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Gauges for low tunings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by SpacewitchIan, Dec 14, 2012.


  1. SpacewitchIan

    SpacewitchIan

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    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?
     
  2. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Dingwall ABZ Player Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    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.
     
  3. knumbskull

    knumbskull

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    i always like to chip in on Drop C threads... :)

    i use:
    125
    90
    70
    50

    ...usually Rotosound steels.

    EDIT just re-read the OP - that doesn't sound like dropped C at all :confused:
     
  4. SpacewitchIan

    SpacewitchIan

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2012
    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 ;-)
     
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  6. ixlramp

    ixlramp

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    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.)
     
  7. bassboysam

    bassboysam

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Yup, no happy medium there. either get another bass or learn how to play the standard tuning songs on the low tuning.
     
  8. jabsys

    jabsys

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    I've never heard that called Drop C over here (UK), everybody calls that Drop A#.
     
  9. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Dingwall ABZ Player Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    Jesus, A# or Bb isn't even close to the same thing as a C. Whoever taught you this terminology is an ass.
     
  10. MarkA

    MarkA Registered Schmoozer. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    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.
     
  11. TheEmptyCell

    TheEmptyCell Dingwall ABZ Player Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2005
    Location:
    Syracuse, NY
    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.
     
  12. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Thou shall not F*** up the groove Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    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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