Tuning an upright down a whole step
I couldn't find anything on this...
If I tune down a whole step on all strings, do I need to adjust the bridge location, for proper scaling, or just adjust the action to compensate for the lower string tension?
Thanks in advance
Same bridge location.
You might need to raise your action because of the lower tension (about 20 to 25% lower!) of the strings which leads to larger amlitudes.
You might even want a set of higher tension strings, specially if your current set already has a lower tension.
And it might take up to two weeks until the bass settles because of the reduced top pressure. You might get unexpected wolfes that may vanish during that time (but that might not happen).
Some basses handle detuning easily, they adjust quickly and without fuss (mine does). Others will be a pain, the tuning will be unstable for weeks and they get wolfs and other strange sounds. Try yours, and see what happens, but don't be surprised if it doesn't like it.
As has been said, don't move the bridge, raising it a bit might be necessary to get rid of the rattles.
Thanks for the input!
What are wolfes? Just string noise?
Wolf tones happen when the bass is overloaded with a certain vibration, i.e. when you play on one note (for me it's usually the Bb on the D string). It's more than string noise.. it makes it tough to bow smoothly as the string is bouncing erratically. So rather than a smooth -------------------- sound you would get -- --- -- -- -- -- -- -- --. Not sure if that visual makes any sense. It's enough of a pain having just one wolf tone.
[2^(2/12)]^2, or @ 26% less tension.
Again, why? The conventional solution is either a 5-string or have an extension fitted to the E string.
If it's a matter of tension, one can use solo strings tuned down from A to G, etc. I know this is no new revelation.
Steve Gilmore does this. I briefly played his bass (several years ago) and they felt just fine.
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