Convert bass to OVERSIZED cello? A "5/4"cello?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Common Tater, Feb 9, 2018.

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  1. The issue is you are working on uninformed assumptions and not experience. If, after a year or so of lessons and actual playing experience this turned out to be a real issue, then going about solving would make sense. While people are generally taller now, tall people have been around for hundreds of years. With instruments as old as the 'cello and double bass this would have come up by now.
    As I have said, the right endpin is generally the solution for both instruments.

    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
    VictorW126 likes this.
  2. Co.


    Sep 10, 2006
    No, because I am not really a trained piano player.
    But I am a trained bass player and honestly, I think you are not at all.
    You can choose to listen to educated advice or make up your own uneducated and probably expensive and ultimately useless "solutions".
  3. Common Tater

    Common Tater

    Jan 15, 2016
    Why is it "generally" and not "absolutely"? Seems to me that you admit at least the possibility that this could be a problem. Mr. Bryanton seemed to find this a problem, and by my guess of what little he wrote I'm actually taller than him.

    I'm sure it has. However, until about 1940 or so there wasn't the technology to do much about it. We have the technology, we can make things better, faster, and stronger, and not have to spend 6 million dollars to do it.

    Then, just for grins and giggles, let's assume I did that. Let's pretend I took a year of cello lessons. I still find shifting from fourths to fifths tuning confusing. That I find the short string length on a cello too small for my big hands. I see a 1/4 double bass for sale, and a wide variety of strings. Can we see if we can put those together to solve my problem? It sure would be neat if we could make this work.
  4. Common Tater

    Common Tater

    Jan 15, 2016
    Neither am I. I just did a search on the internet on how to play five note chords on a piano to see if I could do that. It wasn't too hard to find but the notations on the web page I found stated that it was rare for people to actually play all five notes in the chord. I did that to prove a simple point. If someone were to make a piano sized such that it would be comfortable for you to play five note chords then there is a high probability that it would not be comfortable for me to play. My guess is that I'd find such keys difficult to play without hitting adjacent keys.

    I don't know this for sure but let's just say I have my suspicions you don't play a 4/4 bass very often. Don't you in the least find it convenient and more comfortable to play a 3/4 bass? Maybe you prefer a 1/2 bass, again I have my suspicions. Would you not expect that someone a foot taller than you might also find it convenient and comfortable to play an instrument scaled to their height?

    As in my previous post I suspect this has come up before but until fairly recently the possibility of building a 5/4 cello would likely have been impossible or at least prohibitively expensive. I would like to move past on why I'd want to do this and move on to how it might be done.
  5. The other guy ducked out of the thread when I asked him what his teacher said. I am not aware of any documented evidence of the problems you are inventing.
    On the other hand there are tons of threads right here on talkbass of misguided assumptions and trying to "solve" problems that don't actually exist.
    VictorW126 likes this.
  6. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Following this discussion to its unbiased conclusion... how tall would I have to be with average hands to play the violin? Most violinists are less than 5 feet? Really? Do they commonly complain about their instrument being too small for them?
    Beyond silly.
  7. Common Tater

    Common Tater

    Jan 15, 2016
    Can you blame him for ducking out? It sounds like this was something that has bothered him for years. He happens to find this thread and creates an account specifically to join the discussion. Then he's told it can't be done and he's an idiot and/or troll for even asking. I'm not surprised he left and you should not be either.

    Mr Bryanton said this was a problem for him. VictorW found a 10 year old thread on a different forum where they were discussing this problem. It's been documented. I didn't just invent it myself. If you do believe I just invented this then that's quite an elaborate setup for a joke on a tiny little web forum.
  8. Common Tater

    Common Tater

    Jan 15, 2016
    According to this website about 5 feet tall.
    Finding a student violin in the proper size

    Most violinists 12 years of age and younger probably are.

    Yes, of course. I just set up this joke for ten years across multiple web forums.

    I need a KitKat.
  9. Accordion keys are smaller than the piano, but this does not prevent the virtuosos.
  10. Mark Bryanton

    Mark Bryanton

    Feb 12, 2018
    Hello Damon,

    I "ducked out" because it was clear that this thread was going to rapidly devolve into unreferenced claims and character attacks, and that the interesting part of the discussion would be drowned out. I originally had written what my cello teacher at the Royal Conservatory and I had tried to correct the positioning issues, and how we had ultimately not been able to correct them satisfactorily (she had actually suggested that I take up bass or double bass instead of cello, due to the better body fit). Then I remembered that I don't have to justify myself to you. Instead of wasting my time reading your ad hominem arguments, I decided to get back to my more important work. Unfortunately this thread continues to flood my inbox; I will unsubscribe now.

    More importantly, I had already gotten the information that I needed to explore the possibilities locally, based on Common Taters' insightful analysis of this topic (haha, it's not often that I get to say that a common tater conducted an insightful analysis).

    Thanks Tater.
    Common Tater likes this.
  11. Chris Symer

    Chris Symer

    Dec 13, 2009
    This thread got me thinking about being the “wrong” size for an instrument that you love. Sure, changing the instrument is an option, but I am kind of fond of people who figured out a way to play despite the physical boundaries/ limitations they were faced with. I don’t really care which other notes they can or can’t reach. .

    Or this....

