Advice after tuning down a full step

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by formulaz, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Uh, what? Explain, please?
  2. RickyWoo


    May 26, 2016
    Forgive my miswording. Less bending. Obviously the pitch/Hertz/vibration remains the same.
  3. TuneSalad666

    TuneSalad666 Inactive

    Mar 1, 2018
    It's logic.

    The specific tuning is gained by a given string always having a specific tension relative to it's specific mass (and length, but since the length is being the same here, we can count that variable out), that means core + wrap having a specific tention, if the core was somewhat loose the tension would fluctuate making the string have an unstable tuning.

    As I updated the message you quote me for with:

    A more plausible reason would probably be that the core of hex core strings has more mass, although I do not know if this is the correct explanation either.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  4. RickyWoo


    May 26, 2016
    That's kinda flawed. How would a 6 sided shape have more mass than a round shaped core of the same gauge string? The round core would definitely have more mass as the wind is always in contact with the core, where there is void space on a hex core wind.
  5. formulaz

    formulaz Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2012
    Milwauke, WI
    I appreciate all the thoughts, even the 5 string recommendations.

    The consensus seems to be to change to heavier gauge strings, but adjust intonation and truss rod where needed. I like the idea of hex strings (less flexible) because of my playing style. I am hoping to find these in flats or even tapewounds (which I am getting into, lately).

    If that doesn't work for me, I'll try the pedal.

    To answer some questions, we play mostly rock covers from the mid-60's to the late 80's, and country covers from the 90's. Some are lighter and some are pretty heavy. We often fit the songs to our 2 vocalists (and if they sound "wrong" or "dirge-y") in the different key we abandon them.

    But I am lazy. I don't want to relearn about 70 songs a step down, especially where there are a lot of open strings, or that use E and F on the E string. And, as I said, a moving to a 5 string means I lose the use of several of my favorite basses.

    Again, thanks to all the offered their thoughts, comments and recommendations.!
    zoonose, electrichead and RickyWoo like this.
  6. TuneSalad666

    TuneSalad666 Inactive

    Mar 1, 2018
    I don't know, perhaps they use thinner wrapping for hex core strings?

    I didn't say it was the correct explanation, in fact I said pretty specifically I didn't know if it was.

    Still makes more sense to me than if it was because the core of round core strings is loose within the wrappings.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
    RickyWoo likes this.
  7. RickyWoo


    May 26, 2016
    I was clear on the part that you said you didn't know. I was pointing out the flaw (that I see) in the theory. Not personal.
    TuneSalad666 likes this.
  8. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    LaBella M70 set for DGCF tuning. You won't have to set up your bass either. I used them for years.
    mikewalker likes this.
  9. RickyWoo


    May 26, 2016
  10. Coolhandjjl

    Coolhandjjl Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    A 432
    Anders Barfod likes this.
  11. micguy


    May 17, 2011
    Higher gauge strings are the answer to down tuning. On some of my E standard tunes basses, I run 35/50/70/95 strings - pretty low tension. On my D standard tuned bass, I get essentially the same low tension with 45/60/80/110 strings. If you want more "normal" tension, you need even bigger strings.
  12. In a year or two, the aging voices will need another key drop, as an example, this year you'll need to got from E to D, then next year D to C.
    Just get a 5 string and learn to transpose, life for you will be much easier. 5-ers are a godsend for us old farts.
    Deak likes this.
  13. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    But even if the core/wrap is loose, they're both still there, so the mass doesn't change, so the tension doesn't change. in theory. I guess. I dunno, I'm not a structural engineer, or a physicist ;)

    But we know that available round core strings do not have tuning problems, and we know that round core strings are more flexible.

    Or maybe round core strings do have tuning fluctuations, but they're so small that we don't notice.

    Sounds like a subject for a PhD dissertation............."An Analysis of Nanofluctuations in Round-core Bass Guitar String Tuning".............

    As far as the mass thing, round core strings have less "air space" between the wrap and the core, so they'll have more mass at an identical overall diameter/gauge than a hex core. This was the original idea DR had when they came to market with Highbeams; their marketing was all about their "Tite-Fit" wrapping method on round cores (nobody else was doing round core strings at that time). DR developed a method to use more tension during the wrapping process so that the wrap would be more tightly bent/formed around the round core. I'd guess this method mitigates loosening of the wrap. They don't seem to use the "Tite-Fit" marketing for Highbeams anymore, but they do with their guitar strings. I guess Highbeams are well enough established in the bass guitar world that they can market them on their own reputation. They do still tell you to do the bend-before cut thing so that the wrap gets secured.

    So anyway, you'd think that this higher mass would equal more tension; I don't know if it does, never seen any actual tension specs from DR. But my guess is that, even if round cores do have a bit more tension, it's kinda offset by the increased flexibility.
  14. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Actually, DR uses smaller gauge wire for the wraps on their round core strings - it's why Highbeams and Sunbeams feel smoother than most other roundwounds. I think it allows the wrap to more tightly bend/form around the round core.
  15. mobdirt

    mobdirt Guest

    Jun 14, 2017
    I do this even for hex strings, habit :)
  16. tekhedd

    tekhedd Tone chaser

    Feb 9, 2009
    Colorado, USA
    Owner/operator of BYTE HEAVEN
    All but one of my basses are detuned a whole step. The challenge is to get thick enough strings to have the right tension without cutting a new nut. If you play 5 string, you will eventually give up and slightly drill out the B string at the bridge. If you have a nice bass, you might have trouble getting enough tension to keep the truss rod tight as well.

    Rounds: I run Kalium 158- or 118-49 (5- and 4- string) or 112-45 (4 string) equal tension sets. (Lighter sets don't put enough tension on the truss rod.) Kaliums have a good life and a balanced mid/bottom tone with decent attack transients, not a lot of high end chime though. Or Medium strings in an emergency. Just don't even bother with light strings.

    Flats: to taste. For traditional rock tone, I like Chromes medium or the heavier light set. (Medium tension is higher and the tone is brighter, but it depends on the bass really.) Most flats will work as they tend to be higher tension and less flexible, so they dont' bottom out as badly.

    I am still searching for a set of black nylon tapewounds that has enough tension but is less than two feet in diameter.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
    mikewalker likes this.
  17. TuneSalad666

    TuneSalad666 Inactive

    Mar 1, 2018
    I'm quite sure I am right about the mass thing, it's physics, unless there's something I have gotten all wrong.

    The more mass of the same length, the more tension is required to achieve the same tuning.

    Seems logic to me.

    Read on for the correct explanation:

    I think the correct explanation is to be found here, which also seems to indicate that I got it wrong regarding hex core strings using thinner wrapping: Round core versus hex core string tension.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  18. MordBass


    Nov 1, 2017
    Im in Drop C so C,G,C,F with a set of 45-105 DR HiBeams on a Mike Lull V4
  19. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    This is correct.

    .........and also indicates that, at the same final gauge/outer diameter, round core strings have more mass than hex core strings.

    I know that DR round cores do use a thinner wrap wire. I also know there's other round core bass strings out there these days - GHS has them, probably others. I haven't tried them, or even seen them in person, so I don't know what wrap wire they use.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
  20. Philly Watts

    Philly Watts

    May 6, 2016
    Try DR DDT (drop down tuning) strings and up the gauge of your strings a bit. Those strings made all the difference in the world. Good luck!
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