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4 String in Drop A# Tuning

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by bigjoe, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. bigjoe


    Feb 26, 2005
    Hello all,
    Recently I have been required to play in drop a# tuning as well as standard. Unfortunately at the moment, I only have 1 bass (Warwick Corvette, 4 string) which I have been dropping to this tuning for demo recordings. However live I am going to need another bass to cover this tuning. I don't really like playing 5 strings all that much so I was thinking of getting a Thumb, making that my main bass, and then using the Corvette as my a# bass live. Is this a good idea? Will having the strings at this tuning do something to the neck? Would you recommend using normal heavy gauge strings or putting low b, e, a, d on instead and then dropping that. Or alternatively, is this the totally wrong thing to do, in which case should I get a 5 (such as a Schecter elite). The 5 for me is a last resort, and if the other idea could work I'd really prefer that. Any advice you guys could give me would be just swell, thanks in advance.
  2. darkfish01


    Feb 11, 2005
    San Marcos, Tx
    If you have the money, go for the Warwick Thumb. There's no point in getting a 5 string if you don't want one.
  3. i would say get teh thumb, on ur corvette get heavy BEAD strings and keep them at Bb Eb Ab Db (what i assume u have for A# tunning all fourths) also get a setup done you will probly need a trus rod adjustment or something, I dont know much about setups except you will need one done
  4. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    If you wanna keep your 4, just get it strung up BEAD, tune half a step down, and take it into your local shop and have everything adjusted to where it's playable and stays in tune. You may have to have a nut adjustment, possibly a permanent one, so make sure this is what you wanna do before switching over. Otherwise just the the Thumb. It sounds better detuned anyhow (I know). :bassist:
  5. if that isnt what i said, its what i ment
  6. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I would man it out with a good 5 string tuned down 1/2 step, IMO switching basses mid-gig is a pain..
  7. RedVampyre


    Jan 10, 2005
    Alabama, USA
    Get a Thumb 4, get some heavy gauge strings... I'd recommend a set of Warwick Black Label strings 45-135... Just use the 65 85 105 135... Make sure to set the intonation properly. That should do the job.
  8. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I would NOT get the Warwick. I used one for a while and had a horrible time doing anything other than standard E. No amount of setup, tweaking, or string gage switching could even get me a drop D setup that played and sounded decent.

    Then the neck warped horribly courtesy of our wonderful Mid Atlantic weather.

    I don't think Warwicks like me.
  9. RedVampyre


    Jan 10, 2005
    Alabama, USA
    That's just ridiculous. Ryan Martinie uses Thumb 4's tuned to CGCF and Thumb 5's tuned to GCGCF. He has done over 600 shows with some of them with a problem.

    Did you keep your bass outside or on a balcony? I can understand that you have some crazy weather conditions in Maryland but still... did you bother contacting Dana B Goods after this happened?
  10. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    Actually yeah, they told me that tuning outside standard pitch was considered "abusive" to the instrument. :eyebrow:

    I guess I can understand this to a degree, but I don't think the tuning had much to do with the later neck problems. It sure didn't sound good though, Ryan must have a better tech than me.

    The neck warp was completely the fault of climate, the bass was stored in a case, with AC and everything, but still had to leave the house for gigs and practices. That was enough.

    I've been told Walnut is very prone to warpage under high humidity conditions, wish I'd known that before I bought the bass.

    On a side note, what the hell kind of amp and cab does he use to get down to G and still sound that clean and tight?
  11. RedVampyre


    Jan 10, 2005
    Alabama, USA
    Last I heard, he was using an Ampeg SVT-2, 8x10 cabs and a DBX 160 compressor. He's also using an Avalon U5 as a DI.
  12. there's bassist here that have 8+ stringers tuned to F# and the even lower C# so it is possible to play that low without sounding like diareha
  13. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    I know, but don't most of them use fairly complex biamp/pre/power rigs? I was pretty sure Ryan just used basic heads and cabs.

    An ampeg 810? On a low G? That's impressive. I played through that cab yesterday and it couldn't even do my B string well.
  14. Jmann


    Apr 29, 2003
    Lexington, Ky
    he uses an SVT 4 now... i have a thumb and i use it for drop d all the time... no problems here
  15. I think if you use the BEAD of a 5 string set, the tension ought to be relatively close to 4 strings turned to EADG. Get a 5 string set with similar or slightly bigger guages for the EADG strings to what you are using now while tuned normally to keep the tension close, then use the BEAD strings from the 5 set tuned to A#.


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