Mandolin player wants to play bass

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Huda, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. Huda


    Dec 15, 2007
    Hi all,

    I play mandolin and bouzouki. However, my band needs a bassist, and I want to hold down the low end. Can you give me some advice?

    I am looking for a bass that meets the following criteria:

    ~ Short scale length - no longer than 23"
    ~ Tuned in fifths - GDAE or CGDA (from the bottom)
    ~ Less than $300

    Is there such a bass?

    I have heard mixed reviews about the Ashbory bass. I know that it has a short scale, but (1) I don't know if you can tune it in fifths, and (2) alot of people say that it is an accessory at best.

    I have also thought about playing my mandolin through an octave pedal so that it will sound (sort of) like a bass. Is this a workable idea?

    The other alternative that I know of is to buy a regular bass and tune it (from the bottom) CGDA. How does that work? What string gauges do you use? Has anyone had success with this?

    Are there any other options that I am missing?

    What do you guys think? Any ideas?
  2. djsteiner

    djsteiner Guest

    Dec 15, 2007
    you can tune any bass in fifths, the tension might be a little high, it should be fine. however, 23" scale is just not going to happen. it just isnt long enough to allow the strings to vibrate slow enough at any reasonable tension.
  3. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    23" is a guitar scale not bass. Why not just play a regular BG and do it right. Chris Hillman of the Byrds was a mandolin player before playing bass with the Byrds and later played mandolin in other groups. That would be your best bet for the money your are talking about. The other option but doubt you will find one in that price range is an instrument call a Mandocello. It is is like a large guitar sized mandolin, but still four cords of strings. I've seen some electric mandocellos also.

    Just by a short scale (30") electric bass and all will be good.
  4. Huda


    Dec 15, 2007
    Hi all,

    Thanks for all of your responses.

    If I buy a 30" short scale bass, I would like to tune it CGDA(from the bottom).

    What kind of strings do I need to buy? What are the appropriate tensions?

  5. Kuplungmaster

    Kuplungmaster Guest

    Dec 14, 2007
  6. Marcury

    Marcury High and Low

    Aug 19, 2007
    Mid Hudson Valley, NY
    I would steer clear of the Ashborys. They are a one trick pony. I was interested in them a few years ago, but when I finally played one I couldn't get used to the rubber (silicone) strings and the sound didn't do much for me. if you are looking for a sweet short scale fretless (which the Ashbory is), Check out the Rob Allen Mouse 30. They're pricey, but IMO and that of others well worth it.

    As faras as tuning CGDA, it's not uncommon, but I have no experience with it. I suggest you post another thread with a subject about cello tuning and you should get some useful responses.
  7. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Yeah a mandobass or mandocello would fit better.
  8. FuryZ

    FuryZ Guest

    Nov 22, 2007
    What if you tuned a B string to C, an E string to G, used a regular D string, and tuned G to A. Or just learned Bass guitar.
  9. lemur821

    lemur821 Guest

    May 4, 2004
    St. Louis, MO, U.S.
    You could always just play a bass in the regular tuning. CGDA is workable, but playing while tuned in fifths is a lot easier on a tiny little mandolin than on a bass. It would be easier to learn a new tuning than to run around the neck all the time.