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Bass advice

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by AllayTheSeaBass, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. AllayTheSeaBass


    Mar 24, 2013
    Hey guys, i play in a pretty heavy, sort of groove, progressive metal band, we've been playing in a drop G tuning for some time, and the guitarists have recently opted for 8 strings with an added low E, I'm looking to invest in a new bass and would like to know what neck scales and string gauge would hold this tuning well.
    The bass I'm looking at getting is a zon sonus special 5 string. Who agrees, and if so, what gauge strings would hold a drop G tuning with an added low E
    So it'd be EGdgc. Cheers guys
  2. GM60466


    May 20, 2006
    Land of Lakland
    Ain't one that I know of.
  3. EGDGC? I'm not aware of a string set that will hold that, disregarding custom string sets issued with 12 string basses that have two strings lower than the B.

    I really don't think EGDGC is a viable tuning at all. The lowest I would ever play on a five string is Drop C or C standard, as in GCGCF or GCFBE, and only with a very thick string set, such as a 150 gauge top string.
  4. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    The thing to reconsider first is if you really want to go an octave lower than a four string bass guitar. It simply gets down to a point where it is not tight and heavy anymore, but can get very tiring to listen to, my advice is to get a 35" 5 stringer and tune however guitarists do (octave below obviously), except for the lowest string, that you will tune depending on what you need, but don't go lower than G, you'll also have trouble finding gear and venues that reproduce those low notes well. Even in standard tuning (BEADG) people have a lot of problems with the clarity of 5th string, live or recorded, so it is a big no-no territory if you want something good and truly usable. If you want to experiment... well, good luck.
  5. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    You can find a Circle K set to accommodate that tuning, I can't imagine how your live shows will sound though.
  6. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    The E string (an octave below standard tuning) oscillates at 20hz unfretted.

    This means that harmonics it produces will follow like this:
    20-40-60-80-100-120-140-160-180-200-220-240-260-280-300-320 etc
    With a standard E strung you will have this:
    Now compare the number of harmonics. If you are to equalize the first bass note you will have a lot of problems because frequencies will be all over the place and get in the way of everything.

    The second bass track can easily be sculpted to be fitted into any mix, which is the reason why standard tuning (and slightly lower tunings, such as DGCF) are so popular.

    Also, never forget it's good to win the sympathy of the FOH guy, if you want to be heard loud and clear. Bringing a bass tuned an octave below standard tuning will just make him hate your guts. If anything, you'd have to get a multiband compressor to fix issues because strings will seriously lack balance UNLESS the guitar is SPECIALLY designed to be tuned an octave down.
  7. AllayTheSeaBass


    Mar 24, 2013
    True, well what advice tuning wise would you give to accommodate said problem? Tune to the same octave as the guitars?
  8. Snakeman1066

    Snakeman1066 Supporting Member

    Sep 17, 2007
    Central Valley
    Warwick made a bass called the Dark Lord that was designed to be tuned to F# but as I recall they didn't sell well....
  9. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    While I think the concept is silly, you might want to try a Dingwall for its 37-inch B string or, in your case, E string.
  10. I have my 7 tuned g#beadgc. In my opinion g# is as low as I will go while staying an octave below the guitar. Anything below g# and I go up an octave similar to meshuggah. I love heavy music but if you listen to bands like Vildhjarta tuned to G, or Mnemic tuned to f# yeah it sounds amazing for One song but after a while it sounds really redundant.
  11. InternetAlias


    Dec 16, 2010
    +1 This

    I don't know what your music sounds like and how it's arranged, but going bellow G will seriously mess things up and not really be useful, even G is questionable in the live context, but if guitars go that low, with some serious sound tweaking, I believe it could work fairly ok, so tune down to G and the rest of strings (be it 3 or four) should be tuned to accommodate what you need to play along with guitars. Remember that, in metal context, weird tunings only really work if all guitars and bass guitars are tuned the same, else some runs could be impossible (especially because of open string abuse).

    All this being said, if you're willing to resort to a really long scale bass guitar (going as far up as 40") or utilize a fan fretted instrument, and then use a midrangy sound (bridge pickup solo'd depending on guitar), you could probably get away with this, but then you're really compensating. Notice that even bands like Meshuggah are compensating a lot, doing what you are to do would cause even more compensation on all ranges (also has to do with guitars). When it comes to Meshuggah specially, their heaviness comes from playing a lot in the unision, BUT on different range instruments. A 34" bass hass a completely different voicing compared to a 27" guitar, and this is specially the case here too.

    Now, don't get me wrong - I am pro experimentation and pro innovation, but do realize that the lower you go, more mess you make and it could turn out to be completely unnecessary (Dick from Meshuggah was offered a 40" scale bass by some boutique manufacturer, but he never uses it).
  12. If you absolutely still want to give it a shot I'd recommend running a whammy pedal set to an octave down with a standard tuned 4 string over using any strings bigger than a 150. The low f# and c# strings are expensive, unplayable, and die extremely fast.

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