How high can I tune at 34”?

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by Hollowway, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    I’m pretty well versed in guitar tuning (i.e. I know that 30” at E is safe. G is dicey). But how high can you dependably tune at 34”? Is E even possible? Or maybe D? Anyone have any experience?
     
  2. ImBCRichBitch

    ImBCRichBitch SS.org Regular

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    Wait, Do you mean tuning a guitar tuning on the scale or bass tuning? Dumb question, but im legitamitely curious. Youre mr erg himself and just as much of a madman as pondman lol if its picolo, then e is possible in the guitar range. But with bass strings in guitar tuning would be really high tension id think
     
  3. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    well a standard 6 string bass on the highest string is C, so you could do D or even E pretty easy with a standard set. E might be pretty tight tho.

    Other than that I think it all would be a matter of custom string gauges
     
  4. AlexThorpe

    AlexThorpe SS.org Regular

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    I tune my 10 (34") to Eb with a .009" with a top loading bridge. I tried using a .010" string but it was unreliable, the .009 has been rock solid so far. I tried a .008 on it but it seemed a bit too thin and twangy sounding. You miiiiiight be able to to pull off an E with the .008 but I can't say I've tried that.

    Just checked, I can do half-step bends with my .009 and its fine. Not sure about tuning up though, kind of scared to try it haha.
     
  5. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Based on my 9 string with 24.75 at G#, that translates to E4 at 31 and D4 at 34.5
    I know people push a semitone higher but I wouldn't.
    So a nice safe D4 at 34 can bend a semitone perfectly safely in my experience

    You can also reach F3 with a wound string should it be of interest. 7 string bassists often seek this. But its tricky, like a long scale wound 3rd on guitar. I preferred to tune my 7 string 34 bass down a step with a wound Eb.
     
  6. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    I think with regular strings, E4 would be a push, but should be possible. It's exactly the same tension as A4 at 25.5", if that helps.

    The kind of real-world trouble, though, is that the longer the string is, the higher the chance of finding a weak spot. I've been doing A4 for years now, with what I consider decent luck, at 25.5". To be fair, I don't bend my highest string that much. I've done F#4 at 30", too, but I snapped quite a few of those, until I opted to go down to F4, but it was cheaper hardware, which, I think, has a lot to do with it...

    If you're doing a lot of bends, I would expect string longevity to be a serious issue, but if not, I think it's worth a try. I mean, .009"s are cheap, and it's theoretically possible... only way to know in practice, is, well, to try.
     
  7. ThePhilosopher

    ThePhilosopher Reason User Contributor

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    I have a custom set from Kalium and I tune CGDAE on my 34" 5 string without a problem (the C is a semi-tone higher than standard B).
     
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  8. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Octave higher :) You have the range of a 7 string bass which is awesome but this thread is taking about super long scale guitar / very extended treble range bass
     
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  9. ThePhilosopher

    ThePhilosopher Reason User Contributor

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    My E is the same octave as a low E on a standard 6 string guitar; an octave higher than that is nuts.
     
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  10. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Indeed! The replies above are talking about high E the same as a guitar. This is juuust about possible, it translates similarly to how high A4 is just about possible on standard guitar, the scale lengths work out about the same with the 5th fret of a bass being near guitar length. D4 is very easily achievable much like G/G# on guitar

    Your E is higher than that by the way, it's just below 3rd string G of guitar :) Your middle string is guitar drop D
     
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  11. ThePhilosopher

    ThePhilosopher Reason User Contributor

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    It's hard for me to keep track of standard tuning; I play in fifths and open tunings so often that I've lost track of my octave numbers. :lol:
     
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  12. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Haha :D
    Hollowway, are you wanting to do a standard tuned ERG with high E at 34?
    I'm personally thinking that 34-32 would be a good idea for that.
    With a 34 guitar I'd be tuning BEADGCFAD. It would be much like a 30" standard tuned 9.
     
