#1
haha i was thinkin that cellos are a lot cheaper than upright basses and they appear to have a similar structure so how would it sund with upright bass strings??
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#2
it depends on the gauges of the strings, I think. If the strings are roguhly the same, it should be fine. (I would think) I honsetly don't know much, that's just my guess.
#3
I don't really know much about double basses or cello's, but to me, this kind of sounds the same as someone asking "Wouldn't it be a lot cheaper to just string a guitar with bass strings. They appear to have a similar structure". You have to take into account, like mentioned, string gauges, tensions, scale lengths etc. There's probably a reason why cellos are cheaper and why everyone doesnt just buy cellos and re-string them into basses.
#4
Personally I don't think it would be a good idea. A double bass is significantly larger than a cello so the strings would be far to long. If you were to wind them to the correct tension it would be to much for a cello body to handle. Also with double bass strings the strings would be ridiculously close together on a cello making it nearly unplayable.
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#5
the double bass strings are A LOT longer and thicker than cello strings. i think putting bass strings on a cellos would most likely not work and would be dangerous.
#7
lol i didnt think it would work but thanks for reassuring my thoughts
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#8
Interesting question. Always when I want to know something like this I go here:
http://www.daddario.com/Resources/JDCDAD/images/tension_chart.pdf

The numbers to put into the equasion you'll find here:
http://www.daddario.com/

My gross estimation is that upright bass strings don't go. The scale of the cello is far too short to make for a sensible string tension, which is just fine, cause were you to tune those bass strings up to the specified tension, you would stress the poor instrument by about 200% above it's load rate, which would certainly result in catastrofic structural failure.

Using bass guitar strings seems more promising. Scale length of the cello is comparable to that of the bass guitar. The required tension of the guitar strings would overload the cello somewhat, but by downtuning two half steps you might be able to strike a workable compromise between punch and mechanical stress. Do the math and you'll surely find out.

Bass guitar strings can't be bowed though, and you may find the cello body to be too small to give a good balance between tone and volume. You won't better an upright bass, but I wouldn't be surprised if such contraption out-performed any regular acoustic bass guitar.
#9
What about flatwound bass strings on a cello? If I were you I'd just have the right instrument. Its not worth it when the cello breaks then you just go and buy what you shouldve bought in the 1st place. Pluse I'd think that a double bass would sound better.
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#10
DON'T DO IT.

Bass strings are much thicker than cello strings, and the neck of the cello is much smaller than that of a double bass. The tension from the strings would be too much to handle for the cello and the neck would snap and splinter into a million pieces. Now you wan't keep both your eyes don't you? So don't do it.
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#13
Quote by Deliriumbassist
You wouldn't string a viola with harp strings, would you?

yes. and the entire set of strings at that.

string a cello up with cello strings and use that. they sound pretty good that way.
^^not necessarily helpful.
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#15
this thread reminds me of something... the guitar with bass strings...

this idea is like that, but dumber because cellos cost more than affinity strats.
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#16
Different strings, different tuning. It's just an entirely different instrument.
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#17
You're actually not that outrageous as all these critics think. If you buy a heavy duty bridge you can do it, but it is then technically a basset (small bass). The body is the same size as a cello, but it's tuned as a bass. I hada few friends who played them back in 5th grade when we all started out. I wouldn't suggest it for a serious player though, because the size of the cello body severly reduces your tone and sound. Talk to someone at your local string instrument store if you are really interested in an inferior instrument.

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#18
Come on Folks; pull yourselves together! Nekromantic suggested a cello that is cheaper than a double bass, not 1728 Stradivarius. And besides, for now it's only a thought experiment, not the real thing. If it makes you feel more comforable, imagine a plywood Sonjjing destined to scare innocent noobs out of ever wanting to become cellists.
And if it were a real experiment, you wouldn't at all have to wear safety goggles to witness it, for the problem is exactly the opposite of what you are thinking.

