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  #21  
Old 06-27-2007, 01:25 PM
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Default More than 6

I know this verges on insanity, but a French luthier has made one with 7, and the player does use a bow. His primary work is improvisational jazz. I have one of his older recordings using a 5-string, but this is the instrument he's playing now:

and here is a photo of the outline (different instrument, same maker, Antoine Leducq) compared to a gamba:


It reminds me of Savart a bit. At the risk of this becoming the quest for "one that goes to eleven" I'll stop with the lucky number. It's a bit over the top, but you have to wonder if one plays all double stops on these things with so many strings.
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  #22  
Old 06-27-2007, 01:35 PM
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Cool 7s...

Cool stuff. When they start writing for the 7 string in Orchestra, that's the day I retire for good..lol
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  #23  
Old 06-27-2007, 02:02 PM
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Default time traveling

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Originally Posted by Ken Smith View Post
Cool stuff. When they start writing for the 7 string in Orchestra, that's the day I retire for good..lol
Doubtful that will happen in our lifetimes, so play it to the end of the piece!

But going back to the Bach Brandenburgs: I think there are some with only a continuo score, and I'm guessing that those or even the ones with the DB score might have been scored for G violones with 5 or 6 strings. It's hard to tell because the coninuo was sometimes done on a harpsichord or whatever was available. There is of course still the question of which octave was intended, but I haven't found much on that. And that is not as significant an issue as that those parts were probably scored for an instrument that through crossings could play the octave passages more easily. Apparently violones could be tuned several ways, but all fourths wouldn't be too different from the more standard 3 fourths, a major third, and then two fourths. Just a crazy theory. What is a good source for scores of the Bach pieces? I'd love to give those a look. [EDIT: Never mind, I found them. Public domain. Love the Internet!]

Last edited by David Powell; 06-27-2007 at 10:19 PM. Reason: omission
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  #24  
Old 06-28-2007, 10:16 AM
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Default Which violone? Which octave?

OK, I finally have satisfied myself on this question, while I'm sure it will remain one of scholarly debate for some. After all, one must write a thesis on something to get a PhD! Malcolm Boyd's book on the Brandenburg concertos suggests that a violone grosso was required, probably one with only 4 (?) strings that had the lowest string tuned to C', but that different instruments were used depending on which Concerto it was. In fact 3 different instruments are referenced. The scores I was able to find online (William Rust) suggest that there were violone grosso, violone, violone de ripieno (that distinction evades me as it seems to be contextual). Certainly these distinctions had some specific meaning in Bach's day. Boyd's book is copyrighted material, but if the link works it takes you to the specific page that talks about this. He also clears up the question of which octave the score refers to. But in the end the part is more important than which instrument we play it on. We don't have 3 to choose from today unless we collect rare and expensive reproductions. In fact what can't be done on either a 5 string or a 4 with C extension can likely be played on a cello.

Planyavsky and Borgir would seem to support that the instruments in use in Germany in Bach's time were indeed tuned in 4ths across all strings like our modern 5 string bass, but were tuned to different notes. An instrument like that 6 string Pöllmann would probably cover all of the Brandernburgs with ease, (except for the pesky unintended double stops). A 5-er would be the next best thing but require more shifting. A C extension? Bach would think that was a curious thing, I think, but it might work in a pinch for one of the Concertos specifying the violone grosso.

I know this is a somewhat cross thread response, but the usefulness of a 5 string instrument is certainly part of this. If I had to choose one and only one Double Bass instrument to play, maintain, and express myself on, it would be a 5 string one tuned in 4ths. But that little Pöllmann violone would be a nice second fiddle. And it appears that tuning in 4ths across all strings might be quite acceptable from a historical perspective of German tradition. A nice little 6 string acoustic bass guitar for some of the Brandenburgs!
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  #25  
Old 06-30-2007, 09:16 AM
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Arrow Ken does this bass look familiar?

Click image for larger version

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ID:	245

"Several years ago I saw the 2nd one which was a Bob G/Bulgarian Bass. Must have been the older models with the shiny Lacquer finish and low neck stand model. I played only a few notes on it and that was it"
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  #26  
Old 06-30-2007, 06:53 PM
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Default huh?

