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Fifths tuning on a 1/2 size db?

Discussion in 'Strings [DB]' started by ficelles, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. ficelles


    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    I use a Zeller 1/2 size, a nice bass with solid wood throughout and plenty of depth to the tone, thinking of trying fifths tuning since I also play cello and prefer it, anyone tried it on a shorter scale db?
  2. paulunger

    paulunger Supporting Member

    Sep 1, 2002
    Fort Worth, Texas
    I've played on 5/8 size basses and fifths tuning works quite well. You might lose a little volume on the low C string but it should still work fine.
    Get yourself a set Spirocore 5ths tuning strings. Unless you buy a custom set made for the the reduced string length of a 1/2 size, you will be buying strings for a standard 3/4 size bass (41-42 inch string length) and this will cause the metal part of the string to wrap around the tuning shaft. For this reason, synthetic strings may brake. I suggest getting a set of Thomastik Spirocore 5ths tuning strings. They can withstand the abuse.
  3. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
  4. ficelles


    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    Not sure anyone is actually making 1/2 size strings for fifths tuning, obvious choice is a 3/4 Spirocore 5ths set but on a 38" scale they will be lower tension than intended by the maker... given the tightness of Spiros generally maybe that isn't a bad thing! An expensive experiment though...

  5. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    There is a Red Mitchell "Mittel" set (I am assuming "Mittel" would be the proper designation, but I have never seen it referred to as such) and a weich set. There are also 4/4 and 3/4 variations. If you can get your hands on the 3/4 Mittel set, hypothetically it should feel more like a weich set would on a 41-42" string length.

    As far as bass strings go, they're one of the cheaper options. You can usually find a set of them going for about $210 before sales tax, which might not be a problem depending on where you are located. They aren't in the same ballpark as some of the cheapest strings out there, but they have a crazy long lifespan. If this is something you seriously intend on pursuing, I'd say it's on the cheaper end of the double bass spectrum as far as prices go. If it's just an experiment, it's up to you if that's outside of your wallet's comfort zone.
  6. Colin Shipman

    Colin Shipman

    Apr 20, 2011
    El Cerrito, CA
    Luthier, Ifshin Violins
    I once strung up a half-size bass with a 3/4 low B, a 3/4 low F# (solo 4th) a half d and a solo tuning half a-1 (all spirocore) and it sounded pretty damn good...