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An Addendum to the "Have I Sidestepped Physics" Short Scale 6 thread...

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Jim T., Apr 9, 2004.

  1. I just wanted to give a low B update:

    I'm up to a .145 on the "Bronco" and it's sounding very clear and focused. Boading well for my upcoming Nordstrand!
    After experiencing some muddiness with the .125 I was thinking that that would be a maximum gauge, but the .145 is sounding like what a low B should sound like and much clearer than the .125 as one would expect.

    Anyone know of a source for larger gauge single low B strings than a .145? (I'm not sure how heavy a gauge is available...)
    I can't seem to find anything :meh:

    I'm now convinced that the Nordstrand short 6 will work just fine once all the ingredients are "tweaked"! :D (See the Have I Sidestepped Physics thread...)

    I'll update once I can try a heavier string IF I can locate one.
  2. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    How does it sound as you move up the neck? I would expect it to get muddy sooner than on a longer scale bass.
    There are various threads about low F#s that you can search for that have some info, I think.
  3. Peter, Greetings from Mad Scientist Central!

    Yes, it's clear and clean all the way up the neck! The tension is similar to what most would want on a low B (taking into account the lesser tension on a 30" scale anyway), but it feels well balanced with the other strings now. (Probably as good as my Pedulla's Hexabuzz)It's just approaching the crispness of a good low B we all know and love.

    Of course this isn't the 24 fret neck I'll have later, but considering the slightly offset Strat pickup (because of the added 5th string...) it's sounding good! I'll actually be playing this "out" tonight for several hrs. with a band so I'll get a real world confirmation. I'm still considering slotting the pickguard and sliding the pick up over a hair towards the bass end IF I have to. This Frankenbass is so mutated already that it's unsellable now anyway!:p

    I recalled Jaquo III-X's post about 12 string bass sets from S.I.T. strings and I've already emailed them but haven't received a repy yet about purchasing a single. I will go back and reread his post(s) though to recall what gauges he was using. Thanks. Jaquo and I have corresponded a couple of times so I'll probably email him again for feedback and maybe purchase an old crusty string (F#) from him if he's ammenable...

    Even with the .125 less knowledgable "audiences) haven't minded the sound of the low B and never commented other than with compliments about the bass sound. I think the .145 may just "cut it" with everyone but the pickiest of us bassplayers...it most definitely sounds light years better than the lighter string and still feels light gauge-ish (as I like) due to the scale. Definitely to be continued!
  4. JPJ


    Apr 21, 2001
    Chicago, IL
    Just have Carey swing by the Golden Gate Bridge, hack off a cable, and you're in business! :D
  5. Peter, et. al.,
    I just got back from the jam. With two electric guitars, a percussionist, keyboards, accordian (no drummer) the .145 was not bad. It's hard to tell if any lacking is from the lack of string excursion over part of the pick up or the string itself (well...both). But, over all, everone there agreed that the B sounded pretty good.

    I'm not able to get harmonics above the 5th fret, to sound clearly or loudly but I think that the thickness of the string negates that. (?) How often does one play harmonics on a low B anyhow?

    On the hunt for a .150 or larger...
  6. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    An idealized string, that would behave exactly per theory, has negligible thickness with respect to its length. As you shorten the length, or thicken the string, you get away from this behaviour - and two of the effects are that the upper harmonics decrease in volume, and are further sharp in pitch (they display increased inharmonicity). This is why I asked how you like the B string played up the neck - as you fret any string higher, this characteristic increases. This is the same effect as the difference in tone we all are familiar with between an open G string, a fifth fret D string, a tenth fret A string, and a fifteenth fret E string. In your case, the effect would be expected to be exaggerated due to the short scale and extra-heavy string.
  7. Ahh....that explains that! Thank you Peter for explaining that to me (us).

    So-I would guess that this would not be 100% remediable by just adjusting the intonation at the bridge as the overtone series is "out" due to the instrument's use of the tempered scale-yeah? If not, would the addition of a compensated nut bring that string's harmonics into the "theoretically correct" neighborhood?

    I'll try things out with my electronic tuner and see how sharp I'm getting with the .145 and get back to you all. (I don't have a tuner with cents indicated but I can give you a ball park "little sharp/lotta sharp for now...