I ran the above mentioned formula on a spreadsheet and found out that it is lack of string tension that poses a challenge, not too much of it. Problem is that a regular 4/4 cello has a scale of 27 1/2", while even a short scale bass guitar has 30". That means that a regular weight E bass guitar string on a cello, tuned to pitch, will pull no more than 25lbs. That is about 5lbs lower than it's designated tension, but quite near the tension of a cello C string. I bet the same goes for the other three strings. It will work, but the strings will be a bit slack and punchless.
But I also think that a more thorough search will bring up bas strings that have their operating tension even nearer to that of regular cello strings. A little bit of fumbling the saddle around to increase the scale et voila....a bassello in good working order and perfectly safe to operate.
I short; I think it's feasable.

(edit: While I was typing this, Wasted Bassist posted his respons. He's right)
Last edited by Marcel Veltman at Aug 24, 2008,
#20
Quote by Marcel Veltman
I ran the above mentioned formula on a spreadsheet and found out that it is lack of string tension that poses a challenge, not too much of it. Problem is that a regular 4/4 cello has a scale of 27 1/2", while even a short scale bass guitar has 30"

yes, but he's talking about double bass strings, which have a much longer scale length than a bass guitar.
^^not necessarily helpful.
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#21
But isn't the shape of an upright as far as proportion and angling completely unique when compared to other string instruments? Not only wouldn't it sound like an upright, it wouldn't play like one, either. Short-scale basses have enough tension problems and muddiness; reducing the string length by a further 10% isn't negligable, regardless of what equations will say. If you string a cello like a bass, you're not getting a ghetto ass bass - you're getting your own (doomed) unique instrument. Kinda like an electric fretless bass. Or a fretless ABG. They'll both sound and play better than that bass cello, and will probably sound as much like an upright bass as the cello would, too.

And, threadstarter, do you plan on playing that psychobilly slap from the band you're named after? On an instrument with a 15" smaller scale length tuned totally wrong, playing seated? Typically those slap dudes don't use steel strings, and D'Addario doesn't sell weedwhacker rope. Sure, you might be able to hobble together some sort of awful inaudible penance of an upright, but there's absolutely no chance you'll get it to be a slap bass.

EDIT: And isn't there special bracing behind the bridges of these instruments? I remember someone mentioning that when I threw the thought out of buying a 1/4 scale upright and moving the bridge up an inch or two so it's scaled like an electric. From what I understand, moving the bridge will throw the bracing out of whack. It'll be bracing all the wrong spots.
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Last edited by thefitz at Aug 25, 2008,
#23
Quote by roshjosh
Why don't you tune a Cello to bass tuning (it's almost there)... and just sort of have "piccolo double bass"??

(oxymoron?)

Wouldn't it be called a 'single bass'?

But isn't it called a double bass because you can double most cello parts an octave lower? That is, just tune it to cello and learn to play it?
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#24
To Failedstagedive: yes, but the idea to use upright bass strings was already dismissed.

To Thefitz: I fully agree on all. I already did run the heavier weight special short scale strings through the equation, and still they are too slack.
It wouldn't be necessary to play it seated. A very long end pin will do also. Trying to play like a rockabilly slapper is indeed difficult, but with an angled pin and an additional shoulder strap you might be able to get the posture of a bass-ballalaika player.
I don't know about cello's, but if it is the scaled up violin they say it is, there is no bracing underneath the top, apart from a sound improving short strip running along the grain somewhere halfway the midde of the sound board and the left side f-hole. And of course there is a sound post giving some support. Otherwise it's all stressed skin. Obviously it is strongest near the outer most bulging part, but there must be room for some variation.
But as you say, soundwise it would never make a good alternative for a full size upright. Instead I would aim for improving on an acoustic fretless guitar. I think there is a good chance there.

To Roshjosh and on Thefitz's last respons: cello's are supposed to be tuned C, G, D, A (from low to high), the same as a viola but then one octave lower. Going down to E,A,D,G is impossible, for it would involve slackening one string 14 semitones. The E,A,D,G one octave higher needs to have one string tuned up 4 semitones, which isn't possible either. Going for D,G,C,F in the cello octave looks somewhat better. One must tune up the C two semitones to D, keep the G, tune down the D two semitones to C and the A four semitones down to F, which is still further off than my proposed bass guitar strings already were.
Keeping it in cello tuning to practice bass parts doesn't make sense either. The strings would be all fifths apart, while a bass is tuned in thirds. All fingersettings will be completely different.

