Drop D# - is that a thing?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Aceman, Dec 8, 2022.

  1. Aceman


    May 1, 2020
    Tampa Bay
    So I am playing some bass in the charity work band.

    A couple of tunes were in Eb, so I tuned down the E string a half step. What I noticed is it was pretty easy to play in "Eb" tuning with only that string tuned down.

    I can't be the person who discovered this, but I have never really heard of it.

    Is Drop D# a thing? Obviously drop D is, and all strings down a half step is.
    LowActionHero and SoCal80s like this.
  2. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    You can tune any string the way you want. I tune my E string to Eb sometimes. Is it a thing? It is when you use it. :)
    JmJ, 4SG, Peter Torning and 8 others like this.
  3. IamGroot


    Jan 18, 2018
    Drop D is a thing. Its a fifth below A and it is an octave below the D string. Lots of bass players retune or use a hipshot for D. And the ladies love it.
  4. LiptonJigglers


    Oct 21, 2022
    Tuning toD# is the norm for most Bon Scott/ACDC bass.
  5. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    SRV played 1/2 step down IIRC.
    I worked with 2 bands that played 1/2 step down
    to help the singers voices. Way less strain for them.
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  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Tuning to drop Eb is easy. Tuning to drop D# is impossible.
  7. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    That’s not the same as tuning only the E string to Eb. That’s what the OP is referring to.
  8. higain617


    Sep 12, 2013
    To achieve this, I believe you would have to tune up to F. I think that's referred to as "Nashville tuning."
  9. GregT


    Jan 29, 2012
    Southwest Missouri
    Although it's not quite the same thing, I frequently fill in on bass for a guy who always tunes to D#/Eb. I just retune my bass and play. Sometimes I forget to retune my bass for a few days after I get it home.
  10. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    It depends on the song. I'd prefer Drop D or just use a 5 string, maybe an instrument tuned down a half step
    IamGroot likes this.
  11. FullumMusic

    FullumMusic Commercial User

    Oct 13, 2022
    Queens, NYC
    Audio/Music software developer, contracted with a company you've heard of and deving my own stuff.
    Drop tuning is when you just tune the lowest string down and leave the others standard. So Drop D# (which if we want to get pedantic should probably be called Drop Eb) would be D#(Eb)-A-D-G.

    Is it a thing? Anything is a thing if you do it. There's no official Bass Tuning Advisory Board defining official tunings that are allowed to be things. Do a thing, and then describe it, and it's a thing.

    Is it a useful thing? If having the Eb and A strings a tritone apart helps play what you want to play... but how often is that a useful thing to have across the nut/finger-bar?

    So you drop the E to D#(Eb) and then tune the other 3 strings to different notes at more useful intervals. Then we can have fun getting bogged down debating the semantics of if it's Drop Eb with a shift tuning, or just an alternate tuning that's not technically a Drop tuning, or and Open tuning, or some other thing, which is less useful than just picking notes for your strings, tuning, and playing.
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  12. FRoss6788

    FRoss6788 Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2012
    Olympic Peninsula
    I'd rather (and have) tune all the strings down a half step. If you were playing a cover tune, that's probably how it was recorded anyway.
  13. Plucky The Bassist

    Plucky The Bassist ZOMG! I'm back from the dead! Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2010
    Psshh whatever....at least 5 of my basses are tuned to Fb Standard at all times. :smug:
  14. waveman


    Sep 25, 2008
    Mickey666 and two fingers like this.
  15. 80jazz


    Jun 28, 2008
    D## is way better.
    Mickey666, George Dennis and IamGroot like this.
  16. bassinflorida

    bassinflorida turn that dang thing down

    Jan 27, 2014
    Tampa, FL
  17. edot3021


    Jan 29, 2010
    Tuning down a half step seems pretty popular in the late 90s. No real idea why.
    IamGroot likes this.
  18. Telefonica


    Dec 4, 2022
    Used to do it when I played heavy strings on guitar.
  19. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    If you want to learn Hendrix or SRV songs off of the records it is.
    A lot of blues guys tune down a half step to "slack E" = a little easier to sing lead and releases some string tension for easier note bending.
    I keep my Ric tuned to Eb/D# for just such purposes.
  20. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    If it works, I'm all for it. Not so sure it would work for me ( and I played with a drop D E string for about 10 years in horn bands where keys of Bb and Eb were common) as I found having that half step below the Eb tonic very useful. Less brain work as well when playing in other keys.
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