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Viola Bass

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(@tjk0225)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 21
Topic starter  

I'm thinking about getting into bass and I am drawn to the short scale hollow body viola style basses. I've done a little research and there are actually more choices than I originally thought: Hofner, Brownsville (Sam Ash), Rogue (MF), Jay Turser, Douglas and Brice (both at Rondo) all offer this style of bass at a beginner's price. Anyone have any experience with any of these makes and models? The Jay Turser looks like it would have a great Beatles vibe to it, but I also like the look of the Black Brice that Rondo sells.

I would love to get my hands on one before buying, but I'm not sure if any are available locally. I may have to take a leap of faith and just order one online.

Thanks!

Tom


   
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(@demoetc)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2167
 

I wanted the Brice sunburst but they were out when I was ready to buy. Heard good things about the Turser so that's what I got.

The classic Beatles vibe increased when I put flatwound strings on it though. It's my main bass nowadays.

I'm thinking that the others mentioned are close to the build quality of the Turser; not bad for the price.

But be aware that Hofner also has a starter-priced viol bass too.

Best regards, and let us know how it goes.


   
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(@tjk0225)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 21
Topic starter  

I ordered a Turser from AmericanMusical.com.

Any recommendations for flatwound strings?

I also picked up a copy of Hodge's book last week. Can't wait to re-read it with bass in hand!

Now, to find an inexpensive amp . . .

Tom


   
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(@demoetc)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2167
 

There's a few brands, but for the Turser you need medium-scale strings instead of short-scale like for an actual Hofner. GHS has medium length flatwounds and Rotosound does too. I use the Rotosounds just because I've used them on and off for other basses.

I also use the .040-.090 gauge, which is too light for most people. I like not having to struggle with fingering though ;)

It's these, actually http://juststrings.com/rts-rs77m.html


   
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(@tjk0225)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 21
Topic starter  

Well, I've had the bass for almost 2 weeks and I don't want to put it down. Played it with the factory strings until today. Went to Bass Emporium and picked up a set of Rotosound flats. What a difference! You're right about the Beatles vibe. It sounded great playing along with the Ballad of John and Yoko.

Tom


   
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(@tjk0225)
Eminent Member
Joined: 17 years ago
Posts: 21
Topic starter  

THe flatwounds have been on almost a week and they seem to be 'settled in' - after the first day or so they have stayed pretty well in-tune.

The low E string doesn't seem to sustain as long as the other strings. Is this due to the tension of the string on the short scale?

Tom


   
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(@demoetc)
Noble Member
Joined: 21 years ago
Posts: 2167
 

Yah it's pretty much a combo of scale-length, string thickness. On mine it's pretty even among the strings, though I never really checked it with a stopwatch like some guys have. They all seem to have less sustain than the Roto flatwounds (same gauge) I have of my Squier P-Bass, so that's a scale-length issue. I mean, the P-Bass is bolt-on neck construction and should have less sustain (theoretically) than the set-neck Turser. And then there's the solid-body vs semi-hollow-body thing.

But that's also part of the vibe; it's more like an upright bass in a lot of ways, and since it won't sustain all that long, you tend to play more notes - which is fun.

With most of the stuff I play/record, since the bass has to add a lot of stuff, sustain really isn't an issue; sorta like the shred guitar guys wanting the utmost in sustain, but also wanting to play four hundred notes per bar ;)

I think only on a couple of real slow ballads I used the Squier and the 34" scale length SX 5-string (which has Markley Blue Steel rounds on it). Just about everything else, the Turser takes over.

I like the low string tension afforded by the thinner strings and short scale length; makes everything easy to play and after awhile you're not thinking about the 'strings and bass and tension' and more just about the 'music.'


   
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