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Any you crazy 6 or 7 string players tune your low string to F#?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by electricdemon3, Apr 30, 2002.

  1. electricdemon3


    Jul 28, 2000
    Just wondering if this is possible, if so, what guage string would you need, and how does it sound and could you hear the fundamental at all for that matter??
  2. Yes, there are a number of people using a low f# on thier basses. Conklin, Warrior, Roscoe and others build instrument with low F# strings. I would say the most common string gauge people use is a .145. JT uses a low F#, so hopefully he'll chime in. He uses a .150 Dean Markely SR2000 IIRC. Also, Jauqo III-X has a bass tun C#, F#, B, E (a fourth below where we are talking). You might want to do a search. Anyway, a taperwound string is pretty much a necessity for intonation reasons. As far as what it sounds like, I haven't had extensive experience playing one. I have played a 7 string Roscoe at Bass NW that had a low f# though. JT says he uses it in octaves to fatten up guitar chords and in more of a support role.
    Commercial bass cabs are not designed with this sort of low end extension and have difficulty with low B's even. Bag End has a system called ELF, which is essentially a woofer in a small sealed box with a variable 12 db/octave boost to compensate for the rollof of the woofer. They claim that it's flat to 8 or 18 hz depending on which model you are talking about. That is only at low volume though. As volume increases, the amount of boost is progressivly lessed to prevent over-excursion of the woofer. I don't think the ELF systems are capable of much output at the 22 hz fundemental of the f#. On an electrinc bass though, the magnetic pickups cause a lot of sting damping. Normally, the fundemental is about 6-10 db above the 2nd harmonic. In the measurements I have seen, the fundemental, 2nd, and 3rd harmonic are all about the same volume and their is extension all the way up past the 20th harmonic. Anyway, So, even if you are not hearing a lot of fundemental out of your setup, you will definately hear something ;)

  3. DarkMazda


    Jun 3, 2000
    *yells for JT*

  4. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Yeah, you can finally be of some use!!!:D :p
  5. electricdemon3


    Jul 28, 2000
    If the range of human hearing is about 20hz-20khz, even if you had speakers that could produce the F#, who would actually be able to perceive it? And a low c#?? who are these basses designed for? elephants???

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    The same basic aproach it takes to obtain a pronounced,and clear Low B is applied to that of the Low F#,and the Low C#.along with those basics you add an amp with the proper amount of headroom,speakers etc.Thankfully D. Markley was open minded to my concept of the Low C# string.
    Feel free to visit to
    visit my sight at
    and check out
    THE LOW C# THEORY in my Gallery

  7. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    what's your source for this claim?
  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    that's a very good response, although the only thing i would add is that the elfs sound fine, ime, with the low f# - i was able to get a pretty audible and usable-sounding low f# out of an elf cab at a namm show, where there is a lot of ambient noise and very poor acoustics, and i wasn't really pushing the cab that hard. they're just serious power hogs.

    also, thanks to my bro jaquo i'll be using .165" low f#'s from now on. ;)
  9. electricdemon3


    Jul 28, 2000
    My source for this claim is from school, I recently graduated Ex'pression, a recording engineering school in Emeryville, CA.

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    Back at you,my low low end brother.you are more than welcome.
  11. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    the reason i asked is because i've heard, quite clearly, fundamental sine wave excitations through elf subs that were less than 20 hz. granted, it wasn't something that i could clearly distinguish as a note, but i could certainly make it out as a sound.

    bag end sells their pro-audio/home theater systems with flat response to 8 hz. i think this is more in the range of "feeling" as opposed to hearing, although you still have to play these notes in tune - notes that low out sound like serious crap.
  12. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    What did it (<20Hz) sound like to you? Below about 25Hz I don't really feel like I'm "hearing" a tone anymore. It's just like something is there and pressing on my ears in a weird, wobbly sort of way :)

    I did "hear" something once with 12Hz sine going through one of my subs, but I can't be sure it wasn't 24Hz and 36Hz harmonic distortion (fairly likely).
  13. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    I thought human hearing varies. I thought your hearing is best when you are young but the lowest pitch you can hear gets higher and higher as you age.
  14. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    it sounded like how it felt - sorta like you described, although there seemed to be a tone to it as well. perhaps it also had higher octave dist going on, but it was the ref system that the demo guys had set up for just such a purpose, so i would assume that that wasn't going to be going on.

    ultimately, though, the purpose of the lower-that-low-b notes is going to be one primarily of physical impact as opposed to audible impact. clearly distinguishing solo notes below low b is not the purpose of the notes in this range - enhancing and thickening existing lines, as well as creating a huge space between bass lines and guitar lines for a totally different sound - these are the things i use the low f# for. it can be useful, musical, and still very different sounding, and i find that exciting in a day when it seems like every possible musical technology has been explored to the nth degree.
  15. electricdemon3


    Jul 28, 2000
    I agree that you can definitely feel frequencies below 20hz. I still find it hard to believe one can actually hear below 20hz unless the signal is also producing harmonics like what Chris described. That sort of reminds me of the way bass maximizing processors work.

    The theory behind them is that if you have a speaker that can only reproduce tones down to a certain frequency, you can use a bass maximizer which adds harmonic content to the frequencies which could not be reproduced. Those harmonics are high enough to be produced by the speaker and it sort of tricks your brain because your mind hears the harmonics and it fills in the hole where the fundamental should be.
  16. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    :( ::::4-string brain over-loading! AAHH!!:::::D
  17. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    The low F# is ~23.125 hz, so it is within that range.

    The low C# is a different matter entirely. ~17.324 hz is most likely out of anyone's hearing range, although I am sure that you could get some interesting 2nd and 3rd harmonics out of it.
  18. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    If you were Steven Spielberg, you could could use it to create the dinosaur footstep vibration ripples in the coffee cup on the dash of the car in Jurassic Park!