Gauges for low tunings
I play a Fender precision in an old school rock and roll band, the last strings I bought were 45-105. So far so good. However, I have now also joined a doom metal band which tunes down to dropped C (i.e. the bottom string down to A#). Using my existing strings the bottom String JUST BARELY manages the A#. I can't afford a second quality bass and wouldn't want to gig with a cheap one when I have a Fender sitting at home - so I want to use the one guitar with both tunings. Would going a little heavier (say 110) satisfy both tunings without causing problems at the nut?
110 will still flop around like a wet noodle. You need the lowest 4 strings from a 5 string set. Or try a drop-tuning set from Circle K Strings.
And by the way, drop C is CGCF, so you're probably in drop Bb ; BbFBbEb... Otherwise you're just in a really weird tuning.
You're never going to get a string set that can accommodate both tunings, so you're better off getting a set that can be tuned down permanently, and just learn the rock and roll songs in your new tuning.
i always like to chip in on Drop C threads... :)
...usually Rotosound steels.
EDIT just re-read the OP - that doesn't sound like dropped C at all :confused:
It's A# F A# D# - i.e. a standard C tuning with the lower string dropped by 2. In the UK most people I know call that dropped C - A "C" tuning which is dropped. I know y'all speak a different language over there ;-)
Switching between EADG and A#FA#D#? The tension change is huge, almost down to half tension, this will change the curve of the neck and your action in problematic ways: low action with loose strings and visa versa. Any compromise set will be under or over-tensioned in one or both tunings. Better to switch between C standard and drop A# and design a custom set of singles optimised for those 2 tunings (i can help you with that once you decide on your tunings.)
Yup, no happy medium there. either get another bass or learn how to play the standard tuning songs on the low tuning.
Jesus, A# or Bb isn't even close to the same thing as a C. Whoever taught you this terminology is an ass.
The terminology doesn't make sense to me either, but I think I can see where the confusion came in -- the top three strings in the tuning being what you'd find in a standard C tuning (all 4ths, two whole steps down from EADG).
Anyway, I, like others in this thread, have a hard time seeing a regular P-bass neck accommodating such changes in tension, but MAYBE it's possible with the right strings (I mean, Michael Manring does crazy things with his Hyperbass, but I don't think even he's dropping all the strings at one time). I wouldn't want to try it with my bass, though.
If you need the low tuning with the one band and you want to use one bass, tuning to C-standard (C F Bb Eb) and dropping the low string to Bb when you need to seems the most logical choice -- the compromise with dropping one string a whole step won't be nearly as bad as dropping three of them a major third and the fourth a tritone! I don't know how hard it'll be for you to play your rock band stuff in the new tuning, though.
The only other option I see -- aside from a tuning I haven't thought of that would work for both bands -- is a second bass. You could start with a cheap, used P-bass. Over here, a decent Peavey or Squier can be found for the price of half a dozen sets of strings. Might not be as nice as your Fender, but you're negating a lot of your Fender's potential with the tuning compromise anyway.
It is pure myth that changing tuning will cause harm to a neck. If it did, you'd f**k up the neck every time you changed strings.
If it stay's in Drop A# all the time, just go heavier then .110 :)
Something like .130 would be great. For standard tuning, I'm afraid for your neck a little bit :p
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