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C#, F#, B, E Tuning

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Smurf_Pimp, Mar 14, 2004.

  1. Smurf_Pimp


    Mar 14, 2004
  2. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    next time you have a question search.

    first get heavier strings so that you retain decent string tension. Action might need to be raised, as well a truss rod tweak.

    Never tuned that low so i do not have any experience with it.

    good luck
  3. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Smurf - First things first: Welcome to Talkbass. You'll notice that one of our recurring themes around here is telling people to "do a search" ;)

    I'm not sure what you already know so I'll start at the beginning. Your bass guitar is tuned (low to high) EADG. Your bass guitar is tuned in fourths. So the interval between strings is a fourth - If your lowest string, the E is the one of an E major scale then the next higher string is the fourth degree of the E major scale. This interval may also be described as 5 semi tones (5 frets) That is why you tune your open A string to the E string 5th fret.
    Some people will tune their 4 strings just like the bottom four strings on a five string bass. That tuning is BEAD and is still tuned in fourths. It is 5 semi tomes below standard bass guitar tuning. This usually requires heavier gauge strings and possibly adjustment of the truss rod, which controls neck tension.
    The tuning you describe -- C# F# B E is still tuned in fourths, each string is tuned down 3 semi tones below standard bass guitar tuning. You could accomplish this by lowering each string and fretting at the 3rd fret to match the open string settings on your tuner. Tune to 3rd fret = E and the open string is C#. Tune to 3rd fret = A and the open string is F# and so on.
    Heavier strings will help get a better sound. I'm not quite sure what gauge to recommend - maybe a heavy four string set? (BEAD tuning would require the bottom four from a five string set.) If the bass doesn't play well in this tuning you may very well require some further adjustments such as truss rod adjustment. I do know that many people, myself included, have successful played D-tuned four strings without any problem By D-tuned I mean everything tuned down 1 step (2 semi tones) so it's DGCF as opposed to drop D which is DADG. Your tuning is only a half step below DGCF so your bass might tune down to it just fine. Let us know how it goes.

    Good luck.
  4. David Henry

    David Henry

    Mar 24, 2000
    Salem, Oregon
    Hi Smurf,
    There is a good possibility you will have to enlarge the nut slots to fit the bigger diameter stings.
    A 34" scale will not be as articulate and tight feeling as a longer scale bass with large strings, but it will work.
  5. Smurf_Pimp


    Mar 14, 2004
    thanks to Matthew Bryson and gumbystuff, that was what i was looking for

    i am familiar with the forum scene so i knew to search before i started. unfortunately i am used to tech forums and am not sure what to search for when i was looking for something music wise, so i was unable to come up with anything. since you guys know your way around this forum better than i do, you could have simply given my a link, but thanks for the effort and detailed explanation
  6. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I used to play in a band that experimented with that tuning because we admired Sepultura who were using that tuning for their Roots album.

    I used the heaviest strings available at that time. I had to special order them from Musicians' Friend catalog. I had two basses strung that way and didn't have any problem stringing them.

    I did have a problem with the thickest string breaking at the bridge because it wasn't thick at the end. How can I describe it? Many strings are the same guage all the way through to the end, but the heaviest guage string narrowed down, I guess to fit through the hole. That was a point of weakness, however. You wouldn't think the thickest guage string would be prone to failure, but mine were. Maybe thick guage strings are better quality now because the popularity of super-low tunings is much greater than it was when my band used that tuning.

    I did have to deepen one nut slot because the thickest string would slip right out when I was playing. That was a real surprise the first couple times it happened. I hated to cut into my Tobias. I didn't really care about the Jackson.

    I picked really hard, too, which may have added to string stress. But I felt like I had to. Here's why. When tuned that low, the strings seemed unresponsive and loose...no spring. I felt as if I had to pick hard to get a sound that wasn't muddy, especially playing the open C# or fretting a D, or D#--the lowest notes.

    Be careful how you equalize your sound equipment. If you don't experiment with your lows, mids and highs, you may get a really muddy tone. It may take some trial and error to get some life in your sound. You may also have to experiment with the knobs on your bass. My Jackson never did sound particularly good with that low tuning, no matter what I adjusted or how. My Tobias, however, handled it much better.

    Oh, how did I tune? I used my trusty Korg electronic chromatic tuner. The guitarists used it too!

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