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Downtuning to drop b, string advice?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by THRILLSEEKER, Oct 30, 2010.



    Oct 16, 2009
    I play in drop B tuning (B f# b e) and I'm currently playing with a D'Addario 5 string set, (on a 4 string, just using the 4 fattest strings) 45 to 135. The only problem I'm having is that I'm getting too much fret buzz. I've set up my bass well and can't seem to eliminate it. Obviously this is happening because of such heavy gauge strings, so I'm thinking about switching to lighter strings. I am playing a Fender Jazz Geddy Lee (34" scale length). My biggest concern is losing tension. I haven't had a ton of experience messing around with different types of strings so I'm trying to figure out which would best do the job I need it to do.

    Any suggestions?

    Help would be much appreciated.
  2. Lowpro


    Sep 25, 2006
    Birmingham, AL
    Honestly I drop B a lot and I use a normal 110 set on my Sterling (Like Isis?). If you're getting fret buzz it may just be the action's too low and the larger strings are making too much contact. You can adjust action if you want and keep the gauge (shouldn't take much)

    Otherwise, Ernie Ball makes these wierd gauge slinkies (can't remember what they are) with a fat E string and lighter strings otherwise; just be careful with your truss rod tension.

    EDIT: Just checked Guitar Center and I can't find those strings anymore =( but again, try some 110's you really really don't need 135's for drop B and there shouldn't be any real rattling

    EDIT again: http://www.guitarcenter.com/DR-Strings-Drop-Down-Tuning-Heavy-Bass-Strings-585429-i1530211.gc here's an example of some of the strings you can find here http://www.guitarcenter.com/Other-Gauges-4-String-Sets,New-Gear.gc but again I really think you should just use 110's otherwise you're stuck with in my opinion a wonky setup of strings
  3. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    I'd suggest looking for sets that are gauged similarly to;

    .142 .096 .072 .052


    .136 .092 .068 .049

    Standard B strings are generally under-tensioned as a matter of course - upping the tension on the treble side only exacerbates that characteristic.
  4. mmbongo

    mmbongo Five Time World Champion Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    DR makes sets designed for just that, they are called DDT's (Drop Down Tuning).
  5. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    The DDTs are for dropping the entire set down and maintaining 4ths intervals across the fret board, and NOT for dropping just the lowest string that whole step.
  6. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    knuckle_head is correct.

    Circle K Strings Drop Tune sets are designed to have the strings at equal tension, this has many advantages. Or alternatively you could put together a custom set from your favourite brand of single strings.

    A lighter set with less tension would actually flop around more and create more fretbuzz.
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009

    sorry, but if those big strings are buzzing, then by definition the bass is not "set up well". lighter strings would just allow more backbow and make the problem worse.
  8. musicforpeace


    Aug 22, 2011
    I've been using drop B for a while and i recently had the idea of getting a 5 string bass and tuning the top four strings up one whole step giving me an extra high string. I've been told this would require extremely light strings to avoid ruining the neck. Any idea what gauges would be good for this?
  9. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    Ge the B of your choice - .130 or better (IMO) - and get a real light 4 string set with a .095 as the E string. It will get you close.
  10. Wait a second- by "Drop B" do you mean BADG? Or BEAD? BEAD is "B Standard". "Drop B" is BADG.
  11. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
    Better bone up on your drop tuning terminology. Drop B is B F# B E. In other words, C# Standard and then drop the 4th string a whole step.
  12. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    Circle K strings has:

    .136 .090 .067 .049 .035
    .142 .094 .070 .053 .037

    sets which would be great for your application.

    Linking you to their list of standard scale, drop-tuned, 5 string sets: Circle K Strings - Standard Drop-tuned 5 Strings
  13. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF


    or drop C a half step... we're big Sevendust honks so we use drop B from time to time... sounds huge

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