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John Turner...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Brendan, Sep 24, 2000.

  1. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    What is the scale on the 8 (sorry, Father John, the 7+1) string you own? 38'? 40'? I'm wondering about that, because with that tkick a string your scale would have to be pretty long to keep the F# (F-sharp, the thickest string If i recall correctly) from playing like a slug...
  2. I'm not John, but on his page it says that the 8 string is a 35". His 7 string with a low F# is actually 34". John says that the scale length doesn't make any difference between his two F#'s.
  3. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    yeah, what he said. :D

    one thing to remember is that one has to play every string differently. this isn't as much of a factor on a regular 4, where the sizes of the smallest string and the biggest string are only different by a factor of about 2.5 (~.040" to ~.100") but when you play extended range instruments, you have to play to each string, in my experience. on my 8 strings, for instance, the smallest is a .027" and the largest string is a .150". that's over 5 times the difference in size, and when i pluck, i have to compensate for that on each string or else it sounds like caca.

    so how this applies is that the low F# needs to be played with a somewhat different (lighter, generally) touch, to help balance dynamics and tone. this also helps compensate for the somewhat lighter tension on the low F# than on the other strings, due to the size of the string.

    GRIPE = ON:

    if i had my druthers, i would use a bigger string than a .150", but i don't know of a reliable source for them. longer than 35" scale is not really an option for me - my hands are small, believe it or not, and i don't enjoy playing anything over a 35", and none of the 36" scale instruments that i've played seemed to do that anything better than my 34" conklins, just less comfortably. anything larger would be useless for me, in fact my 35" scale 8 string is about the limit to what i could visualize me ever playing - i still have trouble with it sometimes.


    with good electronics and good pickups, thicker strings shouldn't sacrifice tone for tightness. now i just need to find somebody who will make a string thicker than a .150" and won't charge an arm and a leg for it. until then, though i will be reasonably satisfied with the .150" low F#. another problem with the thicker strings is that the more # of windings, the shorter the strings last before they go dead. the low F#'s i use now last about 75% as long as the rest of my strings. i don't see any way around this - the greater # of windings are just going to decrease the amount of time needed for one of them to start loosening up, causing the string to go dead.

    it's a whole new world down there in F#-land. if you want to play down in the sub-basement :D one must rethink ones rig and ones playing from the ground up, so to speak. for instance, most bass rigs can't cut it down to the low F#. the only things i've played that could were bag end + elf processor rigs (very expensive combo), or else pa subs, like i use. all the major bass manufacturers stuff is focused around higher freqs than the fundamental of the low F#, and it sounds it - below b even the big bertha starts to loose it.

    another thing is that the low F# must be mutted ALWAYS. any ringing at all is picked up - the string is MASSIVE and any sympathetic ringing on that string will be much more noticeable than a little vibration on the E string, for instance. otherwise everything sounds very muddy.

    gotta use taper strings - intonating a non-tapered .150" would be a nightmare, not to mention the break angle at the bridge with all those windings would just beg for the string to start seperating and then go dead, that much quicker.

    as for tuning, the way it is, most tuners flake out that low - i use the korg dtr-1, and it does ok, although it doesn't pick it up as well as it does the b.

    a high point to stringing a bass with a low F# is that the low B is all that much more thunderous. all of a sudden the low B sees about 2x the neck cross-section that it used to see as the first string (under the low b, the neck is thicker when it is the 2nd string as opposed to the very first). this increases the mass and rigidity the low B is playing against, which will improve the tone.

    just a few ramblings on the low F# and such... :D

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