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Drop B tuning???

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by crossXbones, Dec 8, 2002.

  1. crossXbones


    Sep 17, 2002
    What is drop B tuning and how can i do it? i am assuming that since the tuning changes from standard EADG, that all the notes on the bass will move around to fit the new tuning? Also, I have a 4 string bass.

  2. ChenNuts44


    Nov 18, 2001
    Davenport, IA
    do you mean "drop ---D---" tuning? drop B would be damn near impossible to play, and if you wanted a B tuning, you would tune all of your string down E to B, A to E, D to A, and G to D. With "drop ---D---" tuning, you just tune your E string down a whole step to D and then the others remain standard.
  3. crossXbones


    Sep 17, 2002
    nope i am sure it is drop B tuning. I am guessing that drop B tuning is BEAD or is it BADG? I really have no idea.

  4. I'm sure it would be BEAD. I wouldn't want to tune my bass down that low though. There wouldn't be enough tension on the neck, and would be impossible to set up.

    Why not get a 5 string and have BEADG, and have the best of both worlds.
  5. Drop B sugests me something more like B, F#, Cb, E. I guess that tuning you bass like that was requested to you by a guitar player, wasn't it? If it was, I get the Idea that Drop B is actually an Open tuning.. But as I don't like using open tunings , I would tune it BEAD.
    NiteFury likes this.
  6. Dave Castelo

    Dave Castelo

    Apr 19, 2000
    or get one of those "Scorpion Basses" (schecter?) that are 4 strings but tuned B E A D with the right tension on the neck

    haven't played one but sounds like a good idea (or get the damn five stringer :p )
  7. The lack of tension on the neck shouldn't be that bad if you have a heavy string gauge.

    Brendan tunes to BEAD alot, try PMing him if he doesn't see this thread.
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    This is just a guess. Could the drop B refer to changing strings on a four string bass from the usual EADG to BEAD with no G? I mean by this, the string guage is changed and one strings the bass with a B-string, etc.

    About ten years ago before five-string basses were as common as now, many bassists strung their basses this way to have the advantage of a B-string without buying a five-string bass. Of course, they then lost the G-string, but for heavy metal, the tradeoff was worth it to some.
  9. Doug Pinnick of King's X has used drop-B tuning (B, F#, Cb, E) on occasion- eg. "Black the sky" on the Dogman album.

    bizarrely, he uses pretty light strings (40-95) and a low action= buzz city.
  10. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I totally agree with everything Herm has said. Back in 92-93 I tried to drop to B on a 4 string I was playing at the time for a Zombie tune. The string was too loose to get much more than a constant buzz.

    Youre better off just saving your money for a 1/2 decent 5 string or a 4 string that is built tuned B E A D. for reasons already stated.
  11. Only


    Sep 8, 2002
    Warrensburg, MO
    When I first joined my generic metal band, my singer wanted me to tune down to B.

    Drop B = Your bass going GLURP BOINK SPLAT SCHZZZZZZZZZZZBRINK when you try to play. :(

    I recommend buying a fiver or a Schecter Sub-bass.
  12. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    with my hipshot it's either D or C; i have tried B, but it was a little too loose (even C is a little loose)
  13. You would have to refile the nut to accomodate the different string gauges, and have the bass re set-up, but it can be done.
  14. jaybo

    jaybo Guest

    Sep 5, 2001
    Richmond, KY
    I play extended range basses and when the guitarist in my band quit I started playing guitar and the new guy plays a 4 string. In a couple of songs where a low B is essential he tunes to B A D G. There's no reason to tune down the other three strings unless you're playing a lot of chords, it just takes a little thinking. He plays a usa jazz bass through a mesa head and an 8x10. It sounds fine in the context of a band mix. I imagine if you played like this all the time a bigger string guage would be helpful though. Because of the lower tension, you may be prone to breaking the string.
  15. Dominick


    Feb 12, 2010
    Music City, USA
    You could always try B F B E if you want a pretty low and obscure tuning. Like with any low tuning, you'll want the right strings that provide proper neck tension. I only use Rotosound strings, but I'm sure drop tuning gauges are available in every other string brand, if you don't like Rotosound. I suggest either a (Rotosound swing bass 66 steel) 50-110 gauge/65 - 130 or 85 - 175 if you really want fat, low yet crispy tones. I also suggest taking your bass to a specialist for that initial drop-tune set-up. Intonation adjustments can be a bear with really fat strings.

    Also - a lot of bass amps are unfortunately not so good for really low frequencies. But I've used this tuning on a B.C. Rich Zombie as well as a Fender Jazz; both originally through a Fender Bassman 250 watt combo amp. The B.C. Rich doesn't like the Jazz amp even in standard tuning because the massiveness and thickness in tone and depth of the (BCR) factory Rockfield pickups compared to the trebly coil pickups on a Jazz bass, is intense.

    If you tune that low, be prepared to switch to 15 inch speakers to get the best sound from your bass! Always bear that in mind if you are currently playing through 4x10's or something along that configuration. Such low tunings come through the mix less heard as they are more felt. Live you may sacrifice tone in this respect. If you are highly-melodic player, really low frequencies are less fluid-sounding in a live mix.

    It's definitely fun to play around with different tunings though!!!
  16. Dominick


    Feb 12, 2010
    Music City, USA
    Ok, so I'm a newbie on this site and just realized I responded to a post from 2002. Drrrrr....give a guy a break!!
  17. tito0515


    Aug 21, 2008
    Ha ha, I wouldn't have read it if you hadn't responded! :D

    An interesting thread, though I can't imagine dropping my E to a B - too floppy. When ahead and got me a fiver to play with. Interesting enough though that people tune so differently.
  18. Dominick


    Feb 12, 2010
    Music City, USA

    Cool. I "hemed and hawed" for a LONG time before getting a 5-string bass. I've always been old school; raised on 4-strings, never saw Geddy use a 5-string, so I didn't need one. Ha! :cool: (Although he did use a 5-string Wal ever so briefly.)

    Now I love playing my five string. It's great for soloing, if nothing else. Lots of extra notes to buzz around on, obviously. I currently have 4 basses and they are all tuned differently (DGCF, EbAbDbGb, CGDEA and A#D#F#C#). I like to lay a track, then use another bass to play parts over it; kinda like a "lead" track, sometimes chords and notes. The different tunings make it really fun to do lots of different harmonies.

    Anyhow...thanks for responding to me on your 8-year old thread. You are a kind soul...I don't care what anyone else on this website says about ya. ;)
  19. kcamsdog1387


    Jun 22, 2009
    Seacoast NH
    now I saw that people were tuning drop b as B F# Cb E. Now my question is why would you tune that was as opposed to having the normal D string tunes to match the B, as in drop D tuning its D A D G.
  20. cubano1147


    Feb 26, 2010
    Drop B tuning is B F# B E.... least thats what i use on my 4 string. But if u wanna go that low, u gotta buy the heaviest strings u can. The sound is so deep. I love it.

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