Subcontrabass Guitar - to build or not to build?

Hey all you musicians, and especially guitar players! I am currently planning the next version of my Prism Laser Guitar (vote for me if you like it!) and I need some opinions.

The next version will hopefully sound very much like a real guitar, not a synthesizer. It will also be capable of playing chords among other tricks the first version couldn't do. However, due to physical and monetary restraints, it will have to be a 4-string bass guitar of some sort. That's fine with me - I love bass!

So here's the idea: Unhindered by the physical limitations of a vibrating string, I am free to tune the bass as low as I want. I'm thinking of giving it a C#, F#, B, E tuning, with a bottom note of 17.5Hz. That's lower than pretty much any bass you can get, opening up a whole playground of super bass notes to drive neighbours up the wall. ;)

Is that something people would be interested in? Or should I stick to a standard bass tuning range?

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wayne64128 years ago
I think anything to do with guitars or bass's is a great project! I'm currently trying to design a digital tremolo system similar to the original vintage Fender but with out any tuning problem's whatsoever. It's people like you that inspire me to develop this idea, so I really look forward to seeing what you can do:) By the way, if you or anyone here on Instructables has any advice or info about my project, I can use all the advice I can get. Keep it going!!!
jeff-o (author)  wayne64128 years ago
100% digital tremolo? All I can say is, brush up on your programming skills, specifically digital waveguides. If there's one thing I learned from building this guitar, it's to appreciate the incredible complexities of a simple vibrating string!
Appreciate the reply.
jeff-o (author)  wayne64128 years ago
Sure thing. If you want to build an analog tremolo, here's one of a few schematics that you can follow. Here's another one, but again it's analog. Oh, and one more.

Really, there are so many effects pedal circuits out there that you could spend years building all of them. I suppose the trick is to only build the best of them. ;)
Thanks again jeff-o. This project does'nt actually have to be Digital, Analog might work great for a proto-type for the long road ahead! I'm not actually an electronic's wizard with a Phd, I'm just a musician that has dealt with the hastle of mechanical Tremolo's all my year's in playing. I've had this idea for quite some time now, and would love to have a system on-board that mimics all the Tremolo function's without the string's ever losing any string tension, which has alway's been associated with Tremolo's, even the Floyd Rose System's are still prone to string integrity. Thank's for the URL's you mentioned, I'll definately check into them. wayne6412
jeff-o (author)  wayne64128 years ago
Aha, well if all you wanted to do is avoid string tension issues then yeah - one of the links I posted may indeed be what you're looking for! It'll be hard to fully reproduce the sound of a tremolo arm (which is actually producing vibrato) or in-built tremolo springs, but you can get close for sure.
Yea, tremolo and vibrato definition's, in a way, contradict the other when associating them with Fender and stringed instrument's thank's to Leo Fender, but not in an intentional way. The web site's you mentioned were really informative, but were mainly devoted to the "Tremolo" system built in the amplifier's themselve's. I think Tremolo or Vibrato is definately the wrong term when referring to the mechanism built into the guitar itself, a good term I would of used is "Pitch Bender" because that is really more or less what it does. What I want to develop is a device that in appearance, looks like the original set-up, but with some sort of FX processor that reproduce's the same signal as 'bending the string's", but in a sense, without ever affecting string tension. I suggested Digital because the processor could also be used for alternate tuning, etc. with just a push of a button. I know this is a really complicated idea, but I know it can be done, I've just got to do a lot of research. Good luck with your Bass project and thank's for all the info! Wayne6412
jeff-o (author)  wayne64128 years ago
According to a bit of research I did, that's pretty hard to do properly! Best of luck - if you succeed, you'll have something that very few have done before (if at all!)
Definitely! I'll post it here when I figure it out.(if most of us are still living!lol)
Maybe you could try some kind of capacitor with a spring so that it comes back up after pushing it. This will lower the pitch at a steady rate and reliably.
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