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4 string sets for half step down tuning?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Stinsok, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    A buddy asked me if I could recommend some but I've never bought any specifically for that. He plays country and classic rock. Whatcha using?
  2. TechZilla


    Jun 18, 2005
    Owensboro, KY
    I always used my standard 45-105 Stainless Steels. Depending on the bass it might require a slight truss rod or intonation adjustment but for 1/2 step down they did just fine even with Drop-D. Anything lower things seems to get floppy. I always hated that tuning but my last 2 bands used it. I'm not a singer but they seemed to be the driving force behind that tuning.
  3. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    If you set the bass up for the alt tuning, any medium set ought to work. The trick to not tune them up and down. New strings and tune them up to the desired 1/2 down and you're fine.
  4. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    The floppyness is his biggest issue.
  5. brianmharrison


    Oct 11, 2007
  6. JES

    JES Supporting Member

    Kalium. Choose your tension. Or BSO.
  7. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007

    Dunlop Super Brights Nickels, 45 to 105.
    S.B.'s on my old, old, old passive Fender Jazz, S.B.'s on my new active Fender Elite Jazz.
    Both basses tuned down half a step in a new country/old country band, tuned up to 440 for a classic rock band.
    Neither bass has had to have any changes made in set-up.....
  8. Both of my bands play a mix of country and classic rock. I have a set of ECB 81 Chromes on both my main and back up basses. Works well for the genre and I can't tell any difference in tension between standard tuning and 1/2 step down. BTW both bands play in 1/2 step down tuning. Whatever strings you use , there really isn't much difference in string tension between standard and 1/2 step down unless the strings you are using are already pretty floppy in standard tuning. If that's the case , just go to the next heaviest strings.
    bassbully likes this.
  9. you can use any string and tune down. I tune down a half step on all strings and have used every brand out there. it doesn't matter.
    Sound&Fury, bassbully and lz4005 like this.
  10. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Half step down shouldn't be a problem for any string.
    If it's too floppy get the next heavier size of the same ones.
    el murdoque and bassbully like this.
  11. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I agree there isn't much of a difference to me in just a half step down that's how my five is setup and I notice no difference from standard tuning. It could be the Chromes also. They are pretty high tension and tuned a half step low are perfect for country and classic rock which is what I play.
    sharkbait130 likes this.
  12. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    This, combined with fresh strings. Usually the same set works if it's only half a step.
  13. MrJohnston138

    MrJohnston138 Banned

    Jan 14, 2017
    Cortez, Colorado
    If he tunes a half step down, and the strings are floppy, try a string set with slightly higher tension. Just make sure he's restringing the bass properly, checking string height, truss rod adjustment, saddle height, etc.
    Half a step in tuning should not give that noticeable a change in string tension.
  14. iiipopes

    iiipopes Supporting Member

    May 4, 2009
    On the bass I have specifically set up for down tune, I use Ernie Ball flats (regular, not cobalt) in 45-60-80-105. With the flats having a ribbon wrap, therefore no gap between the windings as with rounds, they have more mass and therefore more tension than conventional roundwound strings in the same gauges. So they hold a little more tension and lend themselves better to tuning down a fret to Eb-Ab-Db-Gb. Moreover, they have a little bit of growl in their tone that La Bella flats and D'Addario Chromes do not have, so they retain presence and good articulation.

    What helps is not necessarily the strings, but making sure your bass has clarity. I have a maple body bass, which has the natural mid-bass dip for clarity. Bubinga, Swamp ash, Zebrawood, and other similar hard woods for the body are also good. Alder will work, but could get mushy, and any of the mid-range woods, like mahogany, or the Asian or southern hemisphere cousins, will have too much mids and the tone will definitely be mushy when down tuning. And I have moderately wound humbucking pickups so that they minimize hum and noise, but do not have any midrange hump, which also detracts from clarity.
  15. Anders Barfod

    Anders Barfod

    Jan 16, 2015
    Always go up one size in string gauge from where you are in E standard when you tune down.. Some people like a light roundwound 40-100 in standard,, Going to E-flat go up to 45-105Hz.. If you are allready in 45-105 in standard (like a tight feel) go to a Dunlop, DR or Rotosound 50-110 set..... Those will even work in D-standard if you like a low tension.. GHS makes a 50-115 set or Daddario balanced tension with a thick 120 low E string if you want that low D to have some tightness..
    But rig wise,, Not all rigs that sound perfect in E-standard will sound "great" in D standard.. An ampeg 810 with a -3dB range of 58-5000Hz (-10dB on the low E1~41Hz) will tend to go beyond its excursion limit if you really push the bass knob with a low B0-D1.

    If you are used to a 45-105 in standard E, going to E-flat with the same strings set you will need to soften your touch a little or the attack will get a little too sharp.. One remedy is to tune to 439Hz instead of 440Hz if your less tense strings tend to go sharp..
    My band are tuning down a half step (singer singing everything a half step lower since he is getting tired in standard E), and we use the same string gauge but we actually sound a little less "clean" and actually sharper in relation to 440Hz than when we played in E-standard..

    I experimented at home with string gauge on my guitar,, and with a standard 10-46 daddario XLs I did not like the lack of tension when I got below 430Hz or 39.8 cents flat on my telecaster.. half step is 100 cent (415.3Hz). THe good thing is that my leadsinger actually sound better at 430Hz than going a full half step down so we can continue to use the same string gauge and sound a little tighter than the playing in E-flat.. I can't understand that not more bands with flexible instruments (in relation to tuning),, experiment with pitch.. there is a hole world to discover out there beyond A4=440Hz..
    A lot of nice rock hits is played outside of standard tuning..
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
    DD Gunz likes this.
  16. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    I run all my basses a half step down using XL's. never an issue with tension. As already mentioned, set up the bass at that tuning and there will be no issues.
  17. Anders Barfod

    Anders Barfod

    Jan 16, 2015
    What scale lenght/bass and string gauge do you use in E-flat ? Do you do anything else than a adjustment of the truss rod..Do you have to change the intonation at the bridge ??
  18. DD Gunz

    DD Gunz

    Jun 18, 2015
    45-105's on 34 scale P Basses. I set them up and did truss rod adjustments and intonation as a usual setup. I maintain it like you would anything else, but it's no different than E standard tuning IMO. If you need to make an adjustment it will become evident.
  19. Anders Barfod

    Anders Barfod

    Jan 16, 2015
    I agree 45-105 on a long scale (34") or 10-46 set on a long scale guitar (25.5") works perfect in E-flat.. Just always use a new set and tune it up to E-flat..
    Using strings that have been in standard E for a couple of weeks and then tuned down to E-flat are not a good idea..
    DD Gunz likes this.
  20. SanDiegoHarry

    SanDiegoHarry Banned Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2008
    San Diego, CA
    Any string will work fine. I've done this many times, never once had to stress about my strings.

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