Definitions

Piccolo_bass

Piccolo bass

Piccolo bass can refer to two string instruments, the acoustic piccolo bass and the electric piccolo bass.

Stanley Clarke invented the electric piccolo bass and Ron Carter invented the first upright piccolo bass.

Acoustic piccolo bass

The acoustic piccolo bass is an instrument similar to the double bass, but with a range exactly one octave higher. It is featured on Henry Threadgill's 1979 album X-75 Volume 1, played by Brian Smith.

Ron Carter uses a piccolo bass that he tunes a fourth higher than a normal double bass (low to high: A-D-G-C).

Electric piccolo bass

The electric is a string instrument very similar to a four stringed electric bass guitar, but usually tuned one whole octave higher than a normal bass. This results in the lowest note from a piccolo bass usually being equal to the E found on the seventh fret of the A string on a standard bass. To allow such an uptuning, the strings can be thinner, or the length of the neck (the scale) can be shorter. The first option is the most common, and several companies manufacture piccolo sets that can be put on any regular bass, thereby converting any bass into a piccolo bass. Because of the thinner strings, a new nut may be required to hold the strings. Some people prefer a slightly shorter scale, such as 30" or 28".

The tuning varies with the personal tastes of the artist, as does the number of strings. Joey DeMaio from the heavy metal band Manowar plays with 8 strings on his piccolo bass. Jazz bassist John Patitucci used a 6-string piccolo bass, unaccompanied, on his song "Sachi's Eyes" on his album One More Angel. Leland Sklar uses a piccolo bass guitar in Phil Collins' song "Take Me Home". Michael Manring has used a 5 string piccolo bass in several unusual tunings.

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