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Bruce Palmer tuning E,E,E,E??

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by ThunderLizard, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Hello-
    Was at a jam session yesterday and someone was talking about tuning a bass to E,E,E,E. Said that Bruce Palmer with the Buffalo Springfield did it. Granted, this conversation was taking place after several stout ales, so I could have misunderstood.
    For the life of me, I can't think of how this would work and I sure don't hear it when I listen to Buffalo Springfield.
  2. funkmangriff


    Dec 29, 2007
    you must have misunderstood, unless ive got it wrong, but i see no benefits of tuning all strings to E. perhaps maybe tone wise it would effect the note, but i still see no benefits of doing this.

    not to say this guy doesnt do, he might do.

    do you know if he tuned each E to the same octave, if each ones an octave higher id imagine his neck is under serious pressure!
  3. thombo

    thombo Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    stouts and ales?
    black and ales (sub ale for tan)?
    a whacky microbrew concoction?
    so many that you forgot what you were drinking?

    no idea on the tuning, sorry.
  4. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Steven Stills used a guitar tuning called the "Bruce Palmer Modal Tuning," in which the guitar is tuned E E E E B E. I know that he used it on CSN songs including 4 + 20 and Suite: Judy Blue Eyes. I don't know if he ever used it while in Buffalo Springfield.

    This tuning makes sense for guitar but I can't see any reason to use it on a bass.
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Yeah, it's a guitar tuning Bruce came up with. No infromation on him ever tuning a bass that way however.

  6. Febs-
    Thanks! The guy I was talking to is a guitar player, so he probably associated Palmer's guitar tuning for his bass tuning. He told me I should try the E tuning as it couldn't hurt my playing.
    It was Oatmeal stout from a local brewer. The oatmeal goes to you head after the 3rd pint.
  7. thombo

    thombo Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    mmmm... oatmeal stout...
  8. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009
    OK, lets think about it ...
    E string - ok.
    A string - tune down 5 semitones (very floppy) or up 7 semitones (it would break).
    D string - tune down 10 semitones (LOL) or up 2 semitones (tight).
    G string - tune down 3 semitones or up 9 semitones (break).
    So the only real possibility that leaves 4 unbroken strings is attempting to tune the E and A string to the same note and octave (leaving a VERY floppy A string) and tuning the D string up 2 semitones and G string down 3 semitones - these two tuned one octave up from the other two.
    Try it man.
    I always wondered how Buffalo Springfield got that radically weird bass sound.

  9. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    I've never heard of his bass being tuned that way either, but when Buffalo Springfield first started everybody in the band looked up to him as the one with the talent.
  10. Mikio


    Feb 21, 2009
    Santiago de Chile
    or get 4 E strings xD
  11. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009
    Kickass. Bar your fingers and flail. Viola! Buffalo Springfield.
  12. dinghy


    May 27, 2007
    Saratoga, CA
    Maybe a special set tuned in octaves? As in, 12th fret on the lowest string is the open note on the next highest string.
  13. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009
    SWEET! With 24 frets you'd have a SIX OCTAVE bass.
  14. GregDunn


    Jan 8, 2009
    Now, if he played a Viola, that WOULD be an amazing sound. :D
    JTE likes this.
  15. Bassgrinder77

    Bassgrinder77 Banned

    Jan 23, 2009
    He could strum with a viola. After the (viola) bridge and strings break off, the sound would smooth out some.
    Don't dismiss it, Jimmy Page played with a violin bow. This just takes it to the next level.
  16. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    Somebody call Les Claypool, he'll try anything!
  17. Itouchdownthere


    Jan 24, 2013
    Actually its called Bruce Palmer modal tunning and i keep one of my classical guitars tuned in this tunning for most of my Crosby,Stills and Nash tunes
    everything but the 2nd string tunes to E. The 2nd string stays in B and the 4th string which in standard tunning is a D goes up to the E. ( EEEEBE )
    Now whats really cool is if someone is playing with you and they tune down to ( CCCCGC ) Everything down to C and the 2nd string to G. The two accompanied are sweet together
  18. jdwilliams


    May 16, 2010
    Las Vegas NV
    Its been done...
  19. ReiPsaeg


    Dec 1, 2012
    Rochester, NY
    Ostrich bass?

    Lou Reed might be into it.
  20. hailet


    Sep 16, 2012
    Mount Prospect,IL
    God, I've learned so much just listening/reading to you guys converse. Thanks

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