  12. Do you need a table with the diameters of strings? What for?

    I have only shown that strings on a double bass work with a greater tension than on a cello. You can not get the sound of a cello using the body from a double bass and strings from a double bass and simply changing the length of the string and the tension.
  13. This is a matter of tradition. Many call the bass SL~1050mm (3/4) full or 4/4. This is a convention. The SL1100mm is a symbol, it is not a strict calculation. Someone speaks of the contrabass 1100mm as 5/4. We just use the most common wording.
  14. Co.


    Sep 10, 2006
    My main instrument I play is a 7/8 bass. Normal string length, but a very large body.

    I also play a g violone, which is essentially a 1/4 sized bass with 6 strings, tuned an octave higher than a regular double bass. You'd expect it to be much easier to play difficult fingerings and shifts on it, because of the reduced string lentgh and frets. But believe me, it is not easier.

    I have seen really small women with tiny hands playing double bass and huge guys with monstrous hands playing cello on a very high level of technique and MUSICIANSHIP. You will learn more about the instrument and your relationship to the instrument, if you try and adapt to it.

    It is good to question the status quo in everything and not follow blindly, but it is also good to have a least a little bit of experience before doing so.
    Chris Fitzgerald and VictorW126 like this.
  15. Co.


    Sep 10, 2006
    It is really like saying: "The streets are so big here, I think my car needs larger wheels."
    Other analogies come to mind, that I choose not to post here.
  16. Bisounourse


    Jun 21, 2012
    Gent, Belgium
    The only thing that picture shows you is that you have large hands... if you would play a regular cello you'll find it easyier to play (for instance) a D#/Eb and a G#/Ab (since you stretch you first finger in 1st position to reach those notes).

    As a former cello player, you are inventing problems were there aren't; one of my fellow students was 1m98; a taller endpin solved his problems.

    Your 'build' of a fractional DB as a cello is money down the drain. You'll find a better use if you put that money aside and look for a decent cello and a good teacher.
  17. Common Tater

    Common Tater

    Jan 15, 2016
    To all of you that think this is a bad idea, do me a favor, okay? Go get yourself a KitKat and don't come back.

    Did I just invent a problem? Of course I did. People come here all the time with invented problems. For the most part these invented problems bring out inventive people with inventive solutions. For some reason I'm getting far more noise than signal. I suspect the noise has chased away a lot of people that would have enjoyed this discussion. I sure would like to have those inventive people join me, instead of what I got.

    Perhaps we can start over?

    Hi, I'm Common Tater. I'm learning to play the double bass. I think that after seeing on this forum some of the crazy and inventive projects completed by some crazy and inventive people that I might find some people that could help me with my own crazy project. I would like a bass that sounds like a cello. Why? No reason really, I just think it would be fun. I'll see music written for cello that people will play on the bass, I'd like to try that too but have it sound as intended instead of an octave lower. I did some calculations and I think that with a 1/4 size bass and the right strings this might actually be possible, given the high tech strings we have on the market now.

    Anyone try this before? Anyone have some ideas on how I should pick out the strings for this project? If I can get this to work then maybe I'll post a video or two of me playing. Any requests? I'll warn you that I'm very tall, so it might actually look like a cello by comparison.
  18. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Just a reminder to all that respect is Rule #1 at Talkbass and that there is really no point in beating a dead horse to get someone to agree to any point. The best we can do as responsible citizens of the bass world is to honestly give our best advice when asked or when responding, and then not insist that it be taken (as if we had that power anyway). If we are actually trying to help, this is the best we can do. If you have done this and the other party doesn't listen, it's best to walk away and let experience be the guide for the people we might have been trying to save some trouble. If our warnings were true, life will back them up and something will be learned.

    Also as a reminder to all, we have a sticky on fractional sized basses in the Basses forum. Here is a link. The moderator staff would prefer that people not continue having the same arguments with the same points made in thread after thread. Please refer to the sticky to see what has been said on the subject.
    damonsmith and Tom Lane like this.
  19. Reiska


    Jan 27, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    Why to turn a fractional size bass into a huge cello? My motivations would be a) fun b) way too much time and money to spend c) just because crazy s**t is something I pursue anyway ( I actually do, that`s part of things beeing interesting )

    Otherwise, I`d just buy the cello. If I were to buy a fractional size bass it would definently be my 5ths tuned bass, even when my finances would never allow a small bass that actually was capable to produce those low notes properly. I`d be after that shorter than " standard " string lenght, and try my best to live with the small body and the tone I could get from it.

    So, with everything else happening in this thread, I`d suggest a set of 3/4 lenght Spirocore Red Mitchell 5ths tuning bass strings for that little bass. You`d be in similar tuning but a octave lower, and without all the hassle and consequences of mixing a ( prolly ) not that great instrument with completely wrong mensure and tension strings. With your big hands you could play some of cello literature as is, with all music that has a bass involved, or does not yet.

    In any scenario, you need lessons and some serious practise!

    Best, R
  20. Common Tater

    Common Tater

    Jan 15, 2016
    So you are saying I should get an instrument tuned like a cello but sounds like a bass, the EXACT OPPOSITE of what I'm looking for?

    I don't want you to think I'm singling you out, you are simply the last in a long string of people that have been adding to the noise rather than the signal. I'm not even mad. I'm simply confused. I thought I explained the goal quite clearly several times now. A moderator even felt the need to intervene to keep this on topic. If you have no intention to add to the solution then please, everyone, don't add to the noise.
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