Hey folks. I'm just about finished with my next build, which is basically a 23" scale acoustic bass with weed whacker string. It started out to be a U-bass but the tuners and the strings proved to be more than I wanted to deal with.
So I'm testing out some weed whacker string and it's going great except for the E string. I tried using some .105 trimmer string and it was just so floppy at the E note I couldn't keep it on the nut or bridge...not to mention it had no sound. So my question is should I try a different gauge and if so higher or lower? Which one would allow more string tension and still maintain that low frequency?
Alternatively....should I just tune it up to an alternative tuning? The other strings won't go up an entire octave but can I go up like 2 steps with each string and it still play properly? I know nothing about basses, in case that wasn't entirely obvious.
Thanks for any input
That short 23" scale is gonna be tough to get down to standard bass frequencies. Even on my 39" scale bass I ended up using plastic coated wire clothesline from WalMart to get decent tension on the low E. I think your idea of going up to a higher pitch bass may be the best way to go. Not a whole octave for sure but maybe bring that low E string up to a G and if that's not enough tension try A. Then you'd have A,D G, C as the 4 strings and still have a pretty bassy sound.
That's what I'm thinking too Jim. I may have to tune it up a few steps.
I tried to build a Ubass also. 21.5" scale. I used .095 for the E string without any trouble (I guess it's an octave higher than a real bass, but it worked). Trouble was that I couldn't get the high G string up to that note, even with smaller trimmer cord.
Ended up just building a ~34" scale bass canjo. Repurposing the Ubass build into a long-scale baritone uke.