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Considering creating a "cello" bass guitar.

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by oniman7, Jun 6, 2012.


  1. About a year and a half ago, I bought an old Fender Jazz bass copy from my school. It was pretty much destroyed, so I got it for $10 or $15 (don't remember exactly the price).

    It needs new tuners, a new bridge, new electronics (pickups, pots, everything) and a new pickguard. However, I figure all of that won't cost an extraordinary amount.

    This bass is plywood and it is HEAVY. It weighs more than my EBMM Stingray 5. I'm hoping that'll give it some good resonance.

    First I'm going to take it to a local luthier to see if the neck is any good. No bowing, warping, etc. If it is, I'll throw in some new hardware, some new pickups (probably the EMG active solderless jazz set), and it'll be good to go.

    But I'm also thinking about having him de-fret it and expoxy the fretboard while it's there. Just for added fun, I'll experiment with putting it in CGDA, an octave below cello tuning.

    What does Talkbass think? I know some have used the cello tuning, but for some reason, I don't see it on fretless a lot.

    I did some research about putting on a bowed bridge, but it seems the rosin isn't friendly to standard bass strings, so I'd probably have to add a piezo as well, as well as an expensive bow... instead I might just look at an Ebow.
     
  2. Don't tease me. I have wanted one of those forever! But they're ungodly expensive. And they're an octave below a mandolin, not a cello.
     
  3. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    Hot topic all of a sudden - check out http://www.talkbass.com/forum/f8/cgda-cello-tuning-tell-me-about-852162/

    I seriously considered buying an Ibanez Mikro Bass and a custom set of strings so I could tune it this way. The Mikro Bass is just a smidge longer scale length than a cello. My local music store even had one in stock a while back, and for $170 it would have been a cheap toy. But when I went back a couple weeks ago, the only one they had was a lefty... but there was a great sale on a Cirrus BXP 5 they'd had hanging there for too long.... So much for my toy budget! :bassist:
     
  4. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    I've been tuning my fretted Active Jazz that way for a couple of months. There are pros and cons but on balance I like it and I like it much better than a five string so for now I plan to stick with it. I have a five string that gets no love now and while I may retune it CGDAE or some other fifths tuning I am also thinking pretty strongly about trading/selling it for another four. If I did that I would retune it CGDA too and convert one of my fours to a fretless. I'd just buy a fretless four to retune if I could find one I liked in my price range, as it is I will probably go with a Mighty Mite neck. I don't think there is anything wrong with the fifths tuning on a fretless, it works well for the violin family! Fretless basses are somewhat rare, fifths tuning is very rare, so fretless fifths tuned bass guitars (cellos??) are exceedingly rare because of statistics, not because there is anything wrong with the concept.

    I don't think it is feasible physically to bow a bass guitar. If you want to go that route you should consider an EUB. While you might be able to hack up the body of a BG to make it bowable you also want a much sharper radius on the fingerboard as well as the bridge so I think an EUB would be a much better way to go. The eBow is an interesting concept. I don't believe I've heard any soundclips of it that have a cello-esque sound. Everything I've heard sounds more like an electronic instrument. There's nothing wrong with that generally, only if your goal was to produce a cello sound. But the fact that none of the owners go that way doesn't necessarily mean it can't do that, so perhaps....

    Ken
     

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