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Replace 3 or 4 higher strings on a Bass VI type instrument with guitar strings?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Temcat, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Is it possible to replace 3 or 4 higher strings on a Bass VI type instrument with guitar strings (possibly extra long scale) tuned as the normal guitar, i.e. EBG(D)? If yes, is it possible to intonate it?
  2. chilliwilli


    Aug 17, 2005
    It's possible, but don't know why you would bother.
    Sartori likes this.
  3. In one of my projects, I play split bass/rhythm parts on acoustic guitar. It would be interesting to try this style of playing with the bass part at a proper pitch.
  4. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    The top 4 strings of a Bass VI set are guitar strings, if a little big for your intended purpose (would be very tight if tuned up a major 2nd/minor 3rd); I wouldn't expect you to experience a major change in tone if you swapped them for guitar strings of thinner gauge in any case. Also, guitar strings, of some makes at least, should clear the nut and hopefully reach the farthest tuning posts, no need for extra-longs, assuming they exist at all.
    What I would try first is use the existing set, but with the D removed and the top three moved down one slot, with an added plain .016 G on top. The resulting high eadg, guitar section of this E1-A1-e2-a2-d3-g3 arrangement should feel guitar-like enough (tension like a medium electric set with a .049~.052 low E). Take it for a fair spin and then adjust to taste, going up or down in gauge.

    Now, you might prefer an EADead set as you suggested, and in this case (in line with my suggestion to start from the strings already on the instrument) you'd only have to tune the top three GBE strings of the original down to EAD; of course you'd have to mentally work around the major 2nd interval between the "bass" and the "guitar" halves.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2017
    Temcat likes this.
  5. Thank you for your input! Very detailed and insightful.
  6. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    My pleasure. Let us know how the experiment turns out. :)
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