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Subcontrabassists: What do you think of this idea? 16 string, 4 course bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by embellisher, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I have been thinking of a concept for a new bass, a 16 string. 4 courses, 4 strings each.

    It would be like a 12 string, but taken a step further.

    The tuning would be DGCF.

    Each course would have the normal drop tuned fundamental strings, a pair of octave strings, and an additional subfundamental string.

    So, the dDdd course would have a subfundamental string tuned a half step above the low C# string on Jauqo's subcontra 4 string(I know other of you guys are using a low C# too;)).

    The other courses would follow suit.

    Jauqo, I am especially interested in your input, since you are using the low C# a lot, and since you play 12 and 15 string.

    Would this sound good, or would it be sonic mush?

    Who could I approach to have this built, and keep the price affordable? No fancy woods, but I wouldn't skimp on electronics.

    Would this thing even be playable?

    Am I crazy for thinking of this?:D

  2. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    Yuck, fretting four strings at once? (with each finger)


    Jun 1, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    indeed, that'd prolly be painful and the strings would be so large (the subcontra and normals at least) that it would seem kinda odd to think about how this would be done.

    interesting idea though...

    ...waits on Jauqos take on it...

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.
    I support your Idea/Concept all the way.it can surely be done but there will be one Major hurdel and that would be your Octave F strings.other than that you are on your way,with the tuning you mentioned it will not be muddy at all just make sure you use woods that will give you nice clean even mids and highs.if there is anything I can help you with feel free to let me know.
  5. Selta


    Feb 6, 2002
    Pacific Northwet
    Total fanboi of: Fractal Audio, AudiKinesis Cabs, Dingwall basses
    Dang dude! I always thinks it's cool to rip a fat low B now and then...and you guys gotta be nearing hearing threashold! congrats :)

  6. they are below the hearing threshhold dude!
    like 17hz or something!!!
  7. geshel


    Oct 2, 2001
    If it's DGCF, then the "normal" F on the top set of strings is the F below the regular G on a 4-string bass -- so the octave strings would be the same as the top string on a 7 tuned BEADGCF, right?
  8. frigo

    frigo burn in hell!

    Dec 8, 2003
    Stop Mind-masturbating and go play!!!!
  9. frigo

    frigo burn in hell!

    Dec 8, 2003
    jjk... ;)
  10. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Exactly. My normal twelve tuning is DGCF. I just use the stock Hamer 12 string set and the high G octave strings work great for that tuning.

    Thanks for the input, everybody.:)

    Jauqo, how much do C# and F# strings cost for those of us mere mortals without an endorsement? That's what I was planning to use for the D00 and G00 strings.

    I guess the bridge would have to either be a custom milled piece, or 16 of those individual bridges. Although those are probably too large to fit 16 in the amount of space I would have to work with.
  11. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Why not? I already fret 3 at once.
  12. The Hammer

    The Hammer

    Jul 13, 2004
    IIRC didn't Allen Woody have a bass with a Modulus neck like this and doesn't Warrior make a 16 string bass?
  13. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    I imagine the sub low D string would have a pretty wide excursion from centerline, and that combined with the excursion of the regular low D will determine how close you can put the sub string from the reg. string without them rattling against each other. So I'd ask the guys with the low C#s what their experiences are. And after that, I'd make a mock neck, just a two nuts on each end of a stick, set at the scale length you intend to use, with four tuners at one end and four anchors of some sort at the other. Then buy a set of the DDdd strings.You could then try out different spacings by swapping out different nuts. And be sure to play it in a playing position, not just flat on a tabletop. Otherwise you could end up with an expensive but unusable instrument.
  14. pilotjones

    pilotjones Supporting Member

    Nov 8, 2001
    The big Warrior I'm familiar with is a 15 string tripled 5. Might be Jaquo's.
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Allen Woody had an 18 string.
    Warrior made a few 15 strings, their first was made for Talkbass member Jauqo.

    Both of those basses had three courses. A fundamental string, and two octave strings.

    This would have 4 courses.

    A subfundamental, a fundamental, and two octave strings.

    A normal twelve is tuned E0e1e1 A1a2a2 D1d2d2 G1g2g2.

    If this bass were tuned like a normal twelve, it would be e00E0e1e1 a0A1a2a2 d0D1d2d2 g0G1g2g2.

    A normal fifteen is tuned B0b1b1 E0e1e1 A1a2a2 D1d2d2 G1g2g2, for reference.
  16. Ryan L.

    Ryan L. Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2000
    West Fargo, ND
    Very interesting idea, Jeff. Nothing I would ever want or need, heck, I can confuse myself enough with 6 strings. :p :)
  17. LajoieT

    LajoieT I won't let your shadow be my shade...

    Oct 7, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    There's only one choice for a truely unique challenge like that :D :

    Drop Steve a note or call: wishbass@bellsouth.net 336-661-9060 :eek:

    J/K of course, I've barely been able to get a handle on an double course, so I have about as much to say on Tripples and now Quad Courses as a monkey has to say about Quantum String Theory. But I'd love to hear clips and see pics!!!

    JAUQO III-X Banned

    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    Jeff the very first 15 string Bass(it's fretless) that was made was made by Warrior for me.I like you had an Idea/Concept for the 15 string and Warrior was open minded enough to make it for me.
    I tune mine E to High C.

    For those who may be interested in more info on the 15 string bass
  19. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    Excellent notion!

    I think the hardest part is going to be figuring out a bridge assembly that will allow you to set intonation and action per string and still keep the close proximity you'll want.
  20. Tiny Tim

    Tiny Tim

    Jul 8, 2002
    Salem, Oregon
    Very cool idea! But maybe just three courses, sub, fundamental and octave might be easier for spacing and such. I say go for it! Ideas that expand bass design are so cool in my mind. One of the ERB guys is going to be working with SIT to have a string custom shop some time soon maybe he could help with strings :D Tim