks to me like overall the ABG just pips the AG on tension. Doubling the number of strings would certainly require at least a substantial bracing re-design.

    Having said that, a "medium" AG 12-string set (strung with 12s instead of 13s) is pretty heavy on tension too:

    Diameter Tension
    Item# Note inches mm lbs kg
    PL012 E 0.012 0.3 23.3 10.57
    PL012 E 0.012 0.30 23.3 10.57
    PL016 B 0.016 0.41 23.3 10.57
    PL016 B 0.016 0.41 23.3 10.57
    PB025 G 0.025 0.64 32.8 14.88
    PL010 G 0.010 0.25 22.9 10.39
    PB032 D 0.032 0.81 30.5 13.83
    PL014 D 0.014 0.36 25.2 11.43
    PB042 A 0.042 1.07 29.9 13.56
    PL020 A 0.020 0.51 28.9 13.11
    PB052 E 0.052 1.32 25.2 11.43
    PB030 E 0.030 0.76 34.1 15.46

    Maybe there is a solution to be found by using lighter-gauge ABG strings.
  9. Yeah I guess it would be pretty expensive. A normal acoustic style bridge probably wouldnt work either I dont believe.
  10. Well I guess my memory was off on tension of strings. in theory it seemed like a good idea... seems like it may be impractical
  11. On another note - it would be a lot harder to play. I find 12-string guitar a lot harder on the fingers than regular 6-string guitar, and I remember my ABG being quite a bit harder on the fingers than my electrics - before doubling the strings!
  12. maybe what you remembered is that guitarists cause more tension than bassists. ;-)
  13. Yup surely that is what it was. Makes sense how i could get that confused
  14. gyellow


    Dec 16, 2003
    There was an acoustic bass at the music store here they called a bajo sexto, and it had twelve strings(dual octave).
  15. Ian Perge

    Ian Perge Supporting Member

    May 11, 2001
    Evansville, Indiana
    I'd be less concerned with the tension than the bracing, tone, and projection issues. There's very few ABG's out there that have both tone and projection, and to overcome that would take a large amount of R&D money for a prototype or two. Of course you could always go the semi-hollowbody route (such as the Godin A-series) to reduce this a great deal, but that's not really an "true" ABG, now is it?

    Believe me, with me love of doubled-octave string basses (Dean's Edge Hammer 10 is at the top of my GAS list) I'd be in awe to own something so unique as this, but as much of a niche market doubled-string basses are, this seems to be a niche of a niche. Honestly, I'd think an electric octave bass EQed corrected would fit the role well enough. After all, it worked for Jeff Ament on Pearl Jam's "Unplugged". :D
  16. I think the intention here is to create an instrument which can compete with acoustic guitars without amplification. The only ABGs I have heard that come close are the Klein / Taylor ones.
  17. Right. My thought was that the longer scale for the octave stringswould really help projection. plus the scale length would help provide lower overtones.. then the bass strings would help define the bass frequencies.
  18. Don't be discouraged Harley - I think you may be on to something there, if the tension issues can be resolved.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I know someone who can make the Acoustic Bass you discribe.
  20. BassFelt


    Mar 26, 2002
    So far the only acoustic bass I've heard that has enough volume was a Mexican Guitarron. Someone above mentioned a Bajo Sexto, perhaps that's the same thing - I don't know.

    Guitarrons have six strings. They're tuned to play in octaves, but you could experiment with different tunings. The neck is rather short though. I'm hoping to bump into one for a reasonable price sometime.