Low C# or high Ab string for 11 string bass?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Dragzole, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Low C#

    7 vote(s)
  2. High Ab

    1 vote(s)
  1. I was wondering what your opinions would be as to what string would be more useful on an 11 string bass
    Low C# tuning-(C#-F#-B-E-A-D-G-C-F-Bb-Eb)
    High Ab tuning-(F#-B-E-A-D-G-C-F-Bb-Eb-Ab)

    Both tunings are in standard fourths, and start at C#0 and F#0

    I don't actually play 11 string bass, but I was curious to know because I like extended range stuff and hope to get a bass with a ton of strings sometime when I can afford it:bassist:
  2. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    Good luck tuning to Ab4, that's actually barely possible on a guitar scale ;)
    On 34", Eb4 is difficult enough and needs a .007 or .008, which will be fragile and prone to breakage. Go fanned C#0 - Eb4.
  3. thanks for the input dude, yeah and i would definitely go fanned either way
  4. I would go to C# as soon as I got to 7 strings but 11 strings makes me think you're probably planning to go solo.
    If you're doing solo pieces I would think some kind of "open tuning" or maybe even harp-guitar like tuning would work best but never see any of those ERB players doing this :confused:
  5. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I've thought the same thing. Tune it like a Stick or a Warr guitar.
  6. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    You're going to have to compromise either way. The low C# is outside of what is considered the "normal" human hearing range. So you would be "hearing" the partials and upper harmonics and your brain kind of fills in the blanks and thinks it hears the note. Not to mention amplification issues, as it's tricky finding something that really works for the low F#.

    On the flip side with the high Ab, you are looking at a string that's a major third higher than the top string on a guitar on a longer scale neck, even if it is fanned frets. The playability that string is going to be a nightmare, and guys that have those instruments frequently talk about the troubles of finding strings that you can tune to those notes let alone play without them breaking. If you go high Ab, then be prepared to have a bunch of extras in the case for when they constantly break.

    I agree with the idea of tuning it like one of the various tapping instruments like a Stick or a Warr, in which case I would just encourage you to go that route instead of trying to make a bass shaped compromise. I'm not saying don't go with a bass. I just think that if you're planning straight up 4ths the whole way you're looking at a bottom string and a top string you're not going to get a lot of mileage out of regardless, so maybe another tuning all together is a better plan?
  7. :rollno: every time :rollno:
  8. Thanks for the feedback guys, and as far as alternative tunings go, ive seen ERBs tuned with a major third thrown in, but standard from what ive read and watched seems to be the preferred tuning for ERBs regardless of the number of strings
  9. T2k5


    Feb 16, 2011
    Kerava, Finland
    It all depends on what you play on it, so it's hard to recommend anything. Personally, I would ditch the C#. My 8-string goes from F# to F and I rarely need the F with my band (using the F# quite a lot lately). However, I only went higher with my upcoming 10-string because I need it when I play alone. If you intend to play a lot of crisp-sounding rock/metal, going lower probably won't help you all too often in the mix.

    YMMV, order the bass and switch tunings, then settle on what you like. :p
  10. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    When in doubt, go lower.

  11. It's a bass. You have to go liw
  12. Just out of curiosity what price range you talking here and do you have a luthier in mind?
  13. I'm just talking theoretically, but a few luthiers that've caught my eye are of course conklin, and Stambaugh
  14. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    You'll have far more string choices going to C# - only one choice for the high string at Ab