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Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by psi, Jun 22, 2005.
Do any bass manufacturers sell piccolo basses or are they for the most part custom made?
A "piccollo bass" is simply a regular bass guitar strung with strings tuned an octave up. No need to engage a custom builder.
That said, there are some short scale instruments that are designed specifically for piccollo tuning - I know Alembic and Elrick make them, for example. I haven't seen a production piccollo bass.
I own a custom piccolo bass made by a local guy. I've gotten little jabs of the sort "why didn't you just get a guitar?" or similar. The point of a piccolo bass is the feel of the bass. With this being said, when I went off to college I didn't want to have to worry about my custom instrument being stolen, so I looked for a cheap production thing that can do the job.
One of the options, which I did before I got my custom piccolo bass, was re-string a normal bass with piccolo strings. I can't remember the gauges, but I just found a pack of strings on the wall of a store labeled "piccolo bass strings." I don't remember the maker, so sorry. You have to either cut a new nut or make the slots in the nut smaller so that the strings don't move around as much.
This was alright. Its my opinion that 34" scale is not a good scale length for a piccolo bass. Sounded too thin to me. Perhaps a short scale bass converted would work better. I wanted a 5 string piccolo bass so I was out of luck in this regard.
The second option I discovered was possibly a baritone guitar. I thought that a baritone guitar might be able to serve for my piccolo bass. The closest I found was the Fender Bass VI. This thing is tuned EADGBE, so the E is the same as a bass's low E. The result is big strings on a 28" neck (not really a bad scale length, Charlie Hunters 8 strings E string is on a 28 scale). People have complained that its a guitar with huge strings, but this set up made me feel at home for some reason. I played the Gibson Les Paul Baritone among others, but the Fender felt more like a bass than that. Although be aware that finger style will have to be adapted to the Fender Bass VI, I'm able to do it without that much trouble. Definitely play one before making such a choice.
Basically there is no easy solution for the piccolo bass. The easiest is restringing. I'd offer the gauges for my piccolo bass, but its a 30" 5 string little freak of nature, so I don't think that the gauges would really reflect a normal 34" bass. Heres a link to some piccolo bass strings: http://www.juststrings.com/dad-exl280.html
Yeah, I'm thinking about putting piccolo strings on my 30.5" Kramer Duke bass. Lighter gauge strings means lower potential action too right?