Down Tuning

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by RazorSharpBass, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. RazorSharpBass


    Jun 26, 2008
    I'm new to this forum community but I'm already loving it. I was looking to see if there was a post like this but I couldn't find one.

    I have a question with down tuning, at the moment I have a Dean bass and it's pretty good for a 4 string. Just that when I down tune it the low notes buzz. This only happens when I down tune it to C. Not so much on D and on standard it's great. Does it buzz because it looses pressure? When I put new strings on it and all the strings were probably as low as A tuning except the E string and it buzzed. The E string buzzed so much you couldn't even hear a note, then I tuned to stantard and it was fine. I don't think my bass was made for down tuning which is why I am now looking for a 5 string. I'm wanting to find out which brand would be good for downtuning.

    I leaning towards Schecter and LTD's but I would like more opinions so I can go try those out :).

    Another question is about a 5 string bass. I'm wondering about the tuning for those. I know it's BEADG standard but is there a such thing as drop C and drop D for a 5 string or should I just stick to a 4 string?:confused:
  2. GabeN


    Feb 27, 2006
    Chugiak, AK
    Just get used to the buzz or get really heavy strings with higher tension. If you're down tuning for metal I find the clank helps keep the bass cutting through. Kinda makes a chugga chugga sound.
  3. Calvan


    May 13, 2008
    San Diego
    i've had this same probably lately. it has to do with the loss of tension. i'm wondering if getting shorter strings could help keep them tighter?

    as far as tuning, my band plays in dropped c and i'm about to switch to a five string as well. i think i'm gonna do my tuning GCGCF. at first glance it seems kinda stupid, but personally i like the set up. but i also plan on using my low string mostly for support and occasionally use it for note playing
  4. savit260


    Mar 6, 2006
    You need to adjust the truss rod to compensate for the loss of string tension.

    The neck is probaby back bowing with that little tension on the strings.

    Losen the truss rod, and that should help.
  5. jdbernard


    May 29, 2007
    Most basses I've played couldn't handle a 2 step down tune (down to C). It's rattling because the strings have lost tension, they aren't as tight.

    If you're strings are really floppy, it's just not going to work on that bass. Otherwise, there are a couple of things you can do with your current bass to help with that buzzing. If you're relatively new to bass, I'd suggest taking it to your local bass shop and get someone to set it up for you. Talk to them about down-tuning as to C. If you feel confident doing it yourself, search around here for threads on adjusting you 'action' You're going to want high action to get your strings off the neck.

    If you're looking for a new bass for down-tuning, try out some basses with a longer scale length. ('Standard' is 34", try a 35")

    EDIT: just noticed other replies. Good advice from savit. Also, heavier gauge strings will help. Shorter strings won't do anything. It's the same length from the bridge to the nut no matter how long your strings are before you put them on the bass.
  6. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    You might have better luck using the B, E, A, and D strings from a 5-string set and tuning them up a half step. This would give you more tension. Or, as others have said, use your current strings and adjust the truss rod accordingly.
  7. Scionreality


    Dec 18, 2007
    Akron, Ohio
    What Dean bass do you have? I have a couple, and I tune my 4 banger to CGCF.

    I use standard guage strings, but I've got the neck relief adjusted, and the action a tad high.

    Also, I make up for it a little with my right hand, the way I pick.

    Heavier guage string will work too, I just didn't like the tone I got. YMMV.
  8. RazorSharpBass


    Jun 26, 2008
    My Bass does not have a truss rod, I don't see a screw under the tuning knobs or a stripe in the back. Thats another reason I was thinking of getting another bass. I heard that having short strings it's not as good, that it should be sort of long and loop around the tuning machine atleast 3 times. At the moment my bass has Ernie Balls, they are custom gauge not heavy so I guess I can try that first, getting a set of heavy gauge.

    On the 5 - string with GCGCF that's what I was thinking too, but then wouldn't it just buzz too? Unless you adjust the truss rod. The 35" sounds good too, I tried a Schecter C-5 5 string and it was amazing, it had a 35" scale with active EQ:D
  9. Your truss rod is most likely then at the body joint and must be removed (by a professional or someone with experience) for adjustments. I tend to avoid that config because I'm too meticulous and picky with my setups and my region has drastic climate changes.

    35" scale is decent for downtuning since it adds back some tension.
  10. heath_r_91


    Jun 3, 2006
    Topeka Area, Kansas
    I had that same problem with my SUB for a while because I use the same tuning as you on a 34" four string as well, until I switched to these ever since I got those I have not had a problem, however, I wouldn't recommend putting the low string back to standard tuning, it gets reeeeal tight like that.
  11. RazorSharpBass


    Jun 26, 2008
    I'll try those, at the moment mine are 105, 85, 70, 50. What type of 5 or 4 string bass would you guys recommend for down tuning? I'm on a 400 - 600$ Budget and I'm currently trying Schecter, Ibanez and Warwicks, but Warwicks are too expensive :meh: I already found a Schecter but I would like to try out other brands.
  12. Most would probably agree than those strings are not ideal for that tuning.
  13. RazorSharpBass


    Jun 26, 2008
    Alright, I'll buy those heavy gauge soon then
  14. :meh: Number of strings is neither good nor bad; just a matter of personal preference.
    Oh- and welcome to TB. :)
  15. GeddyisGod

    GeddyisGod Four on the floor and nothing more!

    Feb 4, 2004
    Moberly, MO
    I've been drop-C-ing with that gauge for years. Make sure your neck isn't too flat, and raise your bridge saddles.
  16. RazorSharpBass


    Jun 26, 2008

    and thanks for the link to that post
  17. SLaPiNFuNK

    SLaPiNFuNK Inactive Commercial User

    Jul 28, 2006
    LA California
    The Brains:
    I used to detune my B string to A on my 6 string smith...
  18. MoD_Scotty


    Jul 22, 2007
    Thrapston, UK
    There is no reason why that bass won't work for down tuning. I tune all my 4-strings down to B. HOWEVER, you will need thicker strings. The best thing to du is just buy a set of 5-string strings...and either use the 4 low ones (BEAD), or if you're tuned to a "drop-B," you can do what I do and use BADG strings. I'm tuned to BF#BE, so that my gui****s can be tuned to B and still play power chords by just barring (like drop-D).

    My suggestion is to get the strings, then take them with your bass to a respectable shop to have the neck set up for the lower tuning/heavier gauge strings. Your buzzing problems will be a thing of the past.
  19. RazorSharpBass


    Jun 26, 2008