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  13. AlexThorpe

    AlexThorpe SS.org Regular

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    I'd be really interested to see what he does as well! I posted this in my nbd thread for my 10 string, but here's how I use the higher range (pretty much like every other ERB who should've played keyboard instead)

     
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  14. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Yes 34" is 25.5" plus 5 frets, so E4 on 34" is equivalent to A4 on 25.5", difficult.
    The TouchGuitars U8 comes with D4 on top, D4 is doable reliably with normal plain steel strings.
    Eb4 is beginning to get tricky, E4 even more so.
    I don't like to have a high tension so i used .007s for Eb4, the Conklin ERB .007 string lasted a month, then i tried an Octave4Plus .007 that lasted much longer.
    Generally i consider the reliable maximum with 'normal' plan steels D4. Maybe try D'Addario NYXLs to go higher, the are apparently stronger.
    Gauges .007 to .009 seem optimum.
     
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  15. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Yeah, ERGs and ERBs are basically the same instrument when you get over 9 strings. Tuning up high is the same, as there is no bass/guitar tension differences.

    I'm asking, because I'm still trying to determine what scale would be best to make an instrument with a huge number of strings. I was watching Scott Fernandez's video demo about his 12 string (Sophia), and he said he was at G# on 35", which blew me away. He said he broke it 3x per week, and he was using a .006". And then Prometeus had a .007" at 34" that he said sounded thin and quiet. I have little tolerance for trying to get to A4 at 27", as even with a top loading saddle I cannot get those SOBs to tune up and last. So I want a realistic idea.

    I know of someone selling a 34" 12 string, so I'm trying to figure out what the hell realistic tuning you could even get on it. Even if you did multiple low strings, it would have to be G#00, C#0, F#, B, E, A, D, G, C, F, Bb, Eb. And I can't imagine G#00 at 34" is going to be remotely useful. Skip said that even at 40", G#00 with a fat ass Kalium was barely useable. So I think a 12 string straight fretted instrument is really unusable at the extremes. Fan it to 40", or down to below 30, and maybe you'd have something. But I'm not interested in doing anything less than 4ths, for intervals, or repeating pitches for tapping purposes.
     
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  16. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Yeah man I have more tolerance for straight frets on bass than guitar but I dont know how these huge ERB guys do it, especially given lots of them are using 34. I'm only just happy with my 36 and 37 E0s.
    I was going to suggest a 3rds tuning until your last sentence haha. I really love the voices it provides, and certainly would make stretches less of an issue on a long scale.
    But yeah, I don't know... a 34 10 string from F0#-D4 would be neat but that's as far as I'd go without a fan, and I'd much prefer 37-34. I still haven't gone below E0. I think for a moderate fan and reasonable length 37-34 would be quite versatile for a first try
     
  17. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    There seem to be quite a few players using non-specialist (non-Octave4Plus) plains at Eb4 on 34", so i would see that as the practical limit. Yves Carbonne tunes B00 E A D G C F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb on 34" (a tone below standard ERB tuning) but uses an Octave4Plus .006 and those are expensive and tricky to set up.
    Personally i would be happy to have a 12 and leave the lowest string off if i don't have a use for it at the time, seeing as in future i may want to experiment or may find a way to use all 12.
     
  18. Hollowway

    Hollowway Extended Ranger

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    Welp, it's a wash. I decided not to get it. GC was selling a 12 - a beautiful Brubaker with teal and natural fretboard and body - for $2500. It was quite gaudy, and I just couldn't figure out a tuning to make it useful, so I passed. Interestingly, another guy bought it, and promptly listed it online for $5000. He fancies himself a middleman to make a tidy profit. Hopefully he does, because that instrument has made its rounds already. (Though, generally I don't like the idea of people being opportunists for instruments, given that musicians aren't generally wealthy.) There's just not as much use for a straight fretted 12 string, I guess.
     
  19. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Brubaker has made a beatiful sequence of 9, 10, 11 and 12 string ERBs, maybe you meant this one? I love the relative smallness of the body, but that strap button should be on the back and the lower horn probably needs to be longer to make it balance on your leg.

    ompnwdbzts5d4vhsdglg.jpg
     

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