Hello all. First post.

Built myself a single string canjo a while back and that was pretty fun. Now I just picked up an electric ukulele and a used fender strat knockoff that I converted earlier tonight to a 3 string with a GGB tuning.

Looking to build a single string upright electric bass and looking for advice.

Thinking a .135 or .145 string. Would I need a special sized tuning knob for such a large string, or would pretty much any regular peg be sufficient?

What kind of pickup should I go with? Bear in mind I'm trying to do this on the super cheap.

Any good links to single string electric bass builds I can look at?

Thanks in advance.

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These types of pickups are very cheap. Would that work okay on a one-string? Or should I go for a different design?

I'm no expert on upright basses, but I can help with a 1 string bass.

I've built a couple 1 String Diddley Bass Canjos for as little as £10 (no more than $15). A normal cheap single coil pickup will do the job ok, but it may be worth trying a pair of Piezo disc pickups wired into a standard jack, you can probably get a couple of them prewired for a low price.

For the machine head, for that string gauge, you will need a larger proper bass machine head to properly hold the string.

As for an example build, here is one of mine. 1 String Diddley Bass Canjo. 34 inch scale length, 80 gauge A string, sounded great with the paired 25mm Piezo Discs.

Hope this has been helpful

Where are your piezo discs attached, to the back?

If I am doing just a straight plank (no can), where would be best to attach the pickup?

For a normal coil I'd put it where it would be on a standard bass, beneath the string where you pluck. But with a piezo disc would you just mount it to the wood?

Thanks for answering me newbie questions.

I've built too of these in the past, the one above has one either side of the string up near the neck end. the other one I built had 1 in the centre of the tin lid and the 2nd was underneath it also in the centre of the tin. I got a decent sound from both, but I would recommend, if you use 2, having one either side of the string near the plucking area as the sound is overall just more balanced.

for a straight plank, I'd go for one under the bridge and another further up under the plucking area in order to get the most out of them. do keep in mind that, with the piezos directly mounted to the plank, everything will heard, every touch and movement you make will be picked up.

Hope this helpful.

Hi, just keep in mind, magnetic pickups read string vibration, usually mounted on solid timber. But also work on hollow body instruments, tho can feed back at high volumes.

Disc type piezo pickups/sensors read timber vibration, and are more likely to also read any tonal qualities in the instrument. Solid timber I would think would be lacking in the tone department. A piezo will still work on solid timbers. Less vibration = less output/quality.


So I should definitely go with a regular pickup instead of piezo right? That's what I was thinking, a solid wood body won't have enough reverb for a piezo to really transmit nicely.

A rod piezo under the saddle or a disk piezo sandwiched between the bridge and the solid body will work just as well for an acoustic as a solid body.


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