Downtuning Gibson SG bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by b-bottom, Jan 4, 2013.


  1. b-bottom

    b-bottom Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2006
    Location:
    Knoxville TN
    I play in a pretty doomy band that tunes down to C# and sometimes drop B.
    Right now I have a MIA Fender P bass that is set up for C# standard and I'm thinking about picking up another bass and get it set up for B standard.
    I dig the Gibson Sg bass but I'm on the fence about picking it up because I am not sure how it will handle and sound in such a low tuning.
    My concern is that it will sound super muddy, mor so than the P bass.

    Thoughts?
  2. Figjam

    Figjam Supporting Member

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    Aug 5, 2003
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    Boston, MA
    Just curious what aspects of the SG bass attracted you to it?
  3. StrangerDanger

    StrangerDanger Neo Maxie Zoom Dweebie Supporting Member

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    The strings will be loose like yarn and it will sound super muddy.
  4. b-bottom

    b-bottom Supporting Member

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    Dec 18, 2006
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    Knoxville TN
    I dug the short scale and just the way that it plays. I like that you have to fight it a bit
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  6. b-bottom

    b-bottom Supporting Member

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    Dec 18, 2006
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    Knoxville TN
    If the bass is set up in that tuning the strings won't be floppy. This is what I had done to the P bass.
    However I'm more curious about the sound because I've never heard one of those basses tuned that low before
  7. Figjam

    Figjam Supporting Member

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    If you use thick strings I think youll be fine. It will be a really full tone without mids I imagine.
  8. hsech

    hsech Don't try to argue with an old fart. Gold Supporting Member

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    I own a Gibson SG bass, and IMHO it probably would sound muddy being downtuned. My SG sounds muddy in standard tuning if my amp isn't tweaked really well. Just my opinion.
  9. b-bottom

    b-bottom Supporting Member

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    Knoxville TN
    That's kind of what I was thinking would happen.
  10. DrSpunkwater

    DrSpunkwater

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    Sep 17, 2012
    I keep my SG bass tuned to Eb and it sounds fine. If you use the BEAD from a 5-string set for B standard, I don't see why the bass wouldn't be able to handle it.
  11. b-bottom

    b-bottom Supporting Member

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    I'm sure that it would handle it. I'm just wondering if the overall sound would be even more muddy than the P bass
  12. PWRL

    PWRL

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    Sep 15, 2006
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    I've drop tuned an Epiphone EB-0 to drop D before and it was pretty floppy. I don't think I'd do it again, but with the right setup it might work out.
  13. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

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    I use a short-scale Gibson Flying V bass for some songs in Drop C. It is not in any way "muddy." It helps to have a heavier low string -- I use a set of LaBella's with a .110 thickest string. For anything lower than C I would probably get a 5-string set and toss the thinnest string.

    I will say that the bass is short on mids, which means it doesn't cut through the mix with two loud rock/metal guitars as well as my main Carvin bass. I imagine the SG would be similar. But if you're in a "doomy" band, you may appreciate the heavy low end -- I wouldn't recommend it as a primary bass for, say, a thrash band, but it might be right up your alley. A lot of this can be manipulated by EQ as well.
  14. StrangerDanger

    StrangerDanger Neo Maxie Zoom Dweebie Supporting Member

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    I'm not sure what that means. I'm not much on set ups for down tuning, can you explain that to me?
  15. grisezd

    grisezd

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    I'm not sure what the poster meant, as a setup can't change string tension (much, perceived tension maybe), but if you use a heavy enough string you can tune to sub-audible tunings and still not have floppy strings.

    I play short scales in Eb and find that I have to use at least a medium gauge string to be happy with the tension. If I tuned down any lower I'd consider using a BEAD set and tuning up slightly.

    With the tension sorted out, there's no reason that the bass would sound muddier in a lower tuning.
  16. hdracer

    hdracer Supporting Member

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    I have LaBella 760FM .049-.109 strings on my SG.
    They will do a drop D no problem
    I just tried a C# not to bad, B no way.
  17. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

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    Nobody is stupid enough to actually pay me to play their gear.
    Drop C# on my P or J basses....a bit floppy but not a huge problem with heavy strings.

    The 2009 Gibson SG RI I used to own tuned to C#.... Farts. Seriously....down 3 semitones on a 30" bass just doesn't work for me. Tuning a BEAD set up may work but I never bothered.
  18. DrSpunkwater

    DrSpunkwater

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    Sep 17, 2012
    By it's very nature, an SG bass is going to sound "darker" than a P-bass. Muddy? I don't know. I play my SG through an Ampeg, and the last thing I would call the tone is mud. It sounds very deep. If you already like the bass, everything should be fine and dandy.
  19. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

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