Seven String Bass Tuning

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Fatalistic, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. Fatalistic


    Feb 16, 2011
    Now, this is a question I thought I had the answer to. I just want to check after a double-take at the Conklin 7-string string sets gauges.

    The tuning for seven string bass... is F#BEADGC, right? And not BEADGCF?

    'Cause if I really decide to go for a seven stringer and spend my days learning it... I need to know what strings to order.
  2. Rockin Mike

    Rockin Mike Supporting Member

    May 27, 2011
    I guess you could do it either way.

    There may be a difference in the tension on the neck.
    Check with the manufacturer to see what the bass is made for.
  3. pointbass

    pointbass Semi-Retired Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Monroe Twp, NJ
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works/Barker Bass
    Those are the two most common tunings, with the BEADGCF being likely the most popular. But extended range guys do all sorts of different configurations, a lot of the standard "tune-in-4th" rules go out the window with 7+ string basses ...

    Also, most 7's do not have tension issues regardless of tuning, unless you're trying to do something very strange the basses will likely handle different tunings quite well (assuming you have a decent bass to begin with) .... :cool:
  4. bassteban


    Aug 12, 2004
    Northern California
    I tuned my 7 BEADGCF but if I ever get another(sold it- it was fretless & I couldn't hang)I would probably occasionally go BEADGBE- so as to mimic a *standard* guitar's tuning, to facillitate chords in the higher registers. Bottom line, tune however you like- there are probably strings in just the right gauge for whatever you might want.
  5. Fatalistic


    Feb 16, 2011
    I always thought the tuning of the seven string was F#BEADGC... so that's how I would like it; with the F# to be extra low and chaotic.
    It's a good thing to know that if I decide I don't like the tuning, I can get it readjusted to the higher tuning.
  6. throbgod13

    throbgod13 Supporting Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    understand that if you tune down to F#, you really have to have a rig that's capable of it..

    the Conklin Bill Dickens GrooveTools has a Bart preamp that has a internal setting to go to F#..
  7. MNAirHead


    Nov 22, 2008
    Minnesota - Twin Cities
    B is about the limit for most gear...

    I endded up buying now amps/pa to work with a B... would have been a ton more work to then drop it down to F#
  8. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    I was going to say that my Bill Dickens has that internal setting so the bass is obviously designed for either low B or F#. I presume same goes for other Conklins. I've played some basses with a low F# string and I never found it useful. So I always string with Low B. Some folks do seem to like/use it, but I've never found much need for those few low notes below B either on a bass or on the piano. But the extended high end (once I get the hang of adding the top string into my scales) does seem very useful to me for certain things. (solos, chords etc.)

    Although I haven't bought any new strings yet, this had me going because I didn't remember any F# strings last time I looked at conklin strings! And indeed, a quick check shows sizes about .020 to .130. in a slightly lighter and heavier gauge. Which is exactly the guages of my usual D'addario XL strings. And then looking closer I note that Conklin lists an individual F# string as .0150. So clearly they sell strings for both arrangements, but it seems the low B is the more popular one. With .130 as an F# string that would end up with a pretty light set IMHO.

    For a minute there you guys had me going!
  9. Nephilymbass

    Nephilymbass Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2011
    Fayetteville Ft Bragg NC
    I'm way late on this one but I have a 7 and I tried stringing it f#-c. It just doesn't work well. The reason is if you have a high power cab. I use the ampeg 810. Itll sound ok to you but the average PA at your local club won't have the headroom and the low notes either fart out or are much quiter than your b string. I came to the conclusion that g# g and f# are very hard to distinguish from one another anyways. So I currently tune my 7 beadgcf but I will drop my b to A or even g# for some songs. I like this the most because Im two frets away from the range f an 8 string bass. If your jamming with 8 string guitar players just play the e string. It works well it sounds tighter. And using the low b for certain parts stand out awesomely
  10. TolerancEJ


    May 27, 2010
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I have a Conklin Bill Dickens Groove Tools model, tuned as BEADGCF. If I ever pick up another 7-string, I will probably tune it as F#BEADGC.
  11. olarrian


    Mar 5, 2012
    This really depends on the music your playing, but even playing really heavy(death metal ish) music I have never needed anything as low as an F#, I just wrote heavier music.
  12. spade2you


    Jan 11, 2007
    somewhere in middle America
    I tune my fretless 7 to BEADGBE, mostly so I can use thicker strings for the high B and E to get it less nasal.
  13. dabedus


    Aug 8, 2011
    The best source I've found, by far, is Circle K. They have gauges all the way up to .254 and scale lengths up to 40".
  14. dabedus


    Aug 8, 2011
    BTW, in my experience, you'll need a scale length of 38" or longer to get a decent timbre and discernible pitch from a low F#. I have one on a 39" fretless.
  15. Jean Baudin

    Jean Baudin

    Aug 27, 2003
    redwood city, ca
    Endorsing Artist: See Profile
    I've had crystal clear, piano-like F#'s from 36", 35" and 34" scale.
  16. miiitch


    Nov 27, 2011
    BEADGCF here.
    can´t even go lower than C, because I installed a damper before the first fret (for tapping .. I do it all the time), but I don´t even feel the need to :)
    using a 150Hz lowcut, there´s not much left of notes that low ;)

    17-25-35-55-75-95-120 for 35" scale length


    Jan 4, 2002
    Endorsing artist:see profile.

    Not true at all.

  18. dabbler


    Aug 17, 2007
    Bowie, MD

    In principle, I agree with you. However, I could see value in tuning that way, not for the notes below the B, but for having access to the B farther up the neck ( iow, for playing across the neck).

    For the record, I do not have, nor intend to get a 7 string. :cool:
  19. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    It's an older comment, I know, but people keep saying this even today so I suppose it is worth repeating that tension is not an issue. Use string tension charts from D'Addario or Circle K and order strings to give you the string by string and total neck tension that you want. This is true no matter how many strings your bass has and no matter how you want to tune it. If you have a lot of strings or a really odd tuning then perhaps only Circle K makes the strings you would need, but chances are that Circle K does make them. People closer to the norm can likely get their strings from Bass Strings Online too.


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