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deskdrawer bass

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Rody, Feb 25, 2004.


  1. Hi people,

    I've been toying with the idea of a deskdrawerbass for keeping at the office and playing during breaks. It would basically be a body/wingless 1 octave bass (like taking a regular bass and amputating it at the 12th fret), kind of like the Clevinger Bassboy Poquito, but an electric bass version. As minimal and small as possible, headless fretted 4-5 string. Maybe an intergrated headphone amp and line-in for hooking up the cd-rom player in my workstation.
    The issues involved would be kind-of similar those with the bass discussed here : http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1343407#post1343407 , but a lot more extreme......

    Any ideas? Cheers Rody

    ps tuning would be be 1 octave higher of course.....like a capo at the 12th fret.....
     
  2. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    sounds like a picollo short scale bass to me ;)

    this is doable but I'd leave electronics outboard and use some kinda of preamp/effect device that accepts headphones!


    Peace, JP
     
  3. JP,

    I was hoping you'd chime in.... What's your reason for wanting to leave the electronics out of the bass? All you need is your pickup obviously (which can be a simple piezo), a 9V battery and a couple of fets/opamps and some other stuff.....

    There wouldn't be any way to go to standard tuning would there? I'm guessing an octave up is better because of string tension, but on the other hand the Ashbory's seem to get away with it.......they have totally different strings though. And the Poquito is larger at 23 1/4" (which might even be acceptable to me...).

    Cheers rody
     
  4. JP Basses

    JP Basses

    Mar 22, 2002
    Paris FRANCE
    Just leaving electronis out give you more option IMO. Someone would like to use a Pandora or other effect processor that allow headphone playing.

    A piezo or a simpe mag pickup would be ok.

    Standard tuning depends on the scale you wan to use. 17" would be the 34" divided by 2 as you suggested an of course probably too short for standard tuning.

    Ashbory bass uses special strings of course. Why not go with an ashbory btw??

    Peace, JP
     
  5. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I suspect you'd end up with an instrument that feels and plays very differently to what you're used to as a 'bass'. Think for example of a piccolo bass - it's tuned the same as a guitar but doesn't sound or play the same due to the string mass, tension and spacing.

    What's the standard scale length for a guitar? I think it's round about 27", so your instrument would be significantly shorter than even that! Therefore, your device could be a great way of doing some music practise but it wouldn't be quite the same as doing bass practice.

    Wulf
     
  6. Wulf,

    I think the bass would feel exactly the same as playing above the 12th fret on a normal bass, provided you use standard strings and tension....and if your name is Steve Lawson, it will feel like normal playing ;-)

    JP,

    An Ashbory might be an option, but I don't think I'll like the rubber strings and I want to build it myself...although building an Ashbory is an option, no need to buy one...

    Cheers Rody
     
  7. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I'm not convinced. I've only got very limited experience on piccolo bass but I do have a mandolin. The lower strings are comparable gauges to those on my acoustic guitar but they feel and sound quite different. I'm not trying to put you off the idea but I think you'll end up with something that is fun but quite dissimilar to playing bass.

    For example, you'll be practising your 12 fret fingerspan exercises but what good is that going to do you when you go back to to a 34" scale monster :D !

    If bass practise is the aim, what about getting (or building) a 'cricket bat' Steinberger style design? It won't quite fit in a desk draw but should tuck neatly out of the way, especially if you go for one in black rather than garish red like mine.

    Wulf
     
  8. My main goal with this bass is figuring out bass parts for songs, not technique.

    I don't think you should compare this to a piccolo bass. Just imagine putting a capo on you bass at the 12th fret and sawing off the unused part of the neck. That's what I'd end up with. Sure it plays different than near the nut. Good enough for my purposes....

    Cheers rOdy

    ps I want a Steinberger, but a real one. Building a clone might be a more real possibility though, seeing the prices the originals fetch...
     
  9. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Go for it... and remember to post pictures once you're done :D

    Wulf
     
  10. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    Well there is always this
    [​IMG]
     
  11. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    If you're just figuring out lines, you could also get one of the mini-guitars (Fernandes Nomad or Chiquita) and ignore or remove the top two strings.

    The Nomad has a built-in amp, speaker, digital effects, and drum machine!
     
  12. They looked cool, until I saw the pricetag... nearly $600!!!!! No way Jose! Thanks for the tip though....

    Cheers Rody
     
  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    US-NY-NYC
    Well, the $579 list for the one with all the goodies might not be too bad once it gets down to selling price.

    I'd recommend a used cheapie Steinberger copy.
     
  14. Sounds like a cool idea to me. You'll probably have to wind your ownd strings though (or make your own tuners). If you just cut regular strings in half they'll be too thick to fit in a tuning peg. Maybe you could use an ultra light set or something. :)
     
  15. Well,

    I could strip off some of the winding (see the link in my first post) or, seeing as it would be a headless bass, just put on one of those clamping ends with the Allen screws. They won't have any problem holding on to a full thickness string..... the other ends will be regular ball-ends which fit the headless tuner assembly..

    Cheers rOdy
     
  16. luknfur

    luknfur

    Jan 14, 2004
    DIXIE
    May be a dumb question, but why not just take a bass to work?
     
  17. That's not a dumb question. Prime reason, too much hassle. I always go to work by bike (either muscle or engine-driven). Transporting a bass, next to my backpack, is too much hassle. Secondary reason, I don't want to leave a normal bass in plain sight at the office since there's a few people with loose fingers. So I want something I can conceil pretty easily....

    Another option re:tuning might be using the top 5 strings (high c) of a 6 string set and "capo-ing" at the b on the e-string. This would give me a short "low-b", 1 octave up 5 string with reasonable tension.....

    Cheers Rody
     
  18. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    That could work. How deep is your desk drawer? Without a bass to hand, I'd guess that would still leave you looking at about 20" for the scale length.

    BTW, you should be able to get a high C five string set... it would be a waste to pay extra for a low B string you wouldn't use.

    Wulf