Bass for piccolo tuning?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sgroh87, Feb 14, 2014.

  1. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    I've been playing for a little over a year now, but I still spend a lot of time playing alone in my bedroom. I've been wanting to play around with piccolo tuning since I saw Zander Zon's videos on YouTube. I have a decent tax return coming this year and I was thinking about getting a bass to string with picc strings, but I'm wondering if there are any features or qualities that make a bass better or worse for high tuning. Things like active or passive electronics, fretted vs fretless, short scale or standard, single coil or humbucker(s), number of pickups, et cetera.

    I was thinking that a Stingray or Sterling would be a good choice, but if you'd suggest something different, I'm open to suggestions.
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Most of those will work fine tuned piccolo, all depending on what you want to sound like.

    I prefer using 30" scale for piccolo, for example, but others swear by 34".
  3. JonDark


    May 21, 2013
    Detroit MI
    Watched a vid of a player who used the Squier VM mustang for a piccolo. Not sure if this may be what your looking for sound wise. It's has a 30" scale if I remember correctly.

    Here is the link
  4. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    If you want to have a wound G string, instead of plain, you'll probably want a short scale.

    Wound strings don't come much smaller than about .020", and tuning that up to +1 octave G on a 34" scale is a lot of tension. It's not uncommon for first-time piccolo players to break their first one just trying to tune up, and even if you get it up to pitch, it's likely to break on you way before the rest of your string set is needing replacement.

    If you don't mind the feel of using E-A-D wound strings with a plain G string, you can easily use a 34" scale with an appropriate gauge.

    Most piccolo string sets come with a plain G string, so you might consider putting together a set of singles if you want a wound G string. I know LaBella makes a .020 wound string, Circle K strings has a .023, I think Conklin has something close to that too, probably a couple of others out there.
  5. xaxxat

    xaxxat Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2008
  6. bwoodman

    bwoodman Supporting Member

    I tried to put a set of piccolo strings on a Warmoth Jazz that doesn't get much play time - long story short, the G string is not wound, it's plain and it will not stay in tune because it's slipping on the tuning peg - the A string is not staying in tune either. I guess more winds around the tuner would be good, which means I'm probably better off with a short scale bass too. Any opinions on this Ibanez GSRM20 MIKRO for a piccolo? They sell for $179 so pretty cheap + I can always string it back up with standard strings and have a cool mini-bass.

  7. Sgroh87


    Dec 4, 2012
    DFW, Texas
    Here's a tip if you're having tuning stability issues: when you are winding the wraps around the head, wrap one time over the excess string and then the rest of the wraps under. This will act as a sort of knot to hold the string in place and keep it from slipping. Most guitar players do this but very few bass players I know do it simply because the strings are so thick that they don't encounter much of an issue with slipping.

    Regardless, the mikro was another thing I was thinking about when looking at getting a piccolo bass. However I was planning on going with the five string version just so I would still have a little more low end than a regular guitar.