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Piccolo Strings

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by bassjigga, Aug 22, 2005.


  1. bassjigga

    bassjigga

    Aug 6, 2003
    Sorry if this one has been done before. I searched and couldn't really find the answer to my question.

    This is a question for anyone who might know the answer, but since I know Michael regularly plays with piccolo strings, I put it here.

    I'd like to experiment with some piccolo strings and don't have a bass that is really designated for such use. Is there any issue with the nut when it is slotted for regular gauge strings? Obviously it will require some bridge adjustment - that's no problem. Just wasn't sure if the nut would be an issue.
     
  2. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    Depends on how deep your slots are. I've restrung with piccolo strings before with no problems, but if your slots are pretty deep, it could be. Try it out; the worst that could happen is you're out the cost of a set of strings.

    (Didn't mean to step on any toes here, just thought I'd try to help out...)
     
  3. what set do you use?? i just ordered myself the d'addarios with the .052 e
     
  4. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    Well, I have a custom neck right now for my piccolo. As I recall, when I restrung my regular bass, I was doing something like .015P/.020/.030/.045/.060. On my current piccolo I'm using a lighter gauge, but it's also a 31" scale neck.
     
  5. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    While I think it probably is a good idea to have a nut slotted specifically for the string gauges you use, I regularly switch between piccolo and standard strings on several of my bases and have never really noticed a problem.
     
  6. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    I retrofitted an old Ibanez Roadstar II with the GHS piccolo set and found no problems. Just needed a neck adjustment and intonation setup and away I went. No new nut needed. Though these days, I'm starting to wonder about short scale for piccolo. . . .
     
  7. A little off topic, but not really...

    WHERE does one buy piccolo strings? I have yet to see them sold in regular stores. Would I have to order them online? If so, any recommendations?
     
  8. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    If you're in the US, then Bass Central in Florida. I bought them by the 3 or 5 to get their discount and had them shipped. Any GHS dealer will sell you the piccolo set, though. Now that I'm in Canada, I just buy local.

    --JES
     
  9. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    I'm using the Zon piccolo 4 string set that runs 0.050 to 0.018 and I didn't touch a thing with the nut. The bass is a J w/ Moses fretless neck. It sounds and plays great.

    If the bass is going to be permanently strung with piccolo strings then it makes sense to have the nut slotted for the actual strings. Also, you could always have a separate nut for each type of string.
     
  10. Bassosaurus

    Bassosaurus

    Aug 27, 2005


    Hey a zero fret would be great for this sort of thing - not many basses come w/ one though.
     
  11. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    I should mention that my Moses J was set up for use with TI Jazz Rounds, so the nut slots were a little smaller than "normal" to begin with. But still, if the nut was done right to begin with I think that you shouldn't have a problem. I'd take a close look at the way the string lays in the slot because a bad job on the nut can mean that sthe piccolo strings will show up problems like a hump in the slot bottom.
     
  12. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    The nut issue is only going to become a real problem if the break angle over the nut is insufficient to hold the strings in place. If the headstock is angled back, or you have a string tree in place, I can't see it being a problem.

    cheers

    steve
    www.stevelawson.net
     
  13. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    As long as we're on this topic -- the thing that's always annoyed me about the GHS piccolo set is that the G string is so much twangier than the others. Probably because it's bare steel and the others are nickel wrapped. Are there other brands of piccolo strings where the G string isn't significantly twangier than the other strings?

    --JES
     
  14. Bassist4Life

    Bassist4Life

    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY
    I just got my D'Addario EXL208's in the mail today. I put them on and I love them.

    All I had to do was take off the old bass strings, put the piccolo strings on, and then lower the action a little bit. I tuned them DGCF because I felt nervous tuning all the way up to EADG. The last thing I wanted to do was snap a string right out of the package. :scowl:

    Anyhow, here's my question:
    How are these strings different than guitar strings??? :confused:

    It seems as if I could use guitar strings and save a lot of money. Would guitar strings be long enough?

    Thanks,
    Joe
     
  15. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Therein lies the problem - you'd have to shop around to find guitar strings that had enough spare length after the nut of a guitar to stretch that far. If you can find a brand, then you're onto a winner.

    My first bass was a short scale SG copy. When I bought a full size bass, I had guitar strings on it for a while, which was a lot of fun. Wish I'd never sold it...

    Steve
    www.stevelawson.net
    www.recyclecollective.com
     
  16. amper

    amper

    Dec 4, 2002
    US
    Just thought I'd chime in here on the guitar strings issue...

    For my custom short scale Warwick, I've put together a set of D'Addario Chromes guitar strings using custom gauges from JustStrings.com. The Chromes are long enough to wind on the pegs of the Warwick with room to spare. I forget what the gauges are exactly right now, but I put the set together for fifths tuning, and the lightest gauge is whatever is the lightest wound gauge available in Chromes, an .020 or so. The heaviest string is the heaviest Chromes available, .065.

    I'll have to go look at the packages, but I think it was .065/.045/.030/.020 ? I'm tuning them CGDA, like a cello. The tuning you see below in my .sig (fourths) I do with either TI Jazz Flats or Rotosound Jazz Bass flats. I buy either singles or six-string sets and only use the top four strings.
     
  17. JNowiski

    JNowiski

    Jan 16, 2006
    Fayetteville/NC
    I just recently put some GHS piccolo strings on my Mexican Stu Hamm Urge, I had to do a little tweaking, but not much, and before I tweaked it the only thing I noticed was a slight buzz when playing the first through third frest on the lowest two strings.
     
  18. amper

    amper

    Dec 4, 2002
    US
    Just thought I'd let anyone interested know that I finaly got around to putting those Chromes on my Warwick. Apparently the .020 is just not strong enough to hold that high A at a 30" scale. I broke the only two strings I had at about G#. The second one felt like it would hold a G ok, but then it felt just a little floppy on the other three strings.

    Back to the drawing board...if my Warwick was a 28" scale, I think it would hold fine--but Warwick doesn't make a 28" scale, so I suppose I'll have to experiment with a modified bartone guitar. That .020 Chrome is the lightest flat wound string I've ever seen.