A Hidden Benefit to DGCF Tuning

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. So, I decided to tune my bass to DGCF tuning. I used to tune the BEAD, but I missed the G string, and I rarely played below D so I thought this was a good compromise. I also realized I could stick a capo on the neck on all four strings to get standard EADG tuning, or even on the top three strings to get Drop D tuning without having to relearn the fingerboard.

    Yesterday, I was playing a song I just started learning in EADG tuning that had a very quick descending chromatic run (E to Eb to D to DB to C on the A string) within the verse's main riff. I sometimes struggled to play this accurately in time, especially when I got to the C and I had to shift positions.

    Anyways, I tried playing this riff yesterday in the new DGCF tuning (which moved every note towards the bridge by a whole tone), and it was much easier to play accurately with the space between the frets being a little narrower.

    I realized that this gave me the playability of a short scale bass. Plus, I've read that a short scale bass has a bit of a rounder tone due to the lower tension, but I didn't notice this with my DGCF tuning on a 34" scale bass.

    Anyways, I just thought I'd share.


    Correlli, D.A.R.K., Maluku and 6 others like this.
  2. Anders Barfod

    Anders Barfod

    Jan 16, 2015
    Great share..

    String wise,, what works for you in DGCF tuinng on a 34" scale bass..??
    The common answers here on talkbass seems to be 50-70-90-110 or 55-75-90-110 if you like a tight C and F string.
    kbakerde and Matthew_84 like this.
  3. I bought single strings from BassStringsOnline.com and built my own set.

    I made it out of DR Stainless Steel Lo Riders and gauges are .115 - .085 - .060 - .045.

    I used a tension chart from Kalium Strings and tried to get somewhere near even tension on all strings. It’s not perfect (D is still the loosest and F is still the tightest), but the difference is much less than with traditional sets.
  4. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass. Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2019
    Interesting thread.
    Due to an accident when I was a baby I'm left with three fingers to use on my left hand. As I'm right handed playing a normal 6 string guitar is to say the least ackward (my middle finger is like bend and has nearly no movement at the last joint) and accords are quite limited, so I started playing bass which felt right for me (about 37 years ago).

    I picked up a very cheap bass to start with and had no idea how to tune it right except for the tuning between the strings which did know. So I started tuning the lowest string at what seemed a nice tone for me and that turned out to be the D, which led to the DGCF tuning mentioned here.
    Of course later on I learned the normal EADG tuning and tried it but somehow never got used to it. Each time I return to my DGCF tuning.
    The gauges I use are .125 - .100 - .80 - .60 which equal fender studio bass 5 string set discarding the .040 string
    I know it maybe weird but it works for me.
    As you can imagine on a 5 string bass I use the A-D-G-C-F tuning although I sometimes switch to D-G-C-F-Bb
  5. Yeah, I like the tuning. I’ve kept my basses in D standard ever since.

    When I got my 5 string fretless, I tuned it to D-G-C-F-Bb because I’d rather get the higher notes than lower ones on a fretless (use it to play jazz and things). Obviously, I can’t really use a capo with a fretless, but I don’t mind. I don’t really play riffs that relies on open strings anyway on the fretless, so it doesn’t really matter.
  6. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass. Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2019
    Kind of like me, the second bass I bought was a Peavey T20FL (yes the fretless) which has survived a sale of all basses during an economic declive in 2002 (luckily as it's now a very hard to find bass). I then vowed to recover them all which eventually I did including the rare Rail Bass.
    I now have 15 basses, 7 of them peaveys, including 6 string and as you 5 string fretless. I also built my own 4 string fretless and I'm currently working on a half acoustic 5 string fretless. On all of them I use the same tuning although not all of them have the gauges I mentioned, some of them retain their original strings it kinda depends upon the sound I want them to have. I'm a bit like Rick Wakeman who uses multiple keyboards to create different sounds while others use one or two with multiple setups.
    I use Adagio, Alice, Warwick, Fender, d'Addario and Gibson strings.
    When I buy a new bass or try one in a store I always feel kinda lost with the standard tuning, silly but when you play for so many years with the DGCF it grows on you, at least on me it did.
    RoadRanger and Matthew_84 like this.
  7. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass. Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2019
    I've been looking into using tapewounds, don't have any experience with them yet but from what I've read here it should suit me quite well.
    Anyone that has tried tapewounds with DGCF?
    Seems the tension with EADG is less then normal, so how would that affect at DGCF?
    Just bought a set of fenders 9120 since these are 058-110 I think they should do just fine.
    Rotosound 88 has 65-115, which in itself is heavy but adding the tape would almost certainly need adjustment of the top nut as these strings are obviously much thicker.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
    Matthew_84 likes this.
  8. I haven’t tried tapewounds in D Standard. Those gauges seem fine. The D may be a little loose, but I don’t think it will be terrible.

