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Alt bass tuning, E flat

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by inazone, Mar 7, 2005.


  1. inazone

    inazone

    Apr 20, 2003
    Colorado
    Beside the strings being tuned flat, what kind of tone difference do you people notice? I hear more "click" on the frets and the tone doesnt sound quite as bright to me and I cant dig in as much. Is this all in my head? I know a lot of bands do this for different reasons. Will a bass have better feel, could it give you more growl? Whats your thought?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    All of the sound qualities your describing as possibly being in your head, aren't. Most of this could be related to scale length. Might try that tuning on a 35" scale instead of a 34". De-tuning makes the strings looser, so they will move more, clack against the frets more, reduce brightness and all those things.

    As for feel and growl and things like that I couldn't say. I imagine it would make things a little floppy and harder to play actually, but then again we are only talking about a half step.
     
  3. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS

    Manys bands with singers with limited range do that, but that isn't always the case.

    If I am going to detune for a few days, granted I occasionally detune to C to play Kyuss-type stuff, I put on a five string set and toss the G.

    When I tune flat for my cover band, I just suffer through the lower tension. If I were made of money I would have a bass setup to be tuned flat.
     
  4. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I know a lot of players(R&B/Gospel) who tune down, some of them even tune down a whole step..Most of them play Lakeland, Smith & Fender, but I've seen alot of up&coming guys and girls with Deans and Spectors as well. I find for me it makes the strings more responsive. I am not one of those light touch players, I play pretty hard, but have to work pretty hard to keep it clean. I can translate the feel in my head down to the bass easier, plus a low Bb is great. The added bonus for me is that I'm in Eb, Bb, Ab and Db alot so I can take advantage of open string oportunities. Have the bass set-up(intonated, truss and pup adjust, etc) in Eb with some medium or medium lt Nickel strings. If you don't have a decent bass this may not be a great idea...
     
  5. inazone

    inazone

    Apr 20, 2003
    Colorado
    Thanks for the input guys! My main bass is a modulus Q5 but I have 6 other basses that I will gig with now and then and I always take two basses to a gig. Is it important to have the bass set up for E flat? What would you do different to set up a bass from E to E flat?
     
  6. danman

    danman

    May 18, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    I don't like Eb Why don't you try D#.

    danman
     
  7. phxlbrmpf

    phxlbrmpf

    Dec 27, 2002
    Germany
    Isn't Eb tuning the classic "My guitarist is a Hendrix wannabe" tuning? :D

    Personally, I don't see a lot of point in going "flat" on bass, why not detune the E string to D and leave the other strings as they are if you really need a low Eb? Unless you have to double high-speed guitar lines that aren't playable unless your tuning is the same as the guitar tuning, of course.
     
  8. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Well going flat can be nice with open strings, especially on a 5 string if you play with horns, as they are all in Bb.
     
  9. phxlbrmpf

    phxlbrmpf

    Dec 27, 2002
    Germany
    I guess so, I tend not to use open strings much, though. I kind of enjoy playing a fiver in regular tuning while our guitarist uses drop C tuning, that way, my fretting hand has no chance of becoming lazy. I think.
     
  10. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Well personally, Im right there with you, I use a regular tuned 5 string and sorta refuse to change my tuning. I'll change keys before I change tunings hehe, but to each their own. I can see the benifits.

    PS - I dont use open strings hardly ever myself either hehe.
     
  11. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    Sometimes more than others..Some basses more than others..
    If you really want to try it get your bass set up for the following reasons:
    #1)With slightly less string tension a minor neck adjustment May be "needed"(graphite, maybe not!!)
    #1.5(EDIT)With the string bieng more "live" you may want to dial-in a bit more bow(although I've never had to do this)
    #2)Intonation.
    #3)Action. If you're a low action guy you may want to bring it up a C-hair to clean things up a little.
    #4)Changes in action may result in a minor pup height mod.
    #5)I prefer Nickel wound strings. They seem to have a bit more mid and less presence..by compensating for the brightness, or presence in your pre-amp stage this will help you stay clean..
    All these seem minor, I know, but as a whole they will make the bass feel more natural, I you will feel more comfortable(never understate the mental part of the game)..