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Drop D Nightmare

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by lustersilk, Nov 16, 2017.


  1. I play electric bass in a classical guitar ensemble. Last night at our concert we played a beautiful arrangement of Grand Solo by Fernando Sor, and the bass part was in drop d. Eleven minutes of pure joy, the song was great. So then we leave the stage and various small combos and soloists begin to perform. Now it's my quintets turn. We're doing an arrangement of the theme song from the movie Rudy, which is NOT in drop d. Do I re-tune my bass, nope. To make matters worse, that string doesn't even come into play until about 30 seconds into the song. Arrrrggggg! Improvisation takes over and in the end it doesn't turn out too bad. Needless to say I was freakin' out the whole time. Lesson learned, always check your tuning!
     
  2. nbsipics

    nbsipics Used to be a Dead Guy Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    Or get a 5 string? :)
     
  3. One band I play with does the final song in Drop D and it is always a night mare because it is never in tune and neither of the guitar players even seem to notice. I have tried and tried to get them to use a different guitar tuned for the song but it is always the same Drop D nightmare.
     
    Stumbo and lustersilk like this.
  4. TedH

    TedH Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2014
    Westchester, NY
  5. I need a short scale five. I tried the Ibanez Mikro 5 but that B string isn't really even viable. Way to flabby and too much buzz. I currently play a Mustang in this group, which I love! I'll keep searching because I agree, a five is where I need to be. Thanks.
     
    Stumbo and nbsipics like this.
  6. bullitproof likes this.
  7. JGbassman

    JGbassman

    May 31, 2011
    Iowa
    Hipshot drop d tuner. I have them on both of my main four string basses
     
  8. mpm32

    mpm32

    Jan 23, 2009
    +1, I have the one that does 2 stops, I have it tuned to Eb and D.
     
    noeinstein likes this.
  9. rickdog

    rickdog Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2010
    I have one on my Jazz. Totally works. Couldn't imagine being without it.
     
    superdick2112 likes this.
  10. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    + a million

    Every four-string in my collection has one, for this exact reason. A five-string isn’t always a solution, depending on the fingering pattern.
     
    TedH, bullitproof and superdick2112 like this.
  11. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Why in the world would anybody tune drop D when a 5 string bass is available?
     
  12. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    Fingering patterns. Ever tried playing “Living On A Prayer” in D? Easy on a drop-D tuned four, much more difficult on a five.
     
    mech, JGbassman, Jimruth and 5 others like this.
  13. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    They're absolutely necessary in my band. We have no breaks between songs, ever, and we have a handful of songs in drop D. Those are completely worth the investment. Have em on pretty much all my basses.

    Regarding your nightmare - been there, done that, and know the feeling well. Had a similar situation recently using a one of the D-tuners. I had one on my Gibson that I hadn't used in a while, and forgot to tweak the tuning on it (ya have to do that from time to time). We tune down a half step in my band, and when I went into drop D and it was out of tune, my brain didn't register "C#". I did my best to retune during the song, but lost it. Tuning back up for the next song, I had the same problem, PLUS, the weird-ass chorusy thing that Gibsons do threw my tuner into crazy mode. I couldn't tune with the pedal, there was no break, and I had to sweat through till I managed to get it as close as I could and finish the set. Not fun. The Gibson doesn't get to come out to play with that band anymore. Actually took the tuner off it and put it on my Warwick. It works perfectly on that.
     
  14. MYLOWFREQ

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    In some cases drop tunings have more advantages over using a 5 string, and sometimes it is the other way around.
     
    Joe Nerve, nbsipics and MDBass like this.
  15. Felken

    Felken

    Jun 28, 2016
    Ottawa, CAN
    Y'all just need to concede once and for all that 5 stringers are better than 4. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
    Dieboy and Mechanical like this.
  16. Felken

    Felken

    Jun 28, 2016
    Ottawa, CAN
    The only time I found downtuning more convenient than a low B string is for raking, which I do quite often. However, I can always tune my B string up to D.
     
    MYLOWFREQ likes this.
  17. Kirsty

    Kirsty

    Aug 7, 2017
    I play Wrap It Up with the E string tuned to Eb, and Broke and Hungry in dropped D. This morning I was seriously considering buying a rubber chicken to clip to the headstock when I'm in dropped tunings. Embarrassingly easy to forget and forge ahead into the next song. Ouch!
     
    lustersilk likes this.
  18. Try playing "Spoon Man" by Soundgarden on a five string. Then play it on a four string tuned to drop D. There is your answer.
     
  19. MYLOWFREQ

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    New York
    Exactly, sometimes you need a certain note to be an open string thus tuning up or down would be necessary.
     
    Felken and Gearhead17 like this.
  20. mikewalker

    mikewalker

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    Just tune the whole thing down a full step all the time, and use a capo when you are jonesing for that "open E thang"...
     
    ctmullins likes this.