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Originally Posted by Jeff Tranauskas View Post
Attachment 245

"Several years ago I saw the 2nd one which was a Bob G/Bulgarian Bass. Must have been the older models with the shiny Lacquer finish and low neck stand model. I played only a few notes on it and that was it"
That's 'THAT' Bass? Sry, don't remember it much at all. I was packing my Amp up while Don was setting up to sub for me at a rehearsal. I was in and out in 2 minutes..
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  #27  
Old 07-06-2007, 12:29 PM
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Default 38

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Powell
I know this verges on insanity, but a French luthier has made one with 7,
ok, i´m the winner: 38 strings!
http://www.bazantar.com/instrument.html
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  #28  
Old 07-06-2007, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anselm Hauke View Post
ok, i´m the winner: 38 strings!
http://www.bazantar.com/instrument.html
I thought about mentioning that since Mark Deutsch has modified a 5 string DB. It's a really interesting instrument. I've had his CD for over a year. "Fool" is an interesting meditational composition that is conceptually related to the life cycle. Some moments are a bit arresting, perhaps disturbing. I enjoy listening to it in the odd moment it and there is some good double bass playing on there. In the USA, it would probably be classified as "New Age" music. The Bazantar sounds very unusual. It's like a huge viola d'amore. One of the most interesting things on his site is his chart of the harmonic series vs. equal temperament. It's one of the best graphical depictions of pure harmonic relations I've ever seen.

If you haven't heard the whole composition, Anselm, it might be worth a listen, or at least I was quite pleased with the CD.
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  #29  
Old 07-06-2007, 07:28 PM
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Default Wow

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anselm Hauke View Post
ok, i´m the winner: 38 strings!
http://www.bazantar.com/instrument.html
Anselm, I agree.
You are the winner!
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  #30  
Old 07-06-2007, 07:33 PM
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Default The mighty funf

Has anyone ever played a 5 with a high C?
I might restring the mighty funf with a high C in lieu of a low B.
I'll never leave first position again!
My slab 5 is currently strung this way and I really like it.
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  #31  
Old 07-06-2007, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Tranauskas View Post
Has anyone ever played a 5 with a high C?
I might restring the mighty funf with a high C in lieu of a low B.
I'll never leave first position again!
My slab 5 is currently strung this way and I really like it.
Once upon a time, the Kay bass company made a 5 string model that was strung with a high C. It was after a famous player Greig Stewart "Chubby" Jackson popularized that tuning and it was known as the "Chubby Jackson" model. They are fairly rare, but turn up now and again. It is a possibility to string it that way for sure, but who wants to be stuck in first postition? I'd rather play at the heel any day. Just my preferences, obviously it worked well enough for Chubby the other way.
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  #32  
Old 07-10-2007, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Tranauskas View Post
Attachment 245

"Several years ago I saw the 2nd one which was a Bob G/Bulgarian Bass. Must have been the older models with the shiny Lacquer finish and low neck stand model. I played only a few notes on it and that was it"

Here's the big sister of "that bass" Just a few close ups of this bridge I carved about 2 years ago.














Last edited by David Powell; 07-10-2007 at 06:58 PM. Reason: white space
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  #33  
Old 07-10-2007, 03:57 PM
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Default long tall "Ivanna"

OK, so here's what she looks like uncropped:

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  #34  
Old 07-10-2007, 04:00 PM
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Question Rosin?

Not a speck of Rosin on the strings or bridge! How do you keep it so clean?
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  #35  
Old 07-10-2007, 04:46 PM
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Not a speck of Rosin on the strings or bridge! How do you keep it so clean?
You know that just doesn't happen to me. I've posted about this problem several times. I just never get any rosin anywhere but on the strings. And then it's a powder that just wipes off. I actually wipe it off pretty frequently when I'm practicing. But I'm finding with the black hair I need far less rosin. And it is pretty hot so I'm using the Hard Oak for the first time. It works great with the black hair.

I did scrape the bridge clean with a blade about a week ago, but it really didn't have much rosin on it, just some surface dirt from going in and out of the case. That's the first bridge I carved. Hopefully the last too. I had blisters every where I had skin.
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  #36  
Old 07-10-2007, 05:11 PM
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Thumbs up New Bridge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Powell View Post
You know that just doesn't happen to me. I've posted about this problem several times. I just never get any rosin anywhere but on the strings. And then it's a powder that just wipes off. I actually wipe it off pretty frequently when I'm practicing. But I'm finding with the black hair I need far less rosin. And it is pretty hot so I'm using the Hard Oak for the first time. It works great with the black hair.

