Standard Tuning vs Half Step Down

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by tapehead, Oct 8, 2013.


  1. tapehead

    tapehead

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    I am in a variety rock/funk/soul band. We were tuning 1/2 step down before we got a keyboard player. Now we are in standard. Problem is, keyboard player (and singer to a degree) want to do all songs in the recorded key.

    Well, this puts songs that are recorded a half step down in odd positions like the 4th fret, 6th fret, 8th, etc...I hate playing in these positions.
    Also, if there's a low E in these songs you will not be playing your open E, thereby losing some heavy lowend. These are just not natural positions.

    Anyone else had this issue come up?
     
  2. topo morto

    topo morto

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    Is it an electronic keyboard? He can just transpose it with a setting in the menu. Keyboard player has no say :)

    Singer has the most say in these kinds of things if its a case where they aren't comfortable...
     
  3. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

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    Been there! We used to separate the flat tuned songs into small groupings and just switched instruments to play those. Otherwise, we just played those songs a half-step up (into standard tuning). If your singer can hang with it, go for it.

    I hear you 100% on using open strings (Eb). Eb on the 5th string is pretty close to an open Eb, but on a 4 string bass, the higher Eb sounds way out of place. Try playing it the "goofy" way and see what the band says. Sometimes that is the only way to handle it.
     
  4. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1

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    I have had to deal with this before and I stayed in E flat tuning. On songs that I needed to play in standard that required a low E now became F. It may not feel natural to you but with some minor adjustments to your playing style, it shouldn't be a problem for you. It may not feel natural to you, but really, you should be comfortable in all positions. The only other option is to have a spare bass so you can have each tuned a half step apart.
     
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  6. topo morto

    topo morto

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    That's a good workaround if he can't just set 'transpose' to '-1'.
     
  7. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

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    BTW: If you downtune, you really should re-setup your bass for it.

    FWIW: I think you’d get more replies if you posted your question on the correct forum rather than "Band Management".

    Maybe the Mods will move this thread to the correct forum for you.
     
  8. tapehead

    tapehead

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    Which would be the best forum? I really didnt find one that applied..(Live Sound?)
     
  9. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

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    IMO, this is probably a Technique question.

    But, anyway, I use a HipShot detuner set to Eb for exactly this reason. Eb is such a common horn key that a player must be able to quickly switch in a cover situation. The HipShot is the ticket for me.
     
  10. Lobomov

    Lobomov

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    Why have you gone back to standard tuning in the first place?
     
  11. Uncle Psychosis

    Uncle Psychosis

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    I've never understood this need for everyone in the band to play in the same tuning. Its a completely alien concept to me.

    The key of the song is the key of the song. Its up to each individual bandmember to then play the right notes in the right place at the right time regardless of whether they're tuned to Eb or E or drop D or whatever.

    You should just tune your bass to whatever it needs to be tuned to in order to best get through the set. In your case that sounds like Eb.
     
  12. spaz21387

    spaz21387

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    I only play in drop d tuning. My guitarist only plays in E. I prefer drop d it seems easier to me. You and your band can sound great in different tunings.
     
  13. eukatheude

    eukatheude

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    +1
    I think it's because they need to watch each other's hands.
     
  14. Thrash3r

    Thrash3r

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    Some songs are just more practical if you play in the same tuning, take the opening riff to Caught In A Mosh,

    G||-------------------------------------------------------------||
    D||o-----------------------------------------------------------o||
    A||o-----------------------------------------------------------o||
    E||--0-0-1-0-0-3-0-0-4-0-5-0-6-7-8-0-0-1-0-0-3-0-0-4-0-5-8-7-6--||


    Easy enough riff if you're tuned standard, not so easy when you're tuned Eb or Drop D and you need to fret E every time instead of just hitting the open E.
     
  15. eukatheude

    eukatheude

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    More comfy, yeah, but if your guitarist wanted to play it in D# and managed to play it decently, why would you object?
     
  16. 73jbass

    73jbass Gold Supporting Member

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    All the more reason to play a 5 string. Just play it where it is on the fretboard.
     
  17. Thrash3r

    Thrash3r

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    because it wouldn't sound right played across the E & A strings, you don't get the same feeling to the riff as you do when it's just played on the E string, it feels more 'choppy' played across different strings.

    There's loads of songs that can't be played properly on a 5 string in standard tuning, so it's not always the answer.
     
  18. stoo

    stoo

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    Capo for songs in E?
     
  19. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

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    This may be the wrong place but help me please. I don't understand drop tuning. I get the capo thing for guitar players but bass players ? I may be old school and mean no disrespect but I just play it in the key if its Bb I play in Bb help me to understand
     
  20. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

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    You can get around that with a 5 string, low B.
    Playing in those "odd" positions is great training for really knowing the neck.
     
  21. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

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    Thanks
    I do play 5string mostly. I have a G&L L2500 fretted and frettless and a Michael Kelly Club Custom 5. When 4 strings calls me I have a 1990 G&LSB1 or a modified Squire P
     

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