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. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Two tips:
    1) Keep your elbow high! Doing this with a low elbow is very hard on the wrist.
    2) Start with something higher like unison G's or F's up by the heel - much more manageable reach there.
    Tom Lane likes this.
  2. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    So similarly - maybe I should move this to a different thread because it's a completely different topic - but any suggestions about incorporating simultaneous 4ths into my playing? I don't hear it very often, and it's mostly during a solo, but I've found it very striking and effective. I've heard you do it more than most but I haven't tracked down the specific instances yet. I think I've also heard Lynn and Rufus use 4ths to wonderful effect.
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Yes, probably a new thread for that. :)
    Tom Lane likes this.
  4. Yes, I have a solution. It consists in the fact that you need to turn to the teacher and solve questions of practical play, rather than theoretical constructions.
    Bisounourse likes this.
  5. Common Tater

    Common Tater

    Jan 15, 2016
    If that is your solution then you've demonstrated a failure to understand the problem. Go have a KitKat.
  6. I am a professional acoustics physicist with full higher education and postgraduate studies. Work experience more than ten years. My specialization is the vibration of rods and strings. I think I can understand the problem. But ... Can you make a decision???
  7. turf3


    Sep 26, 2011
    OP, have you ever actually looked at banjo strings? No way they would have the mass to play the low notes of a cello.

    Now that you have talked about it a bunch, why don't you get hold of a 1/2 or 1/4 size bass and try some things? Off the top of my head it seems like among the world of heavy gauge guitar strings you may be able to find what you want.

    One other point: have you noticed that the heel of a bass neck falls at approximately the fifth? I don't know where a cello neck hits the body but I bet it's a lot higher.
    Chris Fitzgerald likes this.
  8. BobKay

    BobKay Supporting Member

    Nov 5, 2012
    Estero, Florida; USA
    First, let me say that I have nothing against engineers, and specifically the OP or any of the other engineer/scientists contributing to the thread. In fact, some of my closest friends are engineers (really!), and here is one thing they have taught me over the years:

    "Arguing with an engineer is like wrestling in the mud with a pig; after an hour or so you realize the pig is really enjoying himself."

    Likewise, I'm enjoying this thread, and learning a lot, as well. Thanks for the time you all have contributed.
    Common Tater likes this.
  9. Eric Hochberg

    Eric Hochberg

    Jul 7, 2004
    One last contribution to this: Instruments based on the Carleen Hutchins New Violin Family The New Violin Family. 8 progressive sized instruments. Builders of these instruments The New Violin Family

    Someone will have info on the strings used.
  10. Common Tater

    Common Tater

    Jan 15, 2016
    Then this should be a trivial problem for you. Part of my question was if it was possible to get strings that would allow a bass to sound like a cello. I have done some calculations and proven that it is possible using off the shelf strings. I suspect that you have done the calculations as well.

    If we assume the use of a 1/4 scale bass, with a vibrating string length of about 35 inches we can compute what kind of strings we'd need. Assuming the instrument is tuned in fourths the open high string would sound at G3. This gives at about 70 to 80 pounds of tension the string would have to have a diameter of about 0.027 inches. At about 20 pounds of tension then the string would need a diameter of about 0.014 inches. If tuned in fifths the open high string would sound a A3. That means stings would be slightly thinner or higher tension. I chose to compute at 80 pounds because higher than that I risk damage to the instrument. At 20 pounds the strings would likely be too loose to play with a bow. So, if I am to go through with this project then I'll need to decide on where to start in choosing strings.

    In your professional opinion, which string diameter and tension should I choose?
  11. Common Tater

    Common Tater

    Jan 15, 2016
    At some point I plan to get a 1/4 size bass and try, but I posed this question here so that I might have a place to start. If someone has tried this before then I'd like to see how it was done so I don't repeat any mistakes. Now that I've "talked about it a bunch" I have a much better idea on how to approach this.

    Heavy gauge guitar strings would be a good place to find something but I'd have to get the strings on a roll or something because a pre-cut string would be far too short. The string off a roll would also lack a ball end. If I could find a finished string of the proper size and weight then it would save me a lot of trouble.
  12. Common Tater

    Common Tater

    Jan 15, 2016
    Sounds about right. :thumbsup:
  13. Drgonzonm


    Sep 4, 2017
    American SW
    I support the idea of the OP building an oversize cello. The OP believes there is a latent demand for oversize cellos. He sees a problem and offers a solution and asks for help that's what engineers do. The cello is a bass instrument, the music is written in bass clef.
    We could cut a couple of strings off a guitar tune it in fifths and call it a cello guitar.
    What's wrong with playing cello with a German bow, or playing cello with a bass bow. We did that fifty years ago, and no one was to wiser.
    Go for it, and ignore the nay sayers.
    Common Tater likes this.
  14. statsc

    statsc Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2010
    Burlington, VT
    These discussions seem to follow a fairly predictable pattern:
    • OP suggests a particularly outlandish idea, with conditions that are difficult or impossible to fulfill; asks for opinions or experiences of others who have tried something similar.
    • Earnest and knowledgable TB'ers respond with why it won't work, why it's unnecessary, or what the OP should really be focusing on instead. A few chime in with support for OP's right to free speech and/or a defense of out-of-the-box thinking in general.
    • OP disagrees with or rejects all TB'ers' advice and opinions; questions respondents further; offers Kit Kats to the more outspoken ones.
    • Responses start to get snippy because the OP disagrees or rejects everything.
    • Mods intervene to keep the peace.
    • OP changes the conditions slightly to something equally or more outlandish; offers more Kit Kats.
    • Wash, rinse, and repeat; until everyone gets tired of it.
    • We wait in vain for some tangible evidence of the OP's ideas brought to fruition. Perhaps he has followed the advice of the forum; or maybe there was no intention to carry out the idea in the first place.
    Makes for entertaining reading!
    Eric Hochberg and damonsmith like this.
  15. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Very tall people have needs too!
    I recall that Stanley Clarke had specially long scale electric basses built for his oversized hands.
    Oh, wait, no, Stanley played short-scale basses.
    Bryan R. Tyler and VictorW126 like this.
  16. Callused Finger

    Callused Finger

    Feb 22, 2007
    New York
    I wish I enjoyed typing that much.
  17. I would advise the length of the strings to be 720-740 mm (~1/16-1/10 DB) and the standard strings for the 4/4 cello (medium tension). This corresponds to an increase in tension by 6-12% and I can not give any guarantees, but this is a good solution in terms of sound. I do not know if there are cello strings designed for a long length.
    I think you can order strings for Viola Da Gamba and try them.
    In any case, bass strings are not suitable for building a cello. And the bass body too.

    My experience suggests that you need to try. Reasoning here will not help. In all cases, prepare for long experiments and big expenses.
    Drgonzonm likes this.
  18. Common Tater

    Common Tater

    Jan 15, 2016
    The problem posed was for an instrument no smaller than a 1/8 double bass. That was stated as the problem in the original post.

    If you don't like the rules of the game then why run out on to the field? No one is making you play. You don't even have to sit in the bleachers to watch. As BobKay noticed I'm enjoying the discussion but wrestling in the mud is not the same as playing a game. You've made it known on page 1 that you find this a silly endeavor, repeating your protestations is only getting old and tired.
  19. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    ...and with that, we're closed. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.
    Eric Hochberg likes this.
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