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5-string E to B?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by nostatic, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I know that the traditional 5-string alternative is stringing E to C. Anyone tune the C down to B to mimic guitar tuning? I've got a bunch of guitar chord knowledge and while straight 4ths makes sense, it is a total cognitive dissonance (at least to me) if you have decades on guitar as well as 4-string and 5-string (with low B) bass.
  2. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    It is your bass ... tune it how you want to.
  3. SpamBot


    Dec 25, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    I see this a lot in sevens and up to allow for the full guitar tuning.
  4. I've tuned the G to an F# on a 5 string to have the same intervals. But unless you have two strings (the b and e on a guitar) tuned like that, there isn't really much to gain IMO. You need the high b and e string (or analogue) in order to play cool lead guitar patterns, or most guitar chords.

    But do whatever you like.
  5. SpamBot


    Dec 25, 2008
    St. Paul, MN
    To add to my previous post, I feel the only benefit of the major third in guitar tuning is for chording, particularly barres. It makes a lot more sense IMO to keep a consistent interval between strings for easy transposition.

  6. nostatic

    nostatic Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2004
    lost angeles, CA
    Endorsing Artist: FEA Labs
    I'm not worried about maintaining bass intervals as I'm not likely to mess around with the high B/C much on "bass lines." I'm thinking I'd only use it for chordal stuff (that I currently don't do much on bass) and in that case it would be much easier if the tuning directly mimics the guitar as I've figured out those positions. For soloing I don't feel the need for the high E - back in the day I played plenty a song with a broken E string :D

    I was just curious if others have tried it. I can see the logic in tuning to C for someone who is only a bass player and has learned their voicings and chord positions all in 4ths.

    What I'm thinking is a short scale 5-string. Sort of an alternative to a Baritone.
  7. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I ordered my first 5 string in 1990 that way.
  8. As a guitarist/bassist, this makes perfect sense to me.
    Like you, I would rather play chords than "lead" lines in the upper registers and a C string would confuse and frustrate me.
  9. bassbenj


    Aug 11, 2009
    There are quite a few bass players who tune that way. Some even tune a 6 string bass like a guitar (but with normal bass pitches) Usually they are people who also play guitar or used to be guitarists. Like you, they want to maximize the utility of their knowledge (usually of chords) that they learned on guitar.

    The deal is this. Standard tuning on a guitar is designed to make as many chords as possible reachable. So in that sense it's sort of optimum. But a bass tuned in fourths has the advantage that scale patterns can be moved up and down the neck or even side to side starting on different strings without changing the pattern. That is usually optimum for a bass because chords are usually not what is played (exceptions being solos and certain types of music using ERB notes.)

    So take your pick. If you are using the upper range only for chords or solos then guitar tuning makes a lot of sense. After all you already know the chords and guitar scales even if you can't move them around.

    Personally, I never learned guitars with standard tuning (Now I play open tunings almost exclusively) And having just bought a 7 string bass, [also have 7 string guitar with Spanish tuning with added low G] I'm going to have to dig in to 7 string chords for bass tuning. Of course open tunings on guitar are worse because the scale patterns change for each tuning!

    Hey. Music is art. Try anything. If it works, it works! If it doesn't, then try something else.
  10. You mean like the original Fender 5-string bass from the late '60s?. It looked like a Mustang, had a high "C" and 16(?) frets.
  11. bassfuser


    Jul 16, 2008
    Wasn't there a Fender 6 string bass that was tuned like a guitar but an octave lower?
  12. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    My 7-string used to have two Hipshot Xtenders so that I could drop the C & F down to B & E. For sus2 chord voicings, this makes life much easier.

    Do whatever you want. It takes all of 8 seconds to change it back to a C and there would be zero truss rod adjustments needed.
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I grow organic carrots and they are not for sale
    I am still waiting for somebody to tune a 5 string DGCFA#
  14. Why don't you try it then? :confused:

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