    The tone on the Bronco is tubby anyway due to the woods used in the neck and body as well as the short scale. It's almost a pleasing tubby though...not enough definition to hear whatever sharpening is occuring in a band setting. I'll pay more attention when soloed and see what I'm hearing. I played through some Bach the other day, using the low B string up the neck quite a bit and (with the attendant tubbiness of ALL the strings) it sounded pleasing. BUT, now that I'm acoustically/scientifically more knowledgable (overnight!:smug:) it'll probably sound wrong to me! :rolleyes:

    This makes an even bigger string "scarey" pitchwise unless the bridge/nut compensating is an easy fix...

    Thanks everyone who's been discussing this with me and most of all educating me and others. I want to make this short scale 6 work as well as it possibly can for me.
  8. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    Let me clear up a few things that may be misunderstood.

    The effect I was speaking of that worsens as you go to heavier/shorter strings is not just the intonation adjustment. This may happen also, but it is easily corrected, with your intonation settings. A compensated nut shouldn't be necessary unless your nut is cut too high.

    What I was speaking of is the way that in any real string, the harmonics run sharp with respect to their own fundamental (of the same note). This is regardless of the temperament system used. This inharmonicity increases as the string is thicker with respect to its length. This inharmonicity is the reason stretch tuning is necessary in pianos, and is also one of the principles behind Buzz Feiten tuning. It is not something that is affected by intonation adjustments. It is an aspect of the basic qualities of the tone produced, not the basic pitch. It is one of the reasons that the best pianos are the long grands - on the one hand, the tone is better in the bass; also, less of a stretch tuning is required.
  9. fivestringdan

    fivestringdan Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2001
    Little Rock, AR
    Hey Jim,
    Have you every tried a muti-scale bass? Novax and the like?
  10. Thank you.
    I will accept that which can't be changed...

    Using the tuner, aside from that, the octave B (12 fret) is just a titch sharp but not enough (I think) to bother anyone's ears short of a perfect pitch person. (Say that five times fast.)
    This particular instrument is of such cheap/poor quality that it doesn't seem to matter much. (It's in the ballpark of: the difference in pitch you get when fretting with your finger directly on the fret vs. near it.

    Aside from trying to actually play harmonics on the .145 or larger string, if intonation adjustments will be effective, I think the much better quality, with accurately placed pickups,forthcoming instrument will work out ok.

    I'm checking with S.I.T. strings today about a low F# string and will email a buddy from the forum to see what he has and can tell me.
  11. Hi Dan,
    (Your post snuck in under the wire...)

    No I haven't tried one yet, but that wouldn't be what I'm looking for as I want the 30" scale at the B and E (bass) side of the neck. The Novax would only give me the shorter scale on the treble side. I toyed with checking out whether or not a 32" bass side and 27"-28" treble (I really/obviously don't know what the treble side scale would amount to...) would be like but it seemed way too involved to explore seeing as I'm already asking Carey to design a whole "new" design for me.

    Finger reach is and has always been the issue. 30" scale just falls under my fingers naturally and it feels like I'm not fighting the instrument anymore. The 34" is fine for groove playing for me and I can certainly get around on them, but for future soloing and chord melody stuff, I'm gonna need that short scale E and maybe B. I've gotten talked out of this idea for 20+ years and I've decided to just go with my intuition on this at last. It's always kind of bugged me that I can't always fret ON the fret and I can in this scale.

    Originally the impetus for this 30" six was wanting a fretless bass that would allow me to do all of the above much more easily but now that I want to explore chord melody playing, the fretted will come first. (partials clarity.)

    If it turns out to be what I'm hoping it will, then I'll probably ask Carey to build me a fretless later.

    Thanks once more for the help guys. Jim T.
  12. Jauqo III-X was kind enough to send me a slightly used low F# S.I.T. string gauged either .165 or .170. I've just put it on and will measure it later...I very much appreciate his support and advice concerning "unusual" string gauges and the basses they rode in on ( :eek:

    I still need to move the Bronco's pickup a bit more, but the open string sound is KILLER every bit as good as any 34" low B I've heard or played. It sounds good up to the fifth fret and after that, gets increasingly thuddier but in a good way. Sort of like a Precision picked with a plectrum...chest thumpin' thud.

    As soon as I get a chance, I'll move the pickup and the truth shall be revealed! (We've had an elder care family situation going on...)

    I'm guessing that something between the .145 and .165 will give me what I'm looking for. ( clear modern sound, (more harmonic content, eq.able to vintage smooth with a punchy attack.) Possibly .150, .155 or .160 if I can find those to try.
    The .165/.170 is a bit hard to fret on the "banjo" sized frets but is doable.
    Things are looking up! :hyper:

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