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alternate tunings for 5 string

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by AdamR, Aug 12, 2017.

  1. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    My band has recently written a few songs in drop D. I prefer the wider neck of a 5 string and though I own a few 4's I would rather stick to a 5 for comfort. Im thinking of stringing one DADGC but are there other tunings I should consider ?
  2. Another vote for B-E-A-D-G.
    Twocan, joebar, +6dB Dan and 5 others like this.
  3. AdamR

    AdamR Supporting Member

    Sep 24, 2007
    Bethel CT
    There is a lot of pulling of fretted notes to the open D that is a real pain in standard tuning.
    MDBass likes this.
  4. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    The other obvious one is ADADG with a .145 for A.
    BDADG means a whole extra string is only giving you 3 extra semitones of range. The low A will be no extra effort to remember note positions for.
    MDBass and Element Zero like this.
  5. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    DADGC is a fun tuning. Go for it.

    Slap/pop on a double octave is a cool sound and is only a 2 fret reach on the outside strings.
  6. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    D standard.

    Your lowest open string is a D, and the bass is standard tuned so all the intervals and patterns you know will work.

    D G C F A#
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    Bb please, not A#. Basses are tuned in 4ths, not augmented 3rds. ;)

    To the OP: why not BEADG capo 3rd fret? I bet that would sound pretty cool, and you wouldn't have to relearn the note locations.
    MDBass, Veldar, groooooove and 4 others like this.
  8. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    Teach me senpai: why prefer the flat to the sharp for notating the perfect fourth?
  9. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    You're the Theorist; I'm just a Fun Guy. ;)

    (But seriously: F G A = 3rd, F G A B = 4th)
    groooooove and 4StringTheorist like this.
  10. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    B isn't the 4th of F though. B would be the augmented 4th or diminished 5th I suppose. The 4th of F is that note between A and B.

    Do we use Bb rather than A# because we'd feel icky having two letter A's in there? Is it a mnemonic to help keys players deal with their instrument's interface?
  11. BassWaffle


    Apr 10, 2011
    In F major, the fourth note is Bb, not A#. I think that's what Mushroo is going for. I assume his reply meant to say Bb, not B. As in, A is the 3rd note name from F while B is the fourth.
    MDBass, Ant Illington and Mushroo like this.
  12. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Massachusetts, USA
    My point is simply: any F to any A is by definition some type of 3rd. Any F to any B is by definition some type of 4th.

    Furthermore, out of the 12 major and 12 minor keys, none of them contain both F natural and A sharp. Whereas there are many keys that contain both F and Bb.

    Bringing the discussion back on topic, another personal favorite 5 string tuning of mine is: CEADG
  13. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    +1 on ADADG
  14. KickingBass

    KickingBass Look into it

    Alternate tunings *shudder* :wideyed:
  15. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    B [EDIT: B natural - details are important here] is by all means the 4th of F [natural]; or, to be specific, it's one of the possible 4ths of F [natural], namely the augmented one. You're mixing up "absolute" or "acoustically based" intervals with intervals within tonally determined context: by way of example, the distance between 110Hz and 138.6Hz you see as inherently a major 3rd; there are tonal reasons to call it a diminished 4th on occasion. As Mushroo explained, if a note is to be the 4th of F - regardless of having a sharp, a flat or a natural - it is necessarily called a B, and vice versa if the interval has a B over an F, whatever B (or F for that matter), it's a 4th.

    So yes, B [natural] is the augmented 4th of F [natural]; no it couldn't be its diminished 5th (you'd have to call it C flat in that case, even if in equal temperament they sound the same); the note between A natural and B natural has to be called B flat if it is intended as the perfect 4th of F [natural] (it could be A sharp instead but only in the case it were an augmented 3rd); no, the reason why we use Bb to spell out D-standard, all-4ths, 5-string tuning is not the fact that there's another A string commonly in use* (not in this tuning anyway): we do precisely because it's an all (perfect) fourths tuning; no, it's not to the benefit of keyboard, or horn, players.

    *[Nth EDIT: I might have misunderstood you here; if by "two letter A's in there" you meant "in the scale", well, yes, we'd feel "icky" having two of them in a heptatonic scale (as opposed to an 8-note scale or a 12-tone row): notes in a scale have to have all the seven different (basic) letter-names that notes have, with no repetitions (sharps and flats wouldn't be enough to distinguish them adequately) and no skips, just as notes of a chord have to have correctly spelled names (the "third" has to be the actual third note-name-letter from the root, not just measure the correct number of semitones from it and have one or the other of its possible names chosen randomly).]
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  16. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    ^ Apologies, I've added a bunch of "[natural]" specifiers to clarify that an unqualified note name is a different thing from the pitch it usually indicates: it can and is used as shorthand for a natural, but that same pitch may need a different, (double) sharped or flattened name instead, which goes to show names are just names. Since we're discussing specific intervals, note names need be specified as natural when they're not sharp or flat, with no shortening.
  17. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.

    for me BEADG or ADGCF will do
    scuzzy likes this.
  18. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    Awesome! That really helped clear it up for me. Thank you very much HaphAsSard! :bassist:
    HaphAsSard likes this.
  19. 4StringTheorist

    4StringTheorist Supporting Member

    Yeah. My favorite answer so far is Mushroo's suggestion to capo at the 3rd fret for the relevant song(s).
    KickingBass likes this.
  20. scuzzy


    Feb 15, 2006
    Troy, MO
    i really like ADGCF. just strung up a 5 with that tuning, heavy strings. it's gonna get used. a fair amount by my guesstimation.
    JES likes this.

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