Detuning in pursuit of more flop

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by CatSquare, Nov 20, 2015.


  1. CatSquare

    CatSquare

    Mar 7, 2014
    Over the course of the last week I've been slowly detuning my bass by a half step at a time. Right now I'm in C standard and I feel like it's at the edge of a muddy abyss, but then I felt that way about Db as well.
    I think I caught the bug when I switched from Chromes to TI Flats -- that low tension was very attractive. Now I'm detuning the floppiest flats in the land because I just cannot get enough flop!
    I love the way they respond to my touch, how easy they are to fret, how I can dig in a bit when I play up over the neck and make them slap down against the fingerboard, and how I have some new deeper note options available to me. The hardest part has been changing where the notes are located on the fretboard, but I'm up for that challenge. Keeps me sharp!
    Anyway I just thought I'd share my experience because it has been quite a good one that was just a turn of the tuning key away. Any love for the flop around here?
     
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I've been on a decades long quest trying to find good clear lower-than-low notes with no flop, so none from me, I'm headed the other way.
     
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    OP, I would really like to hear a recording of this new sound of yours if you get a chance. I just can't imagine in my head what it would sound like. Maybe a quick YouTube?
     
  4. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I'm imagining something like rubber bands, but you never know. Quite curious, even if it's the other extreme from my preference, I'm kind of into extremes. :)
     
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2007
    Ever hear Black Sabbath (or any band influenced by them)?
     
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Did Geezer tune way down? I didn't realize that.
     
  7. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Did Geezer tune way down? I didn't realize that.
     
  8. pravus

    pravus

    Feb 5, 2013
    Fort Wayne, IN
    Iommi tuned down due to his fingertips. I've heard people credit this as the start of de-tuning in general.
     
  9. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism

    They played a lot of stuff in standard tuning but as far as I know they were the first major band doing stuff in C standard. I cannot remember the tracks off hand but there are a few of them.

    I personally hate flop and would imagine Geezer only had it in the early days when string choices were limited. I doubt his C tuned basses use the same gauge as his standard tuned ones.
     
  10. CatSquare

    CatSquare

    Mar 7, 2014
    I've always had this ideal bass sound/feel in my head - something like an upright bass strapped like a bass guitar, with big floppy rubber bands for the strings.

    I've never recorded my solo playing, but I've got the means. Maybe I'll whip something up once I settle on a bridge height.
     
  11. CatSquare

    CatSquare

    Mar 7, 2014
    Last night I dropped it down to B, and though I may be able to go lower, I think this is where I'll stop. The adjustment feels a lot less weird when I'm down tuned by a perfect fifth instead of b5.
     
  12. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    So, you dropped the E to a B? Was that using Chromes or TIs? Curious.
    I once dropped all the strings in a heavy s/s flats set (.110 set) a fifth lower, and they were fine. I've since replaced them with a set of TIs, but still have that set to try again on another bass.
    It's been too long since I swapped them to make a comparison.
     
  13. JustForSport

    JustForSport

    Nov 17, 2011
    More excursion can be a good thing, depending on the bass, the strings, pickups, goals, etc.

    More flexible strings can add sustain to a fretless, as well- they don't get choked out as soon.
     
  14. CatSquare

    CatSquare

    Mar 7, 2014
    Yeah, E to B on TI Flats. I'm pleasantly surprised they're usable at such insanely low tension.
     
  15. CatSquare

    CatSquare

    Mar 7, 2014
    I tried detuning to A, and that was the absolute minimum tension I could use: Ab was too loose to fret a note and not have it bend sharp (my technique isn't good enough for Ab). I really liked the feeling of A, but those notes were way too deep to expect my rig to reproduce at any kind of volume, and they were pretty rough on my headphones too.

    So B standard it is.

    I realized it's probably not as much a revelation in sound as it is in feel, so maybe a video isn't going to be too interesting. I can see someone listening to it and going "meh, it's a down tuned bass"
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2015
  16. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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