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Doctor J

5 string moment of clarity

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I ordered a Hotwire 5 string many years ago, a custom jobbie with Q-tuners and a fancy Noll pre. While it was being built, however, I picked up a battered Bacchus 5 string cheap which was a revelation and, in truth, the Hotwire never really got a proper look in once it arrived such is my affection for the Bacchus. A couple of days ago I found a set of 6-strings I had bought for my old 6er but never got to use before I sold the 6... I found myself looking at the C string... then the Hotwire... then back to the C string... then back at the Hotwire... thought "[i]what have I got to lose?[/i]" and strung it up E to C. Wow! What fun. Now I'm using every bit of will power I have to resist ripping the frets out of the (absurdly) expensive Hotwire but, to be honest, I think a defretting is inevitable. Fretless E to C with lovely clear Q-tuners, how could that possibly be a bad idea?

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[quote name='Doctor J' post='1069477' date='Dec 26 2010, 10:53 AM']I ordered a Hotwire 5 string many years ago, a custom jobbie with Q-tuners and a fancy Noll pre. While it was being built, however, I picked up a battered Bacchus 5 string cheap which was a revelation and, in truth, the Hotwire never really got a proper look in once it arrived such is my affection for the Bacchus. A couple of days ago I found a set of 6-strings I had bought for my old 6er but never got to use before I sold the 6... I found myself looking at the C string... then the Hotwire... then back to the C string... then back at the Hotwire... thought "[i]what have I got to lose?[/i]" and strung it up E to C. Wow! What fun. Now I'm using every bit of will power I have to resist ripping the frets out of the (absurdly) expensive Hotwire but, to be honest, I think a defretting is inevitable. Fretless E to C with lovely clear Q-tuners, how could that possibly be a bad idea?[/quote]
You must be having a Steve Bailey moment. You could always try the high C on your Bacchus - you might just go mad for that combination thus making the Hotwire your default low B bass.

That way you might not feel so bad about ripping the frets out of the old battered bacchus.

Edited by henry norton

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Ahh the Bacchus is perfection, I won't be changing anything on it, way better B than the Hotwire too. No, I'm just surprised by how much the HW has come to life with the change, plus I'm a little surprised by how much I'm enjoying playing it that way. The voice of the HW would definitely suit fretless, I reckon. Doesn't mean I'll be embarking on a journey of bass w*** though ha ha.

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I've strung my (already unlined fretless) 1990 MM 'Ray5 EADGC. Best thing I ever did. Higher tunings sound more obviously "fretless". Assuming that's what you want of course.
IMHO the best tuning of [i]any[/i] fiver would probably be DGCFBb (so down a tone from EADGC), allowing you access to drop "D" as well as the higher registers.

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Hmmm ive often thought of a fretless 5 tuned E to C , you could even put a D tuner on the E string for that little bit extra , i still wont make the jump to a 6 though :)

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[quote name='lee650' post='1069799' date='Dec 26 2010, 09:15 PM']you could even put a D tuner on the E string for that little bit extra[/quote]That's what I was thinking :)

I'm surprised by how easy it's been to adapt to the different setup. I think it could be a really useful setup.

Edited by Doctor J

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definately opens up some lovely chordal options!!! stanley clarkes tenor tuned 4 is A to C so would be a nice extension of that idea, but would be great on fretless to get into the cello range, def got me thinking now!!!!

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E-C is a fantastically fun tuning! Good luck with it.


[quote name='Lfalex v1.1' post='1069792' date='Dec 26 2010, 09:08 PM']I've strung my (already unlined fretless) 1990 MM 'Ray5 EADGC. Best thing I ever did. Higher tunings sound more obviously "fretless". Assuming that's what you want of course.
IMHO the best tuning of [i]any[/i] fiver would probably be DGCFBb (so down a tone from EADGC), allowing you access to drop "D" as well as the higher registers.[/quote]

DGCFBb is quite probably my fave tuning, espcially with a Hipshot Drop Tuner, so you can get the low C, that'll cover a tonne of ground.

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If you're after getting the Hotwire defretted, make sure you go to a professional and maybe even get a new board fitted as that will always look better than a defret. If you do it yourself you'll absolutely ruin the value of the bass.

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I'd like a 6-string tuned an octave up, E to E...oh, wait... :)

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[quote name='Muzz' post='1071747' date='Dec 29 2010, 02:07 PM']I'd like a 6-string tuned an octave up, E to E...oh, wait... :)[/quote]

Jonas Hellborg used to have a Status Energy bass which was tuned E-E, like a guitar but an octave down. He could do some cool stuff with that!

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Like a 50-year old Fender VI then? These ground-breaking musicians... :)

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[quote name='Chris2112' post='1071741' date='Dec 29 2010, 02:02 PM']If you're after getting the Hotwire defretted, make sure you go to a professional and maybe even get a new board fitted as that will always look better than a defret. If you do it yourself you'll absolutely ruin the value of the bass.[/quote]
I've defretted quite successfully in the past. I couldn't really care less about the value, I bought it new so I'd be taking a [b]huge[/b] hit no matter what :)

Ah I'd never sell it, it's the only bass I ever had made specifically, it's not going anywhere, but I reserve the right to butcher it as I see fit :)

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[quote name='Muzz' post='1071753' date='Dec 29 2010, 02:16 PM']Like a 50-year old Fender VI then? These ground-breaking musicians... :)[/quote]


Well, no because it was a 34" scale instrument.

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Ahh, but the Fender VI was sunburst...makes all the difference... :)

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