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octave bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Oric, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. Oric


    Feb 19, 2008
    Georgetown, Kentucky
    So, ERBs (more than six strings) are too expensive, and I've never been fully satisfied with an octave down pedal.
    So I got a craazy idea. What if I got a regular four string bass, had a special nut made, and got F#,B,E,A strings, and tuned them down to EADG, making it an octave below standard bass?
    My main concern is neck stability, would a neck (possibly SX) be able to handle such strings? I imagine it would.
    What kind of pickups do you think would really make these strings sing? I don't want just a dull thud. I'm not too worried about the rig, I think mine will be just fine.

    edit: meant "tuned down", not "tuned up"
  2. J. Crawford

    J. Crawford Supporting Member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Wait. If the strings are tuned standard, whats different about this?

    Im lost.
  3. Oric


    Feb 19, 2008
    Georgetown, Kentucky
    they're low F#,B,E,A strings. They'll be tuned a step down, so they'll be EADG, but an octave lower than a standard bass.
  4. An octave down on a standard bass is below the left-hand end of a piano. I doubt you'd be able to reasonably reproduce a note that low with ANY amp/speaker system that would be even slightly portable, and even most studio desks would struggle to handle it. The Warwick Dark Lord has an F# string, and I believe that to be fairly difficult to reproduce, being that it's around or just above 20Hz...even a half-step lower is multiplying your reproduction problems a lot.
  5. Oric


    Feb 19, 2008
    Georgetown, Kentucky
    Seems that Jauqo III-X can play his subcontrabass with a C# string, lower than the Dark Lord F#, through regular old (well, they're nice, but not like anything specially made for these low notes) cabs. As far as I know, anyway.
    The Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano, a lot of organs, and a tuba (I've heard it done, in Kraft's Encounters II, sounds like aliens) can all play a C0, or frequency 16.35 Hz. This makes an E0 (or an F#0, if I have to) not seem so bad. I'm not interested in reproducing the fundamental as accurately as possible, it's the combination of overtones that make the note that people can hear. All I want is for it to sound like an electric bass, an octave down.
  6. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    Whatshisname, Skip? The owner/builder of the Knuckle Guitar Works Quake... he needs to show up in this thread and blow your mind!
  7. The octave downtune is something I am waiting to do... because i dont have the cash.
    Good luck to it.
  8. Jactap


    Aug 4, 2006
    Bremerton, Wa
    I say go for it :bassist:
  9. Oric


    Feb 19, 2008
    Georgetown, Kentucky
    oh, don't worry, if I knew what I was doing I'd be all over it. I'm just looking for any advice or warnings.
  10. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    There are a couple of places to go for strings that will do exactly what you're talking about - and is the way my 4 string is tuned at present.

    The Warwick Dark Lord set of strings has a .175 on bottom and will be a little loose, but will do it.

    Jauqo's C# string (available through Conklin and is a SIT .195) will work too. Jauqo's standard F# string is a .165 - I don't think it will detune to E well but I can't say for certain as I can't use SITs.

    I will have strings out in a couple of weeks that work wonderfully.

    A Jazz bass nut might be tight, most any other bass will handle it fine. There will be slightly less tension on your neck so the truss rod is up to it. You'll want a cab as close to 40 Hz response as you can find/afford. No other real caveats.

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