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Constantly changing tunings

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by farewelltowords, Mar 2, 2008.


  1. farewelltowords

    farewelltowords

    Jul 22, 2006
    I started trying out different tunings while creating songs for a band i have. I end up having different songs on different tunings, so i have to keep changing the tuning during the shows and practices.

    My questions is: how much will this damage the bass? the changings are always down or up a whole step for now, but i probably may push it forward in the future.

    For those who don't like people to change tunings, you don't need to reply. For those who might say that i should have one bass for each tuning (having a set up to that proper tuning), i can't afford it yet!

    So, is there any way to avoid the bass being damaged in the long run? Or at least some way, some precautions i should have, to delay that damage.
     
  2. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    No damage expected to the bass but unless you use a lot of drones, there really is no valid reason to constantly change tunings.
    It's a PITA to constantly retune and it severely bores the audience.
     
  3. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Why not set up two basses with different tunings and use a stomp box to switch between them? Tuning won't hurt the bass, just your relationship with the audience.
     
  4. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    You could take a cue from Michael Manring. A Hipshot on each of four tuners will give sixteen different tunings.

    As far as changing tensions on the neck go, other than a few floppy strings it will do no harm. It would be best to return the guitar to what ever tuning you are using as home at the end of the session.
     
  5. peterbright

    peterbright

    Jan 23, 2007
    On The Bayou
    Multiple basses is the easiest way to go. It may not "hurt" the bass to constantly retune, but it doesn't do the strings any good either.
     
  6. Lots of good advice here posted here. My .02: You may not be ready for a new instrument now, but start thinking about it. Start with the basics- # of strings, fretted or fretless, active or passive and so on. It sounds like you need a lot of flexability, so a five or six string might be the way to go. Starting to narrow it down now will make you a more informed consumer in the long run.

    I like the hipshot idea too. I don't have one, but I have always thought about it.
     
  7. prokfrog

    prokfrog

    Mar 16, 2007
    new jersey
    Although I agree you won't cause any real damage, you'll never get a good set-up dialed in. if you are a fingerstyle player, I'll bet your playing suffers a bit because the different tensions are giving you different feedback which will cause you to vary your finger attack to get the same results.
     
  8. +1
    also, are the tunings relatively similar than maybe you can transpose your parts somehow or perhaps have a multi fx which helps you step up or down without physically doing it

    its a major drag on stage ; audience would get bored and itchy
     
  9. rzm61

    rzm61

    Feb 26, 2008
    Try to clump the songs that are in the same tuning together, that way you wont have to constanly keep retuning.

    Also as others have suggested, multiple basses would be a good way to go.

    Personally I don't like the idea of having to keep re-tuning my instrument just for other songs. I usually tune it right before a show and that lasts me till the end. I discourage having to switch tunings in a set seeing how there is nothing more boring then the band having to keep switching their tuning. Unless of course the frontman keeps them entertained while the band is off tuning....
     
  10. ogrossman

    ogrossman

    May 20, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    Hey, it was worth a try :)
     
  11. BackwaterBass

    BackwaterBass

    Feb 18, 2008
    Kentucky
    Guitarists already have a solution for this problem, the capo. Tune your bass to the lowest tuning you use and then capo it when you need to go up. The only drawback is the strings will all be adjusted in the same ratio, so its only good if you're tuning them all the same amount, which it sounds like you are. Otherwise, like someone else said, look into getting a 5 or 6 string bass for extended range. Personally I write all my bass lines in my usual low tuning (CFBbEb) and just play up the fretboard from there.
     
  12. farewelltowords

    farewelltowords

    Jul 22, 2006
    thanks for the comments.

    yes it is true that it does bore the audience, i always try to have the songs with the same tunings together, and so far managed to do that. still, i have to change tuning at some point.
    - capo would be a great solution but i never change all the strings at once unfortunately.
    - hipshots, i have always been curious about that, but i don't know where to install them and they are probably costly. i might try to look for different basses in the future, but meanwhile, while i can't afford it, at least it makes me feel slightly better knowing that i'm not ****ing up the bass for life!
     
  13. BackwaterBass

    BackwaterBass

    Feb 18, 2008
    Kentucky
    Hipshots replace your normal tuners and I don't believe they are all that expensive, like $20 or less I think. Never used them myself, but I'd imagine they are just as rough on your strings as tuning them manually. Of course it takes a lot less time to do it with Hipshots...
     
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    You say you can't afford another bass, but you'll consider Hipshots. They're not $20 each, the drop-tuning versions start at about $60 each on Ebay and go up from there.

    For LESS than the cost of a set of Hipshots you can buy a Jay Turser JTB-401 or an SX bass....or possibly a used MIM J or P if you shop carefully. You then would have a second bass that's very serviceable.
     
  15. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Hipshots are a great way to go. But Pilgrim is right. If you only have one bass and you are rehearsing or playing out it is time to purchase another. What do you do when your one guitar is not at optimum or out of commission?

    To borrow a phrase from another discipline: Two is one and one is none.
     
  16. farewelltowords

    farewelltowords

    Jul 22, 2006
    i'm considering buying an american j-bass, and use the squier p-bass i'm using now as a second instrument for other tuning.
     
  17. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    Capital idea.
     

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