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Electric strings on DB? Why?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Levin, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. Levin


    Oct 30, 2012
    I figured just now, while scanning the Circle K-site for something new to taste, considering they have 39-40 scale length, wouldn't it be possible to put them on a double bass?
    I realized that I've never heard of it, or why anyone would do it.
    I guess if you only play amplified, it could sound... different.
    Pennies for your thoughts! :D
  2. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Most uprights are around 42" scale, and require 10+" behind the bridge to reach the tailpiece. Those strings probably wouldn't fit.
  3. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    What lz4005 said. Take a surf on the DB side and you will see threads explaining why they don't fit.
  4. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    There's a lot of extra string between the bridge and tailpiece, so even if it was 40" scale, they still wouldn't fit an upright. Yeah, I know that upright strings are super expensive, but that's how it is so get used to it ;)
  5. Levin


    Oct 30, 2012
    Haha, yup that's granted, of course they aren't long enough.
    And haha JimmyM, yeah, next try to find budget strings for DB would be to make them at home... How hard could it be?
  6. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    Just to echo the "they aren't long enough" with some numbers:

    My string length on my double bass (measured from bridge to nut just like an electric) is 41.5" and that's a pretty "standard" string length for 3/4-7/8 size instruments. Some double basses have string lengths around 40", some are up to 44" or longer, so it really depends on the instrument. For the most part, you're looking at something in the neighbourhood of 42".

    After length: This is the distance from the bridge to the tail piece. There are a lot of schools of thought on this, some involve compensated tail pieces where there is considerably more after length for the lower strings, some involve tuning this length to a specific interval etc. Mine is 9" from bridge to the "saddle" on the tail piece, and there's probably another 1/2-1" there to get through the hole in the tail piece.

    Nut-Peg: This distance is often a lot longer on double basses as well. My D peg is the farthest from the nut, and it's 8"

    Peg/post: The posts on a lot of double basses are pretty wide too, often wider than big P-bass style tuners. Also, double bassists tend to wind more than the "standard" 1-3 windings around the post, with 3-6 being pretty common. That adds another 4" or so.

    With all of that in mind even on a 40" scale instrument, you are looking at needing more string on a double bass than you would on an electric. Typical after-lengths on electrics don't usually exceed 3" even if it is string through, nut-peg might get up to 8-9" for 5 in line Fender style headstocks, but you're still looking at less string.

    Other things to think about are wear on the fingerboard, tension, tone, if you use a bow etc. I just really can't see it working out.