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Piccolo basses

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Sound Chaser, Jan 11, 2006.


  1. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    I know almost nothing about these instruments, and am having a difficult time finding anything out about them. I figured that since some of you play them, you could help me answer a few questions:

    I heard that you could string a normal bass piccolo, but that it required you use a different tuning to compensate for scale difference. How would one tune such an instrument?

    What are some manufacturers of piccolo basses?

    Could anyone point me to some recordings?

    Are there special strings for them, or do you just use g**tar strings?

    Thank you!
     
  2. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Here is a review of an Elrick piccolo bass that pretty accurately describes what they are, and the string gauges involved.
    http://www.elrick.com/picrev.html

    You can also use piccolo strings on a standard four-string; Michael Manring's Hyperbass has them IIRC, because lighter strings tend to deal with retuning easier than thicker bass strings. You can hear his Hyperbass on all of his albums, but he tunes it in all sorts of ways.

    Brian Bromberg also has a bass or two strung piccolo (a four-string), but I'm not sure which tracks to listen for to hear them. There must be some on his "Metal" album.
     
  3. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    Thank you.
     
  4. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    You can get piccolo gauged strings to string a normal bass up an octave. I had a four string Ibanez Soundgear that was EADG up the octave. Bassists were like "why don't you play a guitar" and guitarists were like "why don't you play a guitar?" so once you get past people's conception of what each instrument does, it's really a cool instrument and allows you to approach it in a radically different way.
     
  5. zombywoof5050

    zombywoof5050

    Dec 20, 2001
    There's a video (Hollywood Video near my house has it on VHS) of Miles Davis In Paris, featuring Joseph 'Foley' McCreary on his blue piccolo bass that was made for him by Albey (the guy that made the 'A' basses). The video also has Benny Reitveld on regular bass.
     
  6. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
    Where would you get them? Would you have to custom order them? I was thinking about buying a set for 8 string and just putting on the octave-up ones...how would that work?
     
  7. tplyons

    tplyons

    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    That MAY work.

    D'Addario makes a set I THINK, Labella does and I think Ken Smith Burners come in pic gauges too.
     
  8. AndreasH

    AndreasH

    Apr 8, 2005
    Sweden

    I ordered those kind of piccolo strings today! :hyper:
    I am really excited over it and I'm really looking forward to string my bass with 'em! :)

    Does anyone here have any epxerience of piccolo basses?
     
  9. keb

    keb

    Mar 30, 2004
    A while ago I tried out those D'Addario piccolo strings on my Rick, but I had to adjust the action too high for my tastes. I think the nut on that bass, as it is, just isn't suitable for piccolo strings. I would've tried 'em out on another bass but I didn't have any other 4-stringers around at the time. I've heard of other players putting piccolo stings on other basses with no major problems.
     
  10. I had piccolo strings on my modulus q4 for a long time. I played through a vox ac30 (guitar amp) and it sounded amazing. You are gonna have to change your nut though, the standard one probably won't work with the smaller strings.
     
  11. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    I bought a cheap Yamaha and strung it up as a piccolo. It was cool and sounded cool, but I dodn't have a use for it.
     
  12. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Stanley Clarke and Stuart Hamm are two very cool Piccolo bass users.

    I don't have one, so when I want to solo like I have a Piccolo, I use my brothers Digitech Whammy Pedal with the "one octave up" setting.
     
  13. amper

    amper

    Dec 4, 2002
    US
    I don't call my Corvette a "piccolo", I call it a "contralto". Right now, she's strung with the top four strings of a TI Jazz Flats 6-string set (ADGC), and tuned up to Bb-C, depending on my mood.

    I also have a custom gauged set of D'Addario Chromes guitar strings that I'm going to use to tune in fifths (like a cello, CGDA). I haven't put them on yet, because those TI's are expensive, and I haven't played them enough, yet. The Chromes are just long enough to use on my 30" scale Warwick.

    I don't play her enough because she fits in somewhere between bass and guitar, and my band is only a three-piece. I need to start a side project...
     
  14. well, a piccolo is EADG, just an octave higher. ADGC would be considered a tenor bass.
     
  15. Sound Chaser

    Sound Chaser

    Mar 19, 2005
    Lockport, NY
  16. amper

    amper

    Dec 4, 2002
    US
    Yes, and a "contralto" is a woman who sings in more or less "tenor" range. Since I tune my bass anywhere from a half-step to three half-steps above "tenor" range, I call it a "contralto"...:)

    Oh, and also because "cellobass" sounds silly, to me.
     
  17. Take any bass, put piccolo gauge strings and voila.. you have a piccolo bass. People usually tend to think that it's related to the scale length but it's not (correct me if I'm wrong). On the other hand most of the piccolo basses are offered in short scales.

    The piccolo thing is about tuning, EADG tuned one octave higher than the standard bass. So you are at the same pitch as the 4 lower strings of the 6 string electric twanger :D . Don't bother about the comments "why don't you play guitar", because even the notes have the same frequncies (Hz) as the guitar, the timber is different.

    You can order piccolo gauge bass strings from www.juststrings.com. I did it, they have quite a good selection, even piccolo gauge for acoustic bass guitars.
     
  18. AndreasH

    AndreasH

    Apr 8, 2005
    Sweden
    Haha, I try to cnovince some of my friends that it's not the same thing! :D Some of them understand some of them just goes: "Yeah I think you play guitar anyway" :spit: