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Diff Tuning, Diff Guitars, how many needed?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by perfdavid, Mar 29, 2006.


  1. Looking for some ideas.
    We play a mix of songs that require diff. tunings. Some are standard, some are drop d, and a handful are C#.
    Currently, we have been playing the C# in drop d and getting away with it. But, now our singer/guitarist is toying with the idea of actually doing the c# songs in C#.
    I use two guitars, my schecter for standard stuff and an ibanez for the drop d. But, if we did go to c#, I would probably have to keep one guitar tuned in c# permanantely since the a,d,and g strings need to be dropped half a step and I really don't want to have to do that.
    Anyone else in this situation? If so, what do you do and/or suggest? Do I need to just buy another guitar and keep it in c# all the time, then have 3 guitars on stage? Or should I tune down right there during the gig?
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. need4mospd

    need4mospd

    Dec 22, 2005
    Houston
    Couldn't you get a 5 string and cover all the dropped tunings you mentioned? Unless, of course, you drop the B string..... :D
     
  3. bannedwit

    bannedwit

    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    I felt your pain before.

    I was in a band where the singer was finding his vocal range so we would keep our songs the same but change the tunings around.

    We went from drop D, drop Eb, drop C, drop C# then to drop B. That killed me with a 4 string

    My bass lines were all in standard tuning while the guitarists were in dropped tuning. For 2 songs I would drop the tuning down. No problem there. My problem was the drop B!!!

    Fortunately, I had a job, and supportive family to help me get a 5 string bass and that took care of things on my end of the issue.
     
  4. RyansDad

    RyansDad

    Jan 31, 2006
    Tolland, CT
    That drop tuning thing was the whole reason I bought a 5-er in the first place. That's the downside to being in an industrial rock band. A lot of what's out there today is in drop (sub-E) tuning of some kind.

    We have some songs that we just gave up and transposed up to E.
     
  5. chaosMK

    chaosMK

    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    I use a 5 string and transpose to whatever key the guitar is in. I dont detune. After a few years of doing this, it has become pretty natural.
     
  6. Dkerwood

    Dkerwood

    Aug 5, 2005
    Midwest
    Honestly, why on earth would you NEED to detune? Especially with a 5 banger? Song's in C#? Play low C#. To be frank, I almost never play lower than D anyway, simply because I think it sounds TOO low. I'm a lot more apt to play it up the octave.

    We've got a couple songs in drop D. Our bassist stays in standard tuning and plays open D. No big deal. Her D still sounds fatter and "bassier" than my D, even though it's the same exact note. Still works just fine.

    My philosophy on alternate tunings - there are 3 reasons why guitarists use them:

    1. Alternate chord voicings/fingerings
    2. For use with open strings (1 and 2 can and often do go hand in hand)
    3. To actually play lower than the instrument can normally

    From a bassist's perspective with a 5 string - 1 is no problem, 2 doesn't change a thing for me, and 3 is no big deal cuz my 5 string goes down there anyway.

    And for what it's worth, I've NEVER used low B in a song. I've only used C# and C in cello music and occasionally in jazz I'll walk it down that low... and sometimes at a sustained note. The low range extension is great for Eb and D, though.
     
  7. FriscoBassAce

    FriscoBassAce

    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    You could do it with a 5-er, or use two basses. One would be in stardard tuning, with a hipshot detuner that you could utilize for the drop D tunings, as well as standard tuning. Then you could have another bass in dropped C# to handle those tunes. If you don't have a hipshot, it only takes a few seconds to drop that E to a D on silent tuner mode.

    Just my $.02 worth though...take it for what you will.
     
  8. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I would get a fiver and learn all of the songs on standard tuning. Do NOT tune down on stage. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard, plus it causes awkward downtime and increase the chances of screwing up the tuning.
     
  9. +1 Get a fiver. Or, see if you can convince them to keep it all in drop D rather than C#- after all, who's going to notice?
     
  10. I got it worked out.
    I keep 1 guitar in standard the whole time and the other is in c# then I will tune it up to d.
    I only need to drop the bottom two down, so c# and G# then I tune them back up. Takes me less than 10 seconds. Also, for whoever said don't tune down on stage it is like fingernails yada yada yada......That is why my pedal board has a volume pedal to be able to tune silently.
    We also arranged our sets to where we lump 3 or 4 standards then 3 or 4 c#s, then 3 or for drop ds so we are not switching guitars every two seconds. But a few of the songs we play are recorded in c#, so thats why I need it to whoever asked why we play anything lower than d. Plus, it fits my vocalist's voice better. Thanks for the advice guys.
     

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