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Alternate Tunings

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by jackmurray, Oct 7, 2005.


  1. Sorry about constantly asking stupid questions, but I'm curious about a string change. I have a 4 string Yamaha Attitude bass, and was wondering if this is possible: could I string it using an A D G C and de-tune to F# B E A? The bass has a drop-D tuner so I could hit an E when I needed to. WOuld this be bad for the neck or the bass, and would it sound floppy and crap?

    Has anyone ever tried this before? Is it worth it?

    Thanks, Jack
     
  2. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    What you need to do is get out of thinking "A string" and instead look at it in terms of "what gauge string do I need to get a good tension when tuned to that F#?". If you're used to using a .100 gauge string for a standard E, somewhere round about .095 - .090 would be about right for a comparable tension when tuned to F#.

    If you can't buy individual strings, then an extra-light four string set (.095, .075, .055, .035 or thereabouts) might be the most economical way to acheive the tuning you're interested in.

    There's room for experimentation too. As I recall, there certainly used to be a Billy Sheehan set of custom strings marketed round about the time the Attitude bass came out that had a slightly heavier than average E and slightly lighter than average D and G.

    Wulf
     
  3. Thanks for the tip. I thought about tuning up a standard set, but I thought that would increase the tension, and I'd rather have it decreased. I can by singles strings at my music store, so if I did want to get an A D G C and detune, what gauge should I get, and will it damage my bass?

    Thanks, Jack
     
  4. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    As I said, what you need to do is get your mind out of thinking 'this is an A string'. I'd experiment with either .090, .070, .050, .30 (if you can get them) or .085, etc.

    You shouldn't damage the bass but you may find you need to adjust the truss rod a little if the tension of the strings is substantially different to what you were using previously.

    Wulf