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Down-tuning pedal?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Engine207, Mar 24, 2014.

  1. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time.

    Jul 10, 2008
    Higley, AZ
    My band has been working on a few songs that are tuned down a half step. I've been bringing a second bass to rehearsal, that is tuned as such. We gigged the new songs last week, and I've found that changing basses back and forth is a pain in the axe. We tried to group the downtuned songs, but they didn't sequence right for the set.

    I don't want a Hipshot that drops just my E, and I'm not a 5er guy. Is there a stomp that I can set to tune me down without swapping basses? I have a MicroPog, but that only shifts an octave up or down. What I'd like is a simple box that can adjust by half steps and doesn't have any latency (or at least so minimal that it's doable).
  2. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    Can you get away with just down tunning the low e? That could be done very quickly.

    IMO with any electronics solution you will loose sound quality.

    I don't understand... why must the bass player down tune just because the guitar player does?
  3. spz8


    Jan 19, 2009
    Glen Cove, NY
    Yes, this is the way to do it. I'll even do this on 5/6 string basses, if the song involves busy open E playing.
  4. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013
    If there are certain open notes (ones that you don't have to fret) that you just have to have... you can also consider a capo.
  5. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time.

    Jul 10, 2008
    Higley, AZ
    No...that would take me out of the normal fretboard pattern of fourths, and I don't have the patience to relearn the songs moved down a half. That's a mind bend I'm not into.

    For example...All Over You by LīVE is Eb/Ab/Db/Gb. I tune the whole bass down and play it like normal. That song utilizes all four strings, and some are open. I was hoping that a stomp wouldn't compromise the tone and timing. This isn't a guitarist request, it's just the way the song is written. Same with Here Without You, by Three Doors Down.
  6. WashburnAB95


    Nov 18, 2013

    Myself I am primarly a Church bass player. Songs change keys based on the whims of who ever is leading at the moment. If I couldn't quickly transpose on the fly I would be lost. I have learned to fret almost all my notes. First you can change keys much easier AND you get much better control over the tone.

    In your example the low e flat is the only note not available. You could even capo so that your tunning would be Ab Db Gb Cb.
  7. CopperheadLXXIX


    Aug 9, 2003
    Jax, FL
    My Eventide Pitchfactor is pretty good at moving the pitch down (tracks even on open notes).
    born2lift likes this.
  8. AlexBassMP


    Feb 5, 2014
    I've never found a down-tuning pedal which sounds natural to me. I'm sorry.

    In mid 90's I used to play with all my bass tuned a whole step down. In 2003 I switched to 5 string basses for low notes and I've never looked back.

    Nowadays I play 5 string basses 95% of time. It's natural as breathing for me.
  9. bigswifty1


    Dec 8, 2011
    Lots of multi fx pedals can down or up shift in increments of a semi tone. The four or five I've tried sound terrible, with that synthesized piano sound which probably works for certain very specific circumstances, but which is no substitute for a natural bass sound.

    And I haven't even begun to address the issue of tracking.

    Sorry, I don't think your tuning/key issues are gonna be solved by a pedal just yet.

  10. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Digital Brand Development and Product Development at GHS Strings
    As a thought. What about playing the bass that's tuned down a 1/2 step the entire time? If you absolutely need to, you could capo the first fret at which point you'd be back at standard tuning. But at that point, you should be fine playing the standard parts on the detuned bass, unless you're relying heavily on open strings.
  11. alec


    Feb 13, 2000
    Perth, Australia
    Your best option is probably two basses and something that you plug both into then switch between them. Levels can be set differently for each bass if one is louder than the other.

    What was the problem with two basses before?
  12. Stealth


    Feb 5, 2008
    Zagreb, Croatia
    If you can find a wide enough one (or if you have a slim enough neck) I'd suggest downtuning to Eb standard and then using a capo for any E standard songs. Make Eb your default tuning and effectively "uptune" when needed..
  13. Darknut

    Darknut Supporting Member

    Apr 4, 2009
    There isn't any pitch pedals that sound natural! I have pretty much tried all of them that I know of .... even PC based software & they all sounds bad to my ears.

    In the mix with a full band a few pedals are "passable" at a half step ... the cheapest being the Zoom MS-60B .... works as good as any I have tried ... the Eventide stuff is marginally better but cost 4 or 5 times more.

    Seriously though transposing keys is bass 101 stuff.
  14. basslayer


    Jan 3, 2008
    Tyler, TX
    The pitch factor can do what you need but that is a lot of pedal to purchase for one setting. You might be better served staying in the dropped key and learn to play your natural tuned songs Up a half step. The Morpheus Bomber can drop your tuning a whole step so you would go from standard tuning to (low to high) D G C F, but that leaves you still relearning your alternate tuning stuff. If your budget is not a problem you can get the Kubicki Ex Factor.
  15. scotch

    scotch It's not rocket science! Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Albany, NY USA
    Please see Profile for Endorsement disclosures
    Those hipshot keys work great & you can use them on all strings as long as it fits on the headstock. They even make solutions that detune 2 tuners with one lever!
  16. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Supporting Member

    Capo : us$5
    Not having to detune/retune anymore : priceless
  17. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Just a thought - don't play in the orginal key. That's what we do with a few blues covers that are originally down-tuned.

    Another thought - equip your bass with four extenders/detuners (tuners with a lever).

    EDIT: I would probably use a second bass though.
  18. Engine207

    Engine207 Losing faith in humanity...one call at a time.

    Jul 10, 2008
    Higley, AZ
    I already knew of the five string option, but as I mentioned, I've tried and owned and played fives...they just aren't comfortable and I'm not going to get rid of my '66 P-Bass and '80 Ric for what amounts to convenience in switching basses.

    As far as transposing...I know, I know. I don't use open notes a lot, but I do, as passing tones in some of the faster parts. That's why I'm inquiring about a pedal that doesn't have too much latency. My solution in this situation is a pedal (gonna try the Eventide) that does what I want, just dealing with the swapping (and getting better/faster at it), and now...I'll try the capo to see how that works for me.