All in all in tend to agree with all of you. Cello's are best left to cellists.
Last edited by Marcel Veltman at Aug 25, 2008,
#26
This is what is common practise
http://www.get-tuned.com/cello_tuner.php
But maybe cellisti can resort to alternative tunings too, just like guitarists often do. I don't really know much about celli (indeed plural of cello; who starts in Latin must end in Latin) and I am afraid to ask the cute cellista living at other end of my block
#27
just do it. if she questions you, say you're making orchestral mindrape new wave of stringed shredding death metal in drop E.

then ask her if she knows any good ways to attach a human skull to the bridge.
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#29
Quote by roshjosh
Oh... I was under the impression that celli (plural?) were tuned EADF#... Lute tuning esque...
Tuned in 3rds.

Cellos are in the viol/mandol family, and from what I understand, all of those instruments are tuned to 5ths. The upright bass is actually a hybrid that was arrived to over time, and is tuned to 4ths, like most of the strings of a guitar (and therefore why most idiot guitar players think a bass is just a guitar with 2 less strings for no reason). If a bass was tuned to 3rds, let's say major 3rds, it'd be E Ab C E.
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#30
String instrumentalists in the viol family usually have 2 different tuning. One is the orchestral tuning (standard) and the other is solo tuning. It's equivilent to guitarists and alternate tunings.

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#31
Quote by thefitz
Cellos are in the viol/mandol family, and from what I understand, all of those instruments are tuned to 5ths. The upright bass is actually a hybrid that was arrived to over time, and is tuned to 4ths, like most of the strings of a guitar (and therefore why most idiot guitar players think a bass is just a guitar with 2 less strings for no reason). If a bass was tuned to 3rds, let's say major 3rds, it'd be E Ab C E.


Err...I 'm getting a little stuck in the music-theorical nomenclature here. Let me think: If E is first, F# is second, G# is third then...A is indeed fourth.
You're right of course.
Sorry for being confusing
#32
Quote by Wasted Bassist
String instrumentalists in the viol family usually have 2 different tuning. One is the orchestral tuning (standard) and the other is solo tuning. It's equivilent to guitarists and alternate tunings.

Yes, but isn't solo tuning just an offset? Kinda like tuning down (or in solo's case, up) a certain amount of steps? Guitarists can have alternate modal or open tunings.
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#33
Quote by thefitz
Cellos are in the viol/mandol family, and from what I understand, all of those instruments are tuned to 5ths. The upright bass is actually a hybrid that was arrived to over time, and is tuned to 4ths, like most of the strings of a guitar (and therefore why most idiot guitar players think a bass is just a guitar with 2 less strings for no reason). If a bass was tuned to 3rds, let's say major 3rds, it'd be E Ab C E.


Sorry, I meant I thought it was tuned in fourths (which makes sense to what I said, but was still indeed wrong...)
#34
I would not do it with the standard Cello tuning pegs as it will slip a lot as is the nature of the beasts
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#35
Since when are cellos always cheaper than basses?

My teacher spent $40,000 USD on his cello. I know a professional bassist whose best bass, which is made entirely of flamed something-or-other, is worth less than $15,000 USD.
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#36
^I'm thinking the threadstarter is talking about absolutely bottom-dollar celli. It's smaller, uses less wood, and is therefore cheaper.
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#37
I don't think 40,000 dollars is necessary for a cello... It costs that much, likely, because it's some sort of a collectors item... or some ridiculous brand... not because the average cello costs more than a car.
#38
Or it's several hundred years old, like it probably is.
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I was looking at a used Warwick Vampyre LTD 5'er for about $200. I went home to grab my wallet and came back and some jerk with an epic beard got it already..