Up tuning?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by miketallica315, Jun 30, 2013.


  1. miketallica315

    miketallica315

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2009
    Location:
    Toledo, OH
    Hello all,
    I recently joined a hard rock band with a good friend of mine. He is so set on playing in drop C tuning. I hate tuning a bass down more than a half step. Trying to be optimistic, I tried an experiment. I took one of my SR5'S that I normally tune low to high B E A D G with regular slinkys and tuned it up... way up. With the same set of strings, I tuned the bass low to high C G C F Bb. I obviously had to adjust the neck but it does work out well. Is this higher tuning going to cause damage to my bass?
  2. Nihilism

    Nihilism

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2011
    You should take it to a tech to set it up that way. And to your question, drop tuning causes more tension to the strings.
  3. thehangingmist

    thehangingmist

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2007
    Location:
    New Delhi, India
    :help:
  4. knumbskull

    knumbskull

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    it's advisable to use appropriate string gauges for any tuning, so that the tension is roughly even across the neck... so you are currently putting uneven tension on your neck, which can cause twisting.

    you are certainly *risking* causing damage if you leave it like that long-term.

    FWIW, I use this set for drop-C tuning (on a 4-string, obviously!):

    .125
    .90
    .70
    .50

    ...you'd want to add a .30 on to that for a 5er.
  5. Immigrant

    Immigrant

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2010
    Location:
    West of Stumptown, USA
    Mmm. So, the OP would be cranking a .155 B up to a C? Yikes.

    I'd go with light gauge strings (like a .120-125) on a five set up for "up tuning". But actually, I would just play the five the tuned "normally" and re-learn everything. But that's just me, and I ain't the brightest.
  6. knumbskull

    knumbskull

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    ah, i wasn't being being clear. i meant the OP would add a .30 string as the highest string on a 5er set. so:

    .125
    .90
    .70
    .50
    .30

    i tried a few different gauges for the low C and found i liked the .125 best. certainly wouldn't go much heavier than that!

    I also tried using "regular" open B tuning and playing like that (with guitarists in drop C). it was kind of a pain! - then again, the band played fairly fast heavy metal with a lot of riffs jumping off the low C.

    as with all these things, YMMV :)

    EDIT actually you are right, a good compromise might be to tune up a light BEADG set to open C (C F Bb Eb Ab)
  7. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Location:
    Milton Keynes, UK
    In no way.
  8. powmetalbassist

    powmetalbassist Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    What about standard tuning and put a Capo across at C effectively fixing all problems of tuning and tension.
  9. cfsporn

    cfsporn

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2011
    Location:
    New York City
    I am a big fan of cello tuning. On a five string, that would be C0,G0,D1,A2,E2.
  10. spz8

    spz8

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Location:
    Glen Cove, NY
    Oh boy... :rollno:
  11. BioWeapon

    BioWeapon

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2013
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Who's the fool who told you that removing tension from the strings would add tension to the strings? :confused:
    Drop tuning does certainly not add tension!
  12. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Moderator Supporting Member

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    Endorsing Artist: Levy's Leathers
    I feel this is the best option.
  13. Nephilymbass

    Nephilymbass Supporting Member

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    Feb 7, 2011
    Location:
    Fayetteville Ft Bragg NC
    I played with a band for a short time that used that tuning. I just tuned c standard instead of drop c. I used the dr high beams with a .125 b string
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Colorado
    I would just use BEADG ... I know that would frustrate the guitarists ... but heck that is half the fun ... play your bass part without retuning ... Awesome
  15. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Just remember that if you're dropping tuning, a higher gauge string is preferable if you're keeping it there to have more string tension. The opposite is true for higher tuning. You need to come down on the gauge a little.
  16. Baird6869

    Baird6869 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    +1 but I used a .130 B and I tuned C#.

    I did this every gig as the singer couldn't sing Living on a Prayer (Bon Jovi) in E. I really need the open string/octave for that song so I tuned up for one song. I tuned a 4 sting down for a few gigs but even with heavy strings it was floppy.

    If you tune up (or down) but tune it back to 440-ish after a gig/rehearsal, IME no adjustment is required.
  17. thebandcircle

    thebandcircle

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
    Location:
    (Santa Cruz)
    I have also tuned a fiver up to C with lighter gauge strings. Talk about a tight Low C! Felt great on a Status Graphite, string action hardly moved...

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