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An Alternative To Tuning Down

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by danjl131, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. danjl131


    Jun 10, 2008
    Hey i play lots of songs on my bass (originals and covers) with roughly half in standard tuning and the other half are in dropped tunings (drop d or drop c, down half or full step, etc.) This gets annoying constantly retuning and im not sure if its great for the strings or bass. Are there any pedals that are made that will make something sound lower for bass? I know there are whammy pedals that change the pitch up or down an octave for guitar but i dont know of any bass pedals that do this. I heard of the hipshot tuning thing but im not crazy about it. Is there a pedal that makes a note being played lowered down certain steps? (octave, fifth, third, whole step, half step, etc.) this would make things easier please lemme kno if there is such a thing and put a link with it so i can see it plz thanks
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    It's called a pitch shifter.
    I'd recommend an octave pedal instead though. They're quicker and more convenient to use, since they provide lower notes without changing your playing habits.
  3. It depends on if you are tuning the whole bass down or just the E string. If it is the whole bass then you might get a pedal to work. If it is just the E string that ain't gonna work IMO because then you would clicking the pedal on and off each time you wanted to hit the E string.

    I have read many articles that say that constantly changing the tension on your neck is not good i.e. re-tuning several times per set. Not sure if that is gospel or not but I don't think that is something you want to continue with too much. It does make sense.

    Our band plays in drop D. If we do play a song in standard E I just learn it with my E string in drop D to avoid re-tuning. Plus it messes with my guitar players' heads when they look at me and can't figure out how come I am playing in a different fret position than they are. :D

    The real alternative in my books is having an extra bass or 2 tuned to whatever tuning you need. Maybe not practical or affordable for you but a suggestion. Plus who wants to be constantly re-tuning. :meh:
  4. if you get a digitech whammy, you can put it in drop octave mode (all notes come out sounding an octave lower). that way, you dont need to mess with learning new fingerings for the same notes, youre just playing a little higher than usual. example:
    note is a 'b', which is the 2nd fret on the a string. engage the whammy, put it an octave down, and the same fret position comes out sounding like an open low b string on a 5-string bass. pretty cool huh?
    whatever you do, have fun and good luck!
  5. Malpractice


    Jul 15, 2007
    The problem with the whammy is that is warbly on low notes and sounds very digital. The best solution is to have some extra basses handy.
  6. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    A 5 string bass is a better solution. It was for me anyway.
  7. If you want to play in whole step down tunings and such, invest in a EHX POG. or HOG. They track better than the Whammy whilst playing clean.

    However if you play with a good amount of distortion/overdrive the warble the Whammies have isn't noticeable whilst playing with guitar and drums.

    I made a thread last year reviewing the Whammy IV and ALL it's settings.

  8. a five string bass if you are right now playing a 4
  9. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    The Whammy IV in Detune mode isn't bad. In fact, it's one of the modes in which it sounds cleanest and tracks best. Still, it's not as "natural sounding" as the other solutions out there, and I really can't recommend it. Also, it only drops one whole step.

    IMO, the Hipshot Bass Xtender is an excellent solution if you don't want to transition to a 5-string bass. The Xtender, when set up properly, will let you quickly detune and retune with the flick of a switch.

    I have to detune and retune once a gig. Most of our songs are in drop-D, but we also have a few songs written in E-standard. The Hipshot makes it painless while my guitarists are busy tweaking with their tuners on. :D

    However, it'll only get you one of your needed tunings... you do enough detuning that perhaps this isn't a great idea either.

    Learning to play a 5-string bass is probably the best solution, but it's not as "easy" as some people will claim. Plus, that's an expensive investment. But if you like it and can adjust to the feel, you may also find the other notes offered by a B string to be useful in the future, depending on your style. Besides, it'll cover the ground all the way to drop-C.
  10. Chris Ramlar

    Chris Ramlar

    Feb 8, 2006
    U can always use Commeford solution, use a 4 string bass with the last 4 strings of a 5 string one: B E A D
  11. sorry dude i carry three basses to each show...each one is tuned differently.....
  12. I had a 5 string for about a year and my brain could just never grasp it. I couldn't seem to comprehend that the lower 4 strings were just your basic 4 string bass. Maybe I am an idiot.

    I love the Whammy IV pedal but as others have said pedals still sound digital to me. Too robotic.
  13. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    I tried that, but one guy I play with detunes down a half step, a SRV cover player. He wants an open string sound, so my 5 string won't cut it with him. And I refuse to tune down, my tech guy tokd me it will f up the neck. It's boring gig, he loves it real simple, moron simple, so luckily it;s only a few days a month. I''m going to get a super cheap bass just to gig with him, maybe a SX or even cheaper. I don't care what it looks or sounds like, I can make it work. Trouble is getting it cheapand left handed.

  14. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    SX makes leftys. But tuning down doesn't screw up the neck. It does, however, mean you'd have to adjust it a little. And I can tell you right now that this guy won't buy an electronic solution. Sounds like a real purist. An SX is the way to go...cheap, sounds great, looks good. I have two and I like them pretty well for cheapos.
  15. VisualShock


    Feb 19, 2008
    North Wales
    search "hipshot tuner"
  16. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You'd need 4 to tune down a whole bass on the spot. Plus I think the Hipshot only does whole-step drops (could be wrong, though).
  17. von buck

    von buck

    Feb 22, 2008
    wolcott ct.
    My repair guy is the only person on Earth I trust to work on my old Jazz bass, and if he tells me constantly detuning will cause problems, I'm with him. I know it's only going to need to be readjusted, but frankly I don't want to have to adjusting everytime And my Jazz neck will be screwed up big time, it's too old anykind of neck abuse.
    I'm just going to use the 5. I really don't want another bass and I don't know how long I can keep playing with this guy, trying to keep it real simple and reading his mind is getting too hard and while a gigs a gig, i don't need the aggrevation.
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You do realize that when I said "purist," I really meant "a-hole," right ?

    And yeah, can't blame you for not wanting to mess with a vintage Jazz that way. I'm totally with you on that. An SX...sure, give it the wrench.
  19. FWIW, I was always told tuning down won't hurt, tuning up will.
  20. Chris Ramlar

    Chris Ramlar

    Feb 8, 2006
    Can you use 4 D-tuners in the same bass?? I thought you could only use one =/ , btw the ultimate solution would be a Robot Bass or a VG Bass I hope they come in a near future

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