    Also, there’s a lot more D Standard users in this thread: D Standard Club (DGCF)
  9. srayb


    Oct 27, 2010
    I have a 5-string fretless that I prefer D-G-C-F-Bb, however when I play jazz I’m usually reading charts and sometimes find it very challenging transposing on the fly (especially when playing higher up the neck or soloing through chord changes). For this reason I am usually reverting back to E-A-D-G-C. Another difficulty is when I am working on reading music (classical pieces) and again it adds so much more difficulty. Maybe at some point I’ll find a lot more time to devote to overcoming this as I really do like the D-standard sound on bass guitar.
    nFinnyD likes this.
  10. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass. Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2019
    Never was capable of reading music, so no problem for me... sorry :sorry:
  11. RumbleMan3


    Apr 14, 2018
    I’ve always felt that the bass should have originally been designed as DGCF instead of EADG. I guess they only did it because guitar is EADGBE. But if you ask me, guitar could probably be DGCFAD too.

    But to be honest I’ve never tried this! I either use my 4 string or 5 string. But I’m curious to try it, it just makes much more sense to me.
  12. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass. Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2019
    I think it's more a matter of taste. I've seen 4 strings tuned in B, that rocks too, it all depends on what you like with the music you're playing and what you're comfortable with.
    After 37 years of playing in D I wouldn't change it for anything, and I play fretless without even looking at the markers so my hearing probably wouldn't even like another tuning.
    RumbleMan3 likes this.
  13. nFinnyD


    Oct 31, 2017
    I tune my main bass, a 5er, to DGCFBb with a standard set of low B strings as I like the higher tension. This is funny because I tend to use very heavy gauges on my regular guitars (thanks SRV and I rarely play blues) and tune down to Eb or leave in standard.

    I’ve used a capo to get to standard a decent amount, but not drop D style as I don’t prefer that setup. I DO like have the additional timbre options for playing the same note closer to the nut or further away, I actually use that difference a lot in going from verse to chorus. The further towards the bridge the more thick it gets which helps give the chorus it’s own feel even when many of the notes are similar.

    I’m looking to get a new bass that is a 4 string and I plan to tune it DGCF but toying with a fifths tuning like a cello starting on D.
    MirandM likes this.
  14. Reg Braithwaite

    Reg Braithwaite

    Oct 21, 2018
    A standard bass is E1 A1 D2 G2, and IIRC, a cello is C2 G2 D3 A3. Would you tune D2 A2 E3 B3, making it like a cello, but tuned a major second higher? Or are you thinking D1 A1 E2 B2, making it a minor seventh lower than a cello's concert pitch?
    MirandM likes this.
  15. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass. Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2019
    If you do that, you'd most certainly need to look very close at the string gauges you're gonna use as with that tuning string tension is much higher than with the normal tuning and to avoid overstressing the neck you cannot use normal or even light bass strings. They'd probably get into the 30-70 range or there about.
    Reg Braithwaite likes this.
  16. nFinnyD


    Oct 31, 2017
    just now saw this, I started on D1. So I would have the register of bass but the finger patterns of cello.
  17. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass. Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2019
    I've no idea, I play bass but have no knowledge of finger patterns and even less of cello... sorry :sorry:
  18. Paul New

    Paul New Supporting Member

    Jun 1, 2004
    deepest alabama
    I bet the LaBella original flats would work great in DGCF tuning.
    MirandM likes this.
  19. Abner


    Jan 2, 2011
    I can confirm this. At least for me. :) And also the Ernie Ball Group I flats. If you like flatwound strings, that is.
    MirandM likes this.
  20. MirandM

    MirandM Married to my bass. Supporting Member

    Oct 29, 2019
    You can add Pyramid Gold 640/B (50-110) flats to that, expensive but very good.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 29, 2021

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.