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Bass/Baritone question from a Noob

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by BmoreTele, Aug 11, 2007.


  1. BmoreTele

    BmoreTele

    Aug 11, 2007
    I have been lurking on the edge of the bass/baritone guitar world and am about to make the leap.

    I actually ordered a short scale bass last week, but that didn't quite work out. MF had a blowout on the Daisy Rock Retro H bass (30 inch scale, 2 mini HB's, semi-hollow - for $100 shipped).

    I was planning on re-stringing it to ADGC (piccolo style). I have been playing mostly acoustic guitar recently and a lot of the forms and patterns I have been falling into have been on the lower 4 strings, so I figured I would stick with the patterns and add more body ooomph.

    Well today MF refunded my money. Order cancelled. Item no longer available. I guess it was too good a deal to be true.

    So I find myself in status interruptus, ready to play but no new toy to play with.

    Now I'm back to considerin' ...

    Should I go with a baritone guitar (and what scale 30 or 28) OR should I stick with my original idea and tweak a 4 string SS bass?

    And of course which instrument - Baritones - Hellcat VI, Eastwood Sidejack, OLP MM5, Washburn WI44, or Ibanez MMM-1. SS basses - SX SJB-75, Dean EVO XM, Gretsch Electromatic, etc. I'm not that impressed with the Broncos.

    You can see what my price rannge is. Any thoughts?

    What problems woudl I have shifting the strings on a 4 string SS bass - I was thinking of using the 4 inside strings from a Jerry Jones baritone set - 34-44-56-72.

    Thanks.
     
  2. zipflint

    zipflint

    Sep 25, 2005
    Spartanburg, SC
    Wish I could provide some useful info, but I'm just posting because I am also interested in a baritone guitar. I know there have been threads on 'em before but I'm curious as to where this one will go. I'm currently totally satisfied with my Ric and dabble with regular guitars (acoustic 12 and electric 6). Budget isn't a concern, I'll just wait longer and save up. I'm in no rush, heh.

    The obvious suggestion, of course, is to just go play some, but (and I suspect the original poster is in the same situation) that's just not possible around here. We've got one independent music shop, and a GC. And I've never seen a baritone guitar in either.

    Would it be possible to achieve the same effect by just stringing a regular guitar with heavy-gauge strings? Maybe change out the nut and bridge?
     
  3. basmartin

    basmartin

    Aug 6, 2007
    Sweden
    The scalelenght will be an issue if you string a guitar with heavyer strings and tune it down. It won´t sound that good. The 34" scalelenght is allready to short to support the regular tuning on a E-bass. So you could easally string a regular 34" bassguitar w ADGC strings, like a tenor-bass. Or even higher. The shortscale thing is only for playing comfort imo. Longscale sound better.

    But if you want the baritone guitar thing going, try those that are availible, like Ibanez, Fender Jaguar Baritone or Danelectro etc, and see whatt might be your cup of tea.
     
  4. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    I have a Fender Baritone Jaguar Custom (Crafted in Japan) which I love. Scale length is about 29" and it's tuned EADGBE, an octave below a guitar. It could easily be tuned a 4th or 5th higher with the right strings.

    It's its own instrument--doesn't sound like a guitar or bass. I usually play it with a pick and often use effects. Chordwise, I find that 2-3 note voicings sound better (less cluttered) than full chords, especially in the lower registers. I used my Jag for all the parts (except synth) on the song "CosmoGirl" at http://www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandID=487265. Not the best recording but it does show the range of the instrument.

    The Danelectros are pretty cool if you're on a budget. I've heard nothing but good things about the Schecter Hellcat VI--I believe Robert Smith of the Cure switched to the Hellcat after using a Fender Bass VI for many years. To me the Cure's "In Between Days" is the classic baritone song.
     
  5. I also have a Jaguar Baritone Bass VI, and it is indeed a lovely instrument. The only thing I dislike is the approximate intonation of the low E string, so I'm considering a bridge swap to come to terms with this issue, and make the instrument more usable as a bass guitar. Now I prefer playing chord based pieces on it - and, in genereal, I think full chords sounds nice on it - rather than driving basslines. Anyway, it's an instrument you should check out. But hurry up, they've recently been discontinued.

    (You can hear me playing the Big Cat over at my myspace. The tunes "plume" and "egal" are the ones to listen too, as the others features regular four string basses.)
     
  6. zazz

    zazz

    Feb 27, 2004
    Cebu
    are the jag vis 29" ..i thought they were like 27 or 28.

    i say this cause the best length is abouth 30 with the bassvi strings..it terms of tone on the low e.

    if you got stacks of cash i would go for a bassvi or a gretch.

    but if i was on a tight budget the olp is supposed to be a no nosense affair.

    i sort of steered clear of the jag vi cause of the shorter scale length:bag:

    the hellcat is reported to be a bit off in the pickups dept.

    i ended up with the musicman baritone which is great if you stay away from eb strings and go with the bass vi strings.

    i would love to get hold of a shergold bari..but they are like hens teeth ...but they take bass strings!!!! instead of the baritone sets.

    good luck.:bassist:
     
  7. The Jaguar VI is 28.5", and the black, humbucker-equipped, Jaguar is somewhere near 27". Sadly, both are discontinued, and as of yet, there are no instruments to replace them in the Fender product line. Personally, I wish that Fender Japan will start making Bass VI:es again. The ones from the mid nineties are great, and I regret not buying one when they were around, and reasonably priced.
     
