double bass tunings

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Gabu, Sep 2, 2001.

  1. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    I couldn't find any info by search on this and my brother doesn't know. How is a double bass tuned? Are they sometimes tuned differently? (Like on a electric bass - BEAD vs EADG)?
  2. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001
    EADG usually.
  3. Komakino

    Komakino Guest

    Feb 23, 2001
    Somerset, England
    What about things like drop D? Do you get much call for that with a DB, or maybe Eb Ab Db Gb ?
  4. I can't think of any good reason to ever tune like that. What's the point?

    A lot of orchestral bass parts go below E, often down to C. Low C is impossible without an extension, a five string bass, or a specially made string. An ordinary fourth string tuned that low would be to slack to be playable.

    In a performance of Todd und Verklarung last May, I tuned my fourth string to Eb.
  5. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Oak Park, IL
    You'll sometimes see it with jazz or bluegrass bassists. Not to mention that there is plenty of orchestral music that only goes down to D.

    Another thing to consider is that a low-C extension is not the only possibility. There are low-D extensions, and using drop "D" tuning, you can get the effect without having the huge finger stretches required on the low C extension.

  6. DH- what I was refering to above where I wrote "I can't think of any good reason...," was the Eb-Ab-Db-Gb tuning the cat I was responding to asked about. Rereading my post, I see I left it rather incomplete.
  7. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    We're watching you, Kaczorowski.
  8. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    There are composers who write in Db and F#, etc. simply to eliminate use of open strings, thereby gaining more "expressiveness" from the string players, This would be a way of getting even with the bastards.
  9. Like that prick Saint-Saen. C'mon, what kind of guy is named Camille anyway? I performed a piece of his last year too (the name escapes me now). There was a big chunk in Gb major. The next time I have to perform Beethoven's 9th, give me a scordatura that will make the B major section in the last movement easy!
  10. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Oak Park, IL
    Hey my scale routine starts with Cb and cycles through the circle of fifths to C#.

    Yes, that means that I do Cb/B, Gb/F# and Db/C# twice. But I've found that my tiny little brain really needs to do the scales thinking each key independently or all is lost.

  11. pkr2

    pkr2 Guest

    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Now I'm confused! What is the difference in Cb and B? I didn't think there was such a thing as Cb. Or am I totally misunderstanding your post?

    Help will be appreciated.

  12. Enharmonically, they're the same thing, otherwise, they're totally different.

    B major has five sharps in the key signature; B is the tonic, F# is the dominant, D# is the mediant, etc.

    Cb major has seven flats in the key signature; Cb is the tonic, Gb is the dominat, Eb is the mediant, etc.

    So in other words, your fingers go in the same places, but your thinking about totally different things. Kinky, huh?
  13. dhosek


    May 25, 2000
    Oak Park, IL
    Exactly. Realistically, I can think of no instances where I've played in C# or Cb (major--there is a piece that I play that's written in C# minor, although that results in some dubiously named chords and perhaps Db minor would be a better name).

  14. Don Higdon

    Don Higdon In Memoriam

    Dec 11, 1999
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    We did a horn concerto last spring that had 65 bars in the key of Cb
  15. I sure wish Ed were posting a response
    to this one.

    I'm not going to touch it.

  16. sean p

    sean p

    Mar 7, 2002
    eugene, oregon
    anybody here tried fifths tuning? or other alternate tunings (DADG, CGDG, DBEA)?

    sean p
  17. The late Red Mitchell was well known to use fifth tuning.
    Canadian virtuoso Joel Quarrington plays in fifth tuning.
    Glenn Moore plays a weird tuning I think. (CADC maybe?...)
  18. Konabob

    Konabob Konaweb LLC

    Jan 9, 2004
    Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
    I play a 3 string stand-up bass tuned to an open G (G-B-D) triad. In Hawaii the open G is very popular among guitarist, and it is called Taro Patch Slack Key. I play Hawaiian steel guitar in an open G tuning.

    I made my own bass, and quickly figured out that an open tuning is really easy to play - if, and only if, you have low string tension, or fingers built like mac trucks.

    I opt for the low string tension, and actually play with nylon strings. I have never developed callouses, which is fine by me.

    I have a very primitive set of instructions for playing slack key bass on my website.

  19. toman

    toman Guest

    Glen Moore does infact play CADC on his big ass Klotz bass. Calling it a handful would be an understatement... :cool: