Alternate Tunings...

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by just_a_poser, Apr 20, 2002.

  1. just_a_poser


    Apr 20, 2002
    I've only been playing bass for about 4 months. I play a 4 string, standard tuning. I was wondering about what other tuning's people use and for what kind of music. I never really got the point of dropped d. Maybe it's just because I haven't played a lot of hard rock or something, but I just like being able to know exactly where my octaves and fifths are on any string without really thinking about it. And it only opens up like 2 other notes, D and D#. I also really never got tuning down like one half step. (Like Green Day did in their earlier recordings.) Anyway, I've just seen some really wacky tunings, wacky to me anyway, (like slipknot, what do they use? dropped d tuned down 3 whole steps?) and I just didn't understand why people use them. So maybe shed some light on the topic for me? How do you guys usually tune and what kind of music do you play...
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I don't do much alternate tuning...though when I get my 5 string fretless I'm considering tuning up a 5th and getting rid of the low B.
    at any rate
    this guy does all sorts of tunings, this link shows you abunch that he uses, of course he has like 20 basses, but you may still get some ideas.

    though I have never tuned differently, I'm pretty sure that if you add tension or remove ALOT of tension it is harmful for your bass. so likewise whatever tension you add or remove must be comped by adjusting the action...or bridge....I can't remember.
  3. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    drop D tuning gives your E string a very different tone.

    It's very popular w/ guitars because you can now play a powerchord with 1 finger, leaving the other 3 open to be creative, or lazy, depending on which band you're in.

    Listen to bands like Hum, Filter, some old Smashing Pumpkins, and most Nirvana, for ideas of how drop D can be used.
  4. Soundgarden's guitarists used many alternate tunings. I am not sure if the bassist also used them or simply worked in standard but perhaps there may be some useful information for you out there in Soundgarden land.
  5. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Yeah soundgarden did use some weird tunning, but I forgot exactly what the one im thinking of was.
    Something like CGCG, low to high.

    Oh and by the way, NIRVANA did not use much Drop-D tunning. They did however often drop a half step. I know how to play most of their songs on guitar and bass, and off the top of my head, Penyroyal Tea and is the only Drop-D tuned Nirvana song I can think of, but im sure there are more.

  6. I'm pretty sure Frances Farmer and Blew are also in drop D.
  7. Funk Warts

    Funk Warts

    Jun 13, 2001
    London, UK
    I thought Blew was dropped 2 steps, or just drop c:confused:
  8. Maybe some people dont like using 5-string basses and 7-string guitars. I currently have my Warwick tuned G#, C#, F#, B, E. so there. just for fun, not for playing in a band

  9. Noah-Fecks


    Sep 13, 2000
    Scotia, NY
    Weezer uses flat tuning. E# A# D# G#. Whatever works for you.
  10. The big deal about dropped-D tuning is that it's simply lower. Lately many of the "nu" metal bands use drop C tuning, which is dropped D tuning, dropped down a step. And no, slipknot doesn't use that sort of tuning you mentioned, the strings would be unplayable of they did.
    I've experimented with drop C, and I found that I just don't really care much for it, for like you it throws the intervals off and the dramatic change from low to hi bugs me.
    Lately I've been using just the straight foward full step drop tuning. DGCF low to high. I like the deeper feel to it, and it's still tuned in forths so the scale patterns remain the same.
    I play hard rock/metal, but I also like having some sweet tone to it.
  11. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Funk Warts

    You are correct, Blew is in C, as is Something in the Way.

    Nirvana does drop to D a few times, but its all string down one step, not just the E. It makes it easier that way.

  12. nerdcore


    May 12, 2002
    All Apologies is in Drop-D.
  13. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Could be, Id have to check it out.

    BTW I think Krist, while not the most flashy player, is underated. He did a good job of holding it all together, and some of his basslines are pretty friken cool.

    Lounge Act for one, and About a Girl is another.

  14. operanut


    May 14, 2002
    Hi all! I am a new member.

    My background is classical piano and violin. I also love geezer rock (Beatles) and folk(Peter Paul and Mary). I am learning a jazz bass tuned in fifths like a cello (C-G-D-A). This is because I played the fiddle for many years and it is tuned in fifths. I tried to learn guitar many years ago but it was impossible for me.

    And I got a jazz bass because fiddles don't have frets either. I can read bass clef from my piano training so it works out ok. I am excited to be playing a rock and roll instrument.

    Please email me if you have any comments! thanx.
  15. On A Plain by Nirvana is in D as well.
  16. I've had some thoughts about weird alternate tunings (BADG, for one), but my latest thought is one that's somewhat intriguing. What about tuning up?? Has anyone tried this?
  17. # = sharp
    b = flat
  18. by the way, i challenge anyone to find a band with nuttier tunings than Sonic Youth. i know Kim tuned F#F#GA for some songs, but the guitar tunings really stand out, like ACCGG#C, and DDDDAA.
  19. pigpen02


    Mar 24, 2002
    tuning is irrelevant if you're not gonna play in tune....
  20. operanut


    May 14, 2002
    You're right pigpen02. I noticed I said something intelligent, which gathered no response at all. Therefore I assume that the board members here don't want to hear from an old person such as myself.

    Kurt:It's hard to bargle nawdle zouss with all these marbles in my mouth.....
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