I did scrape the bridge clean with a blade about a week ago, but it really didn't have much rosin on it, just some surface dirt from going in and out of the case. That's the first bridge I carved. Hopefully the last too. I had blisters every where I had skin.
You carved and fit that Bridge? Good job, it looks great. How is the radius on that Bridge? My 4-string Basses average about 1/2" putting a ruler under the outer strings and measuring the distance to the top of the bridge in the center. The 5er I have is 3/4" for 5 strings and the 4-string measurement (without the B) is just under 1/2", slightly shallower.
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  #37  
Old 07-10-2007, 07:17 PM
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I had matched the radius of the fingerboard at 72mm, I think or somewhere close to that. I haven't measured the radius of the bridge. I based it on the original bridge which was fine height wise, the spacing was just too close for arco. Ideally, I think a slightly tighter radius would be better on the fingerboard. But before I do that, I could reset the strings just a little wider. G, D, and A are all fine, E is a little tight. Or I could go for one inch between instead of 1 inch on center. I'll try that first with a different spacing on the original bridge. It was a lot lighter maple, but it still sounded good. If I put adjusters in it, I could trim the top and try the different spacing.

Thanks for the compliment on the bridge. The photos are close enough to show the small mistakes. I totally abstained from any sandpaper on that one. I just wanted to see if I could do it. I used two flexcut knives and a little modeling plane. The planer really brought out the rays in the maple. Scraping it to clean it was a tip I got from you somewhere along the way.
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  #38  
Old 07-10-2007, 10:03 PM
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Lightbulb Bowing arch..

David, regardless of the Fingerboard arch, you need a minimum amount or Bridge arch to Bow. Drawing a line on top of the bridge under the strings, measure the height every other string from that line to the bottom of the string in the middle. Looking with your eye it should be about 1/4" but with a 5-string you may have trouble getting much more than 3/16". A 5er is usually a tighter Bowing Bass from what I have experienced so good Bow technique is needed.

I know that having a good Fingerboard arch to nearly match your bridge is preferred but it would be working backwards to shape the bridge to match the FB. Yes, the string heights may not be optimum but reducing the bridge arch impedes clean bowing.

Since the String heights normally increase from the G to the E (or B) strings, it is best to work on the Bowing arch first if you intend to Bow. Fixing or replacing your fingerboard might be another option as well so as not to take it out on the bridge.
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  #39  
Old 07-10-2007, 11:19 PM
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If I decide to reduce the radius of the board (increase the arch) there is quite a bit of thickness to work with. Essentially, I'd just be taking it off at the edges a little to match a radius guide.

It just seems that right now I have more space than I really need with G and D so I could rotate the G & D closer to the edge, bring the A to just slightly favoring the treble side of the board and that will probably do it. It's a tricky set up. I might have 3/16, but probably not on the bass side because the string heights go from 6m to 10mm, so right there I'm losing 4mm already. One thing that makes me hesitant to change anything is that the more I practice and the more the bass opens up, the easier the E string starts, so it is tempting to just leave it be and concetrate on technique. It does work, I just have to be particular with certain notes starting. Bow tension, bow speed, where the bow hits the string between the FB and bridge;- all that seems very important. I probably will not change much on this bass until I have a spare.
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  #40  
Old 07-11-2007, 06:23 AM
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Cool set-up..

String spacing should be about 1" to 1 1/16" string-to-string, center-to-center and not in between the strings. This way, the E and A will feel closer than the G and D. Also, is the B is slightly further from the E, this will make the Bass play easier with the Bow as a 4-stringer and have the B reachable for those few moments it is actually needed in orchestral works.

Right now, I am practicing regular 4-string music on my 5er just to get use to playing it G-to-E and I don't think about the B-string being there. On my Bass however, everything just feels big including the body of the Bass. Although this neck was big to begin with if I had just left it as a 4-string, the Bass feels easy enough to play when I dabble with a few solo pieces up the G and D. Not a bad trade off I think.
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