  8. BmoreTele

    BmoreTele

    Aug 11, 2007
    Thanks for the info.

    I just missed out on a Jag VI two weeks ago. I got my money together the day AFTER a friend sold his for $525.

    I'm close to springing for a Hellcat VI. Do you think the 30 inch scale will make any difference with the low E intonation? What kind of bridge are you looking to get to replace your Jag VI bridge?

    i dug your music. What gauge strings are you using on your Jag VI?
     
  9. zazz

    zazz

    Feb 27, 2004
    Cebu
    yeah.....the low e at this gauge and length is treading a fine line between acceptable and flabby...and anything much less in gauge and length than a bass vi is gonna suffer string definition.

    i dont know why the jag wasnt as long as the vi ...somone obvioulsy thought cause the jag guitar is shortscale for a guitar...lets keep the spirit and make the jag bari shorter as well.

    and then they come out with the limited edition bassvi from custom shop which is out of range of most pockets.

    one day they will get it right.

    but on the subject of chords/ single string playing.... well thats the magic of these guitars.

    you can mix it up....single with chords ...i personally love the cocteu/cure approach two strings playing off against each other.

    i think a full on power chord is probably too much for the frequency and amp...but each to their own eh.:bassist:
     
  10. Yes, I think the extra 1.5" will help the intonation a bit, but I also think that a really good setup (and especially a properly cut nut) would help my situation, as the intonation is off most around the first few frets. Oh, and I'd love to try a Hellcat too. Those are smashing looking basses.

    I'm thinking of swapping the bridge piece for the kind used on Jazzmaster/Jaguar/Mustang guitars - and, incidently, also the CS Bass VI:s -, which have a longer travel range for the bridge saddles than the on on it now, and then see if I can/want to keep the tailpiece or not. If not, I might go with a floating tremolo system, a'la Jazzmaster, or the beautiful customized Big Cat one can see in another thread, at another forum: http://www.offsetguitars.com/forums/index.php?topic=4903.0

    Glad you like it!

    I use the strings it came with from the factory, which are made to fit the Jaguar's bridge. The gauges are 025, .035, .045, .055, .075, .095. I really like the feel and sound of these strings, and don't find them flabby (but then again, I like the light gauge and soft tension Thomastik Infeld's Jazz Rounds too, and have them on my main four string).

    I'm also puzzled as to why the Jaguar Bass VI isn't 30", but I guess that you might be on to something (which makes me wonder why the four string Jaguar isn't at least medium scale...). And though I love my Big Cat, I think it would've been a somewhat better instrument (for E-e tuning) with a slightly longer scale.

    Annoying, isn't it?

    Sadly they seem to have gotten it right once already, back in the mid nineties, when the Japanese Bass VI came out, and I don't think we should expect this to happen' again. After all, the Bass VI is a niche instrument, and not an instrument that will sell all that well, compared to for example Stratocasters and Jazz Basses.
     
  11. BmoreTele

    BmoreTele

    Aug 11, 2007
    I just ordered the Hellcat VI!!

    I am stoked!!!

    And I don't even know how to surf!!

    Enough with the exclamation points already.

    :hyper:

    :hyper:
     
  12. Someone above said, and I quote:

    "The 34" scale lenght [sic] is allready [sic] to [sic] short to support the regular tuning on a E-bass."

    No, it isn't, unless you like a bass that "twangs" (yuck!--I sure don't, as I found out the hard way). In fact, ditto for a 5 ("B-bass", I guess you'd call it).

    A word to the wise, as you browse thru stores and websites for your next "gotta have it" axe:

    I've gotten plenty of compliments, and no complaints, about the sound of my 34" scale fiver. Meanwhile, the market for "twangy"-sounding bassists is, shall we say, microscopic.

    Conclusion: I'd be very, very careful about that over-34" scale length if I were you, unless you've got money to burn and/or don't care about actually working as a musician.
     
  13. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    I'd be all over a medium or short scale Jag soooo fast.
    I really wish it would. A reasonably priced, reasonably accurate (bassVI body shape instead of just a jag, 30" scale, etc.) VI reissue would rock me pretty hard.
     
  14. basmartin

    basmartin

    Aug 6, 2007
    Sweden
    E-bass= Electric bass

    It is to short, because the E-string on most basses starts sounding bad around the 5th fret and beyond. The idea with the fanned fretted instruments is to give each string the "correct" scale, so the strings would sound sound as good as possible. A scale lenght around 38-40" would be ideal for the E-string, but that wouldn´t be a comfortable instrument to play, if it were designed as regular electric bass. It works well on upright basses, I think 42" is the most common scale.


    I probably won´t buy a bass that has a longer scale than 35", not so easy to play, I´d guess. And I can live with that the E-string doesn´t sound to good on the higher frets.

    Conclusion: I´m fine with a 34" scale on the 150-200 gigs a year I do. So, what´s your point?

    Sorry for bringing up an old topic.... My Jaguar Baritone is now sold, btw....
     

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