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piccolo question

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by arose11, Mar 5, 2003.


  1. arose11

    arose11

    Sep 30, 2002
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Hey Michael, I have been playing the bass for about 3 years and am going to try something new. I am interested in piccolo strings, what are your views on them, and what is the tension of the strings, how long do they last, can it fit a normal 34 scale bass? I tried asking in the strings site and not much knowledge was gained.

    Thanks,
    Andrew
     
  2. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Hi Andrew,

    I use D'Addario piccolo strings on some of my instruments and they work wonderfully. The set I use, XL 280, is designed for 34" scale. I originally tried a set on a Musicman bass of mine in the early eighties because I was interested in experimenting with altered tunings other than what I could get out of my regular strings. I had so much fun I've been using them ever since. I use many different tunings, so the tension varies, but don't be afraid to just put them on a bass and see what happens. If you end up liking them and want to keep the bass set up that way, you may want to adjust your truss rod and perhaps even replace the nut and bridge saddle pieces, but that's generally not a big deal. I find that piccolo strings last a little longer than regular gauge bass strings, but I'm not sure why. I change them about half as often as I change the strings on my basses that are set-up for conventional gauges.
     
  3. arose11

    arose11

    Sep 30, 2002
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Thanks! Thats excatly the answer I wanted!
    Rock on,
    Andrew
     
  4. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Hey, I've been seriously considering trying this as well....and you answered arose11's question near perfectly(for me) the only issue I have is if there is any risk of causing damage to the neck? I would assume not because the light gauge wouldn't be straining the neck much at all...but I don't know a lot about necks.

    Michael, let me say, I'm starting to get into the world of altered tunings and I am having sooooooo much fun, and I owe it all to you, because you gave me the ideas.
    I am seriously considering getting a modulus or zon with a graphite neck, cause I want to explore altered tunings to the fullest extent without damaging my bass.
    My two favorites right now are
    D#-A-D-G#
    E-A-E-B

    I have already broken an A and a G string trying to tune too high.. :) but its all good, I'm learning.

    I was thinking that I want to make myself a piccolo bass, a tenor bass and a contra bass :) tuning E-A-D-G an octave lower :D but we'll see.
     
  5. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    I'm glad to hear you're having fun with altered tunings! I definitely encourage you to continue experimenting. An instrument with a graphite neck is probably the safest bet, but there's certainly a lot you can do with wood neck instruments. You might want to ask on the luthiers' forum to be certain, but to my knowledge, basses aren't usually made with specific string tensions in mind, so you are probably safe within reasonable limits. I have used altered tunings on wood neck bass for years and had no problems, but keep in mind that unfortunately, it's not unusual for bass necks to go bad even if you never change the tuning!