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Detuning mechanism

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Billdog, Mar 3, 2004.

  1. Billdog


    Feb 27, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    Has anyone else ever seen a mechanism on Double Bass that detunes the strings (a-la Hipshot for those of you with plank knowledge)? My teacher last semester had one on his that was custom made for him by a friend. I thought it was a totally rockin alternative to potentially stifled five strings and potentially difficult to play extensions. I realize when standard or even heavy gauge strings are detuned, the tone will also change somewhat, but I'd still like to here/see some other examples (I haven't heard that bass detuned or otherwise). It seems like a really good idea.
  2. I have a D-tuner on my plank and I love it -- fie on 5-strings!

    For upright? I dunno. That would be neat feat of engineering. Seems like you'd have to have an E-string that could operate under very low tension, too. I know if I detune my Obligato down more than a step, it becomes, in a mockingly anthropomorphic imitation of its owner, a flabby mess.
  3. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    I'm picturing a sort of Parsons-White string bender for DB...
  4. Billdog


    Feb 27, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    What it was was a cam type device mounted under the strings after the nut. It had a lever that had 2 throws to it so you can have 3 total tunings. The really cool thing is that it also adjusted the other strings slightly to compensate for the change in total tension on the neck/bridge/whatever. I agree that flab is more or less unavoidable with something like this. The only remotely good solution is to have a huge E string so that it goes to a "normal" tension at D, and a loose tension at C. That would probably be the best compromise. But really, getting a C or B on a standard scale double bass that is loud enough and that sounds remotely decent is nearly impossible anyway. Frankly, I can't stand 95% of B strings on slab, I just think that the ability to hit those low notes could help. The end.
  5. There have been instances where I've played pieces (Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for winds springs to mind) that go down to a low E-flat or D. In that case, I'll tune my E down at the beginning of the piece, and play the whole thing that way, praying that there isn't too much going on in the E-string at any given time.

    For jazz, if we're doing a ballad in E-flat, during the obligatory saxophone cadenza just before the ending, I'll tune down (it's about 2 and half turns on my bass) so I can hit that arco low E-flat for the "big ending." It's usually "close enough for jazz."

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