Jump to content

Recommended Posts

I'm new to guitar building and for some reason I've set my mind on a wacky little project. It won't be the most useful instrument but I want it to be as interesting and unique as possible.

I want to build a single string, mega bass. I want to build it from scratch as much as I can. My plan so far is to use a .270 gauge string tuned as low as it'll go. Because there's only one string I want to make a custom pickup out of a speaker magnate to make a giant, two inch round, single pickup. On the finished build it'll be a polished metal disc under the string. It'll run direct to the jack.

For the body I want to do something a bit narrow with two contours on the bottom similar to a Maverick Dorado so it can be used in a standard sitting position and more upright sitting position. I'm not sure what wood to use. I might try to beautify a piece of good plywood and layer it.

The neck will also be narrow and I'm debating whether to go fretless or not. I'm also not sure if I'll have problems with the tension of such a heavy string.

I'm currently looking for interesting tuning machines. I basically want anything other than a standard bass tuner sticking off the side. Suggestions would be great here.

Basically the idea is, simple as possible and nothing standard, without it looking like a hunk of junk of course. I want it to be a show piece if I can manage it.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend wanted a washtub bass so he got a tub. But instead of using a broomstick he carved an upright bass neck for it. And believe it or not he can even slap it! You know instead of thump...thump...thump he can go rattlety-rattlety-rattlety like a snare drum!

There's a luthier building minimalistic instruments for kids to get a grasp on playing. The site is in Finnish only but the images speak for themselves: https://www.vekarasoittimet.fi/soittimet. FYI "vekara" = "kid".

Re the tuner, one option to get a unique one is to go classic and carve a conical one out of ebony or other very hard wood. That should allow you to make it your very own!

Link to post
Share on other sites

sounds interesting.  with a string that big I'm pretty sure a std tuner would work anyway... even a vintage tuner - the slot is only so wide.  probably would need to hold some serious tension... I think bizman's suggestion might be your only option other than perhaps using a clamp to lock the string down and a thumbscrew to make minor tension adjustments. 

here's a giant stringed bass called the 'octobass'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octobass#/media/File:Octobasse_Orchestre_Symphonique_de_Montréal_Eric_Chappell_1.jpg

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Bizman62 said:

Re the tuner, one option to get a unique one is to go classic and carve a conical one out of ebony or other very hard wood. That should allow you to make it your very own!

That might be a little above my pay grade and budget. Ebony is expensive and I don’t have a lathe to turn it. And those tuners cost hundreds of dollars to buy.

I was looking at double bass tuning machines. They’re a bit heavier duty than standard bass tuners but they look basically the same.

I was also looking at tuners for headless basses. I don’t know if one of those will work for such a heavy string and I don’t need it to act as a bridge (which the headless tuners do) but I like the idea on an in-line tuner. I’m considering ways to build my own but metal isn’t what I do and I’m not convinced I can make something up to my aesthetic standards. I’d hate to just stick a hardware store bolt on the the thing

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, mistermikev said:

sounds interesting.  with a string that big I'm pretty sure a std tuner would work anyway... even a vintage tuner - the slot is only so wide.  probably would need to hold some serious tension... I think bizman's suggestion might be your only option other than perhaps using a clamp to lock the string down and a thumbscrew to make minor tension adjustments. 

here's a giant stringed bass called the 'octobass'

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octobass#/media/File:Octobasse_Orchestre_Symphonique_de_Montréal_Eric_Chappell_1.jpg

 

The octobass is part of my inspiration for building this actually. That thing’s awesome lol

as far as the tuner goes, check my response to Bizman. The ebony tuners are just to expensive and I don’t even fully understand them. It’s just an ebony peg basically. How does it hold tension?

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Big_Bur said:

That might be a little above my pay grade and budget. Ebony is expensive and I don’t have a lathe to turn it. And those tuners cost hundreds of dollars to buy.

What, expensive??? I mean a stick with a spoon at one end, thick pen size. You can carve one using just a knife.

2 minutes ago, Big_Bur said:

It’s just an ebony peg basically. How does it hold tension?

Yes, exactly. A tuning peg. They use those for violins all the time. The idea is that both the peg and the hole are conical. Push it deeper and it holds faster. For a bass string that thick I believe a geared single tuner is better, though.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Bizman62 said:

For a bass string that thick I believe a geared single tuner is better, though.

 

Ok, if a geared tuner would be better would standard bass tuner be enough or would a double bass tuner be better? I like that double bass tuners have a hole instead of a slot. I don’t know why but that just seems like it would be better for such a heavy string. And what about headless tuners that are inline with the string?

Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, Big_Bur said:

The octobass is part of my inspiration for building this actually. That thing’s awesome lol

as far as the tuner goes, check my response to Bizman. The ebony tuners are just to expensive and I don’t even fully understand them. It’s just an ebony peg basically. How does it hold tension?

Right on... that thing is crazy.  bet it sounds insane. a lot like the 20+ft grand piano.  "the giant". 

I suppose a contra bass tuner w a gear probably would be a good thing, however on the octobass they clearly are using the classic style compression tuners.  I can't imagine what tuning that thing is like... those things must be pretty big and require a lot of tension... but then they seem to do it on a regular contra bass which has decidedly big strings.  I imagine you can buy a single tuner as folks must require replacements on their uprights all the time.   

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, mistermikev said:

I can't imagine what tuning that thing is like... those things must be pretty big and require a lot of tension...   

I actually wonder about this. Because the strings are tuned so low, I’m not sure the would actually be under that much tension. I’m wondering the same thing about mine.
 

If I where trying to tune that .270 to an E on a standard bass then yeah, the tension might be insane. But because I’m tuning so low (maybe G#0) I might not even need that heavy duty of a tuner

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, Big_Bur said:

I actually wonder about this. Because the strings are tuned so low, I’m not sure the would actually be under that much tension. I’m wondering the same thing about mine.
 

If I where trying to tune that .270 to an E on a standard bass then yeah, the tension might be insane. But because I’m tuning so low (maybe G#0) I might not even need that heavy duty of a tuner

undoubtedly the note you tune too would be clutch.  with a string that big... I suspect there is going to be a fair amount of tension required to be in the audible human range but yeah... s/b doable.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...