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View Full Version : Baritone restrung as a piccolo bass to accompany uke?



HeavyDuty
02-25-2013, 09:48 AM
Reading the current Kamoa bass uke thread has me thinking about picking up an inexpensive baritone and restringing it as a piccolo bass (EADG an octave up from "normal" bass.)

There have been a few threads that have touched on this tuning (I know DaleR has tried it), but I'd like to see what experience other people have had specifically retuning a baritone - buying a Kamoa is out of budget for trying this out. I've messed around a little accompanying uke videos and found that playing up an octave was a pleasant tonal complement.

My main concern is that it be loud enough to play along acoustically with ukes. If I have to plug in, I'm bringing my U-Bass... or my P5.

I'm just a bass player that's looking to branch out a little. :D

Thanks!

DaleR
02-26-2013, 04:27 AM
Actually, I have already sessioned with it. I have even used a small clip on mic through my Pignose and it works great. It has a much lighter sound, very different than a guitar too. Small sessions this bass baritone is just fine, the uBass can be saved for the big session stuff.:cool:

DaleR
02-26-2013, 04:33 AM
Here is a pic, from the uBass forum...49397

Stackabones
02-26-2013, 05:49 AM
I have a baritone I'd like to try this out on! Where do I get strings, etc?

And where are the pertinent threads? :)

DaleR
02-26-2013, 05:16 PM
They are just light classical guitar strings! Very cool sound and once amped a little bit, it can keep up with the Jones'.

HeavyDuty
02-27-2013, 03:25 AM
Can they cut it unamped, though?

DaleR
02-27-2013, 04:05 AM
Just read the previous threads. It has been discussed at length. Yes! Unless you have a guitar hero/ strum freak/ drummer type of jimmy guitar player. With a couple of real guitar players it keeps up just fine.

HeavyDuty
02-28-2013, 03:34 AM
Dale, if I had found the answer in prior threads I wouldn't have asked the question. Which threads in particular?

Stackabones
02-28-2013, 04:48 AM
I can't find them either!

~dave~~wave~
02-28-2013, 11:43 AM
My main concern is that it be loud enough to play along acoustically with ukes. If I have to plug in, I'm bringing my U-Bass... or my P5.


The small body and lower string tension mean the lower notes don't have as much power, but loud enough IMHO.
With a couple of ukes in a small room you'd hold your own.
With more players or in a larger room, I prefer an amped u-bass.

Did you see this thread on the bargain baritones? http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?77465-Baritone-Bargains

You'd need to widen the nut slots to accommodate guitar strings.
I went with Martin "high tension" classical strings, but since the G string was unwound, borrowed the G from a baritone uke set.

The good thing about playing with ukes is that in standard tuning, their lowest note is middle C, so you're below their range.
(Even in low G tuning, the lowest note is open G on the guitar, oops, I mean piccolo bass.)

DaleR
02-28-2013, 12:00 PM
Dale, if I had found the answer in prior threads I wouldn't have asked the question. Which threads in particular?

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?60569-Kamoa-bass-uke

HeavyDuty
02-28-2013, 03:37 PM
Dave, thanks for that link - I think I'm going to try one of the blems.

Dale, that was the thread that inspired this. I didn't want to take the Kamoa thread more off topic.

DaleR
02-28-2013, 07:06 PM
Me too!!!:shaka:

DaleR
03-01-2013, 04:20 AM
My new Cherub guitar clip on mic just came in. Tried it on my dolphin and although it is still clipped onto the headstock, the sound is much better. Will try on the bass baritone later this evening. I am sure, because it is a larger surface area, it will also work better on the bass baritone too! Here is a link, and it is only $7.55:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004UJO41S/

Stackabones
03-01-2013, 06:00 AM
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?60569-Kamoa-bass-uke

Very cool! Piccolo bass baritone uke!

HeavyDuty
03-02-2013, 05:11 AM
On bargain bari on the way.

Dale, you seem to have had good luck with this. What specific strings did you use? Are they all wound, or are some plain?

DaleR
03-02-2013, 10:32 AM
Light classical strings...and the top G is nylon. I just went to the local guitar shop and spent $6.50 for them. I do not remember what brand they were. Tension is almost too loose and you might have problems high on the top notes, but if you play it like a bass, it is just fine well up the frets.

HeavyDuty
03-03-2013, 05:51 AM
Cool, thanks. I don't know much about classical guitar strings, I wonder if the "harder" strings would have better feel? I may need to play around with this!

DaleR
12-06-2013, 02:29 AM
I never did try a heavier string. Because of the loose tension to get it to tune down, I suspect it would be just fine. If it starts seeming like too much tension for your particular bari, just loosen them and switch to the light classical ones. They almost do not have enough tension. Really neat sound and I think we are onto something here. One of my local colleagues tried it and liked it quite well too.

DaleR
12-20-2013, 05:59 PM
On a hunch, I tried that same clip on mic setup, with the Piggy with one of my harmonicas. Clipped onto the bass end, it works in spades! This is a very versatile mic and I do so love my Piggy amp.

Tele295
12-20-2013, 06:29 PM
On a side note - cool Fez-o-rama, Dale!

DaleR
12-20-2013, 07:40 PM
Mahalo!:shaka:

DaleR
12-23-2013, 05:10 PM
Just restrung my Kala bari back to bass bari, with D'Addario EJ40s..silk and steel acoustic/ electric strings. Fuller sound and although the strings are a bit heavier, the lower tension negates any excessive tension. Really neat tone and sound and NOT like a guitar. I also found that my Honeytone amp out sounds my Pignose, which I was surprised to discover! This little amp sounds best with my acoustic/ electric as well. It does not fit in the bari bag, but does clip on quite nicely, making a really portable axe.

DaleR
12-30-2013, 03:02 AM
Well, here is an update.

The bari is holding up well, no problems with the heavier strings. The E string does not sit perfectly in the slot, which causes a bit of sharpness on the first three frets. This is easily compensated by detuning a bit so that the third fret is in tune with the octave up open G string.

Really neat sounding little bass, great with other folk instruments and you can just take a small battery amp instead of your bass amp. Much more portability and fun, when the gig or session calls for such a thing!

Happy New Year UUers!

HeavyDuty
02-26-2014, 07:05 PM
Just restrung my Kala bari back to bass bari, with D'Addario EJ40s..silk and steel acoustic/ electric strings. Fuller sound and although the strings are a bit heavier, the lower tension negates any excessive tension. Really neat tone and sound and NOT like a guitar. I also found that my Honeytone amp out sounds my Pignose, which I was surprised to discover! This little amp sounds best with my acoustic/ electric as well. It does not fit in the bari bag, but does clip on quite nicely, making a really portable axe.

Thanks, Dale - I haven't been here in months, I'll look for a set of those for mine.

DaleR
02-27-2014, 10:26 AM
The experiment went quite well and is a nice alternative to the full UBass, BUT, the new Rumbler, because of it's EQ is usable on the smallest of amps, as you read on my other review. I no longer have a need for the bass bari, as The Rumbler provides that small footprint, but full bass sound, even on my Pignose 7-100 amp!