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Best Strings/Bass for Detuning?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Ingemar, Oct 12, 2004.


  1. Ingemar

    Ingemar

    Sep 12, 2000
    Sweden
    Best Strings/Bass for Detuning?
    Any suggestions?
     
  2. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    How far do you want to detune?
     
  3. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    This is getting to be a bit of a recurrent theme. Maybe someone should put a sticky at the top of the forum about choosing gauges for alternate tuning. In the meantime, here's my take on it...

    When you use an alternate tuning, you affect the string's tension. If you want to maintain the string's tension while using the same brand of string. you need to change the string gauge you use.

    A useful rule of thumb is that you should increase a gauge for every semitone you detune.

    I'll use Ernie Ball strings to illustrate this point, as I'm familiar with the sets they sell. The same will hold true for most manufacturers though, although some (like TI) have a limited range of gauges.

    Ernie Ball Super Slinkies have a .045 G, a .065 D, a .080 A and a .100 E. That's a fairly standard gauge set, the sort that most basses are sold with.

    If I knew I liked the feel of these strings for standard tuning, I'd know that I would get a similar tension (and therefore a similar feel) with the EB Regular Slinkies (.050, .070, .085 and .105) for detuning all the strings a semitone (Eb, Ab, Db, Gb)

    If I wanted to detune a whole step to D, G, F, C I'd be able to get a similar tension with EB Power Slinkies (.055, .075, .090, .110)

    This rule holds true for drop D and drop C tuning. If, again, I liked a bass's feel in standard tuning with EB Super Slinkies, I'd just replace the E string for the detuned D, so I'd have a set that was .045, .065, .080 and .110.

    For Drop C, which seems to be pretty popular with Metal groups, I'd use .055, .075, .090 and .120.

    It's fairly easy to construct custom sets like these as most manufacturers routinely sell single strings.

    Obviously, if you change the tuning of your bass and swap gauges, you're going to need to adjust the setup. You might be okay with the nut you have and you probably won't need to adjust the truss rod (as you're not affecting overall string tension too much), but you will definately need to adjust intonation. If you're not used to setting up basses, it might be worthwhile taking it to a luthier or tech and specifying the exact strings and tuning you're going to use.
     
  4. I have a question about this, if you want to detune, and you get a heavier gauge set, to maintain the same string tension, will this lessen the need for neck adjustments....surely if the tension is the same, the neck won't change in it's relief?
     
  5. dlloyd

    dlloyd zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Apr 21, 2004
    Scotland
    That's right. However, you won't necessarily get exactly the same tension, so it's worth checking.

    The biggy is whether the strings fit the nut.
     
  6. if you only wanna downtune to drop D, or go flat tuning..i reccomend kubicki basses...or maybe you shold try ibanez BTB's..they have a 35" scale...that helps with string tension when downtung
     
  7. I've been thinking about having my thumb or thru neck spector strung D G C F so then I can drop the low D down to C or B, without it sounding really flappy.
     
  8. slugworth

    slugworth Banned

    Jun 12, 2003
    So. Calif.
    I detune my Czech Spector to Eb using 50-110 guage. It works fine. We play one song in which I tune it to D G C F, and the 110's start to get pretty floppy, but since it's only one song in our set, I'll make do with the 110's. 115's would be better.

    Slug
     
  9. I used to tune my rockbass B E A D, and it still whooped booty for soem reason....o well, I may be investing in another warwick thumb very soon, so it'll be getting modded.
     
  10. Ingemar

    Ingemar

    Sep 12, 2000
    Sweden
    At least D G C F
     
  11. johnvice

    johnvice

    Sep 7, 2004
    I'm not a de-tuner. My band plays a few songs that has drop D on record but I just play the low D an octave up and nobody knows.

    Conisder a hipshot D-tuner to rapidly tune down to hit a low D.

    If you are hitting this range regularly, consider a 5 string.
     
  12. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Also, some flats have more tension than rounds. If you don't mind the sound of flats, Fender 9050s tend to be higher tension. You *will* have to adjust the truss rod.

    To go from Labella Deep Talkin' 760FL (.043 - .104) to Fender 9050M (.055-.105) I have to adjust the truss on my P bass 1/4 turn.
     
  13. Ingemar

    Ingemar

    Sep 12, 2000
    Sweden
    Now I 've tested to detune my Tomastic-Infeld Jazz Roundwounds -JR364 super long scale 36" medium stringed
    Semiholow Ibanez Artcore bass to D G C F.
    It sounded and felt amasingly good

    How come??
    The bass is 34" scale (even if the strings has to be extra long due to the stringancors long/big distance to the bridge sadles, and the strings are lowtensioned
     
  14. Ingemar

    Ingemar

    Sep 12, 2000
    Sweden


    My bass is one of these
    http://www.ibanez.com/guitars/guitar.asp?model=AGB140