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Cello to Bass Guitar

nakirushnakirush Registered User regular
edited November 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey H/A!

I'm looking at learning bass guitar and I had a few questions. I have been playing violin since I was six and cello since I was 1w, so I have some history with instruments. I've tried to pick up guitar in the past, but I can't get my head around the whole chord thing. I want something straight forward - single note progression, like a classical music part. Is bass guitar the right choice here? Is it possible to string a bass guitar like a cello (CGDA, low to high)? What clef does bass guitar even play in?

Any information would be greatly appreciated!

nakirush on

Posts

  • garroad_rangarroad_ran Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The bass guitar reads music in bass clef. It is indeed possible to string the bass like a cello and a number of bass players do exactly this.

    Is it the right choice? I don't even know how to begin answering that. Do you want to play the bass? If so, then yeah, it's the right choice.

    garroad_ran on
  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Standard tuning for a 4 string follows the bottom 4 of a guitar, EADG.

    As far as which to get, I'd recommend going with the one you think you'd like more. There's a reason guitar players are a dime a dozen while bass players are hard to find. I switch to playing bass in bands for that reason, but it's generally less fun in my experience than guitar, especially if you're just jamming at home. I supposed the style of music plays a part, but rock bass isn't all that fun by itself. Some people are passionate about bass, though.

    I'm not sure exactly what your problem with chords is, but they do take time to get used to fingering and remembering. I started by buying a guitar and a chord book and just learning the major and minor chords. You can play along with most songs with just those.

    Edit: Yeah, forgot to mention that you can tune to whatever you want, for the most part. Just playing some songs might be weird if you aren't using the original tuning.

    Sir Carcass on
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Standard tuning for a 4 string follows the bottom 4 of a guitar, EADG.

    As far as which to get, I'd recommend going with the one you think you'd like more. There's a reason guitar players are a dime a dozen while bass players are hard to find. I switch to playing bass in bands for that reason, but it's generally less fun in my experience than guitar, especially if you're just jamming at home. I supposed the style of music plays a part, but rock bass isn't all that fun by itself. Some people are passionate about bass, though.

    I'm not sure exactly what your problem with chords is, but they do take time to get used to fingering and remembering. I started by buying a guitar and a chord book and just learning the major and minor chords. You can play along with most songs with just those.

    Edit: Yeah, forgot to mention that you can tune to whatever you want, for the most part. Just playing some songs might be weird if you aren't using the original tuning.

    You could also always try some odd ass things with it. There aren't really any hard rules about what you get to enjoy. Les Claypool is insane and has fun, though I'm not sure it's what you're interested in.

    dispatch.o on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    As a double bassist, I can say that it is indeed probably more up your alley. I don't "get" guitar, or piano for that matter -- my brain simply is designed to work better with the *parts* of chords, rather than the chords themselves.

    You can tune a bass guitar like a cello but there's really no point, since they're relatively easy to play and the advantages to tuning in fifths isn't really an issue on bass guitar.

    Bass guitars are also cheap, so you could pick one up without much monetary outlay and plink around to see if you like it. Much better than dropping a couple thousand on a double bass ;D

    EggyToast on
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  • proXimityproXimity Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    FWIW, I've been looking at picking up a bass myself and for the price, it looks like this one can't be beat http://bass-guitars.musiciansfriend.com/product/Rogue-LX200B-Series-II-Bass-Guitar-?sku=512228

    proXimity on
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  • nakirushnakirush Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Thanks guys! All very helpful advice and I'm excited to give this a go. :D

    Edit: On a side note, will I need special strings to tune it like a cello or will the added strain not affect the strings/instrument?

    nakirush on
  • garroad_rangarroad_ran Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    You can probably get away with a standard set of strings, although you'll probably want something thicker-than-usual for the C, maybe for the G, and maybe something thinner than usual for the A, in order to maintain a consistent string tension across all four strings.

    garroad_ran on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    You should probably start with it tuned "normal" and then worry about tuning it in fifths. The mental work used to think in fourths is not much work, and will help you approach the instrument as being essentially different from a cello. Tuning it in fifths will certainly increase tension and may warp the neck, as well, or give you action that's too high to play very well. But more importantly, if you keep it "standard" you can use the wealth of information that's available for learning to play a bass guitar.

    EggyToast on
    || Flickr — || PSN: EggyToast
  • Sir CarcassSir Carcass I have been shown the end of my world Round Rock, TXRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    The last band I played in tuned to C, so what I did was buy a 5 string set of strings for my 4 string bass and just use the lower 4 strings. It worked out pretty well.

    Sir Carcass on
  • T-boltT-bolt Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I'd strongly suggest getting used to playing in fourths. Easier to buy new strings as standard sets rather than non-standard gauges to tune correctly, as well as not needing to adjust the neck for the added tension. Playing scales would also require much less finger-gymnastics.

    T-bolt on
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