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Drop D on a 5 string?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by fenbull, Nov 24, 2003.


  1. fenbull

    fenbull

    Oct 31, 2003
    Akron ohio
    I just bought a five string and was wondering if I can tune the B to D will this be to tight? Can it cause problems to my neck? What if i drop the gauge of the string to match my E and then drop to D would this work or be better. Sorry if this has been asked before...but i am new to 5 stringers. I like to play in drop d but hate detuning the bass.:bassist:
     
  2. Personally can't see why you'd want to, you're limiting your range. But each to their own.

    You could try it with a thinner gauge B, or a heavier E, essentially you want something between the standard E and B gauges. If you tune up using a normal B, you will end up with the tensions weird across the strings, so you run the risk of ending up with a bit of a twist happening, possibly.

    Experiment a bit but if you notice the relief on one side of the neck is different to the other, you'll probly wanna fix something up.

    Josh D
     
  3. EBMatt

    EBMatt

    Nov 21, 2003
    Springfield, MA
    You can tune the bass D-A-D-G-B if you wanted and get the extra high string instead. But if you don't like tuning the bass to Drop-D that is the same thing. I wouldn't tune the B up to a D. I would think it would be too much tension on the neck. Another option is to try and get used to the 5-string the way it is, which I think is your best bet.

    Why don't you like tuning to drop-D?
     
  4. Fen, the point of a 5 string is you already have the low D to hit, on the third fret of the B string.

    I can see you wanting the Drop D on the other strings as well but, you will need lighter guaged strings and, I would suggest a string with less tension such as the Thomastik Power bass series.

    Some times a new nut is required.

    [​IMG]
    Treena
     
  5. fenbull

    fenbull

    Oct 31, 2003
    Akron ohio
    O.K. here is where i dont want to look bad.I play alot of songs to c.d.s and tab that are standard tuning EADG now i am BEADG. I know the d is the 3rd fret but i need the whole string to be tuned to d to play the notes on that string in that key.I thought that if i could tune my b to d i could never have to drop my e to play drop d songs. Do I make sence?:confused: I am new to bass and am learning the b...but dont see how offten i will need the b since it is not used in some songs i like. It is used in alot of Staind etc. Help?
     
  6. Mikemike

    Mikemike Miscreant

    Jun 18, 2002
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    But whether you use the D on the B string or tune down, you're still playing the same notes. What difference does it make what string or fret it gets played on? It's like transposing, just without changing a key, if you see what I'm saying. I'd just stick with the five-string the way it is.:)
     
  7. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    I played a MIA Fender Jazz five string for years tuned DEADG without any problems.

    It may not be the proper way to tune the Bass, but it worked for me.
     
  8. fenbull

    fenbull

    Oct 31, 2003
    Akron ohio
    Mike #1 I might be confused but the B string is a whole step down from a D. If i play a song in D on the B wouldnt it be lower than a regular tuned D? Please try to understand i am trying to learn this and i hope im not comuing across as bad as it seems. Mike #2 did you tune your regular B to d? you say no problems or did you use a lighter gauge string. to be honest guys the B string is confusing me and i hope you understand.:meh:
     
  9. I think you're the one that's confused on this subject. The point that many people are making is that you don't need an open string D to play something in the key of D. Putting your finger on the 3rd fret of the low B string would give you the same note as if you tuned that B string up to D and hit that open string. Does that make sense to you?
    Another reason not to tune DEADG is that by the time to you get up to the 2nd fret on the lowest string, those are notes that you could be playing on the E string, only 2 frets away, which decreases the usefulness of the 5th string.
    I'm not sure if this explanation was very clear, but anyways.
     
  10. EBMatt

    EBMatt

    Nov 21, 2003
    Springfield, MA
    A low D is a low D no matter what. Nothing can change that period.

    Remember when you tuned your 4-string to drop D? That D is the same exact note as the 3rd fret on the B string, and that note will be in perfect tuning with whatever D anybody else plays.

    Now lets say you're looking at some tab that is in drop-D. When it says to hit the open D, which would be a 0 on the lowest of the four lines of the tab, just make that a 3 on the B string. Its that simple, and its the same note.

    It seems to me that your confusion is not coming from the bass, but the tab that your reading. If the tab your reading says that the song is tuned to D-A-D-G, it is perfectly fine to play it on a bass that is tuned to B-E-A-D-G. Just play the D on the 3rd fret.
     
  11. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    Regular B string tuned to D.
    FWIW I was using D'Addario XL's.
     
  12. If you play riff based music some riffs are written based on open strings with drop-d tuning and are therefore much easier to play with drop-d tuning than on a "standard" tuned fivestring. For instance there could be large finger streches or fast jumps and so on. This could be a reason to tune the bass differently.
     
  13. fenbull

    fenbull

    Oct 31, 2003
    Akron ohio
    Dude...i think you see my point.O.k. here is a tab played on drop D.- 9/12--0-9-7-0-2p0-2 In drop D it is that simple..but in B where do i go cuz the note in B will not be the same. This is the reason i stick to just detuning the string. i understand that the open D is the 3rd fret but what about all the other notes...i would have to transpose all tab in drop d then? If i played the same tab in standard E it would not be right cuz the whole string is in E....Hey im tryin guys give me a break! :D
     
  14. i have a five,
    and for most songs i just transpose for for the B string, its good for ya brain!

    the anwer as i see it is just so simply though, just tune your E to D, and ignore the B in those songs? just like playing a four string, DADG.

    learn some incubus, they are great songs which are actually written on a 5 string, (although the tab may not be) they are great songs for a 5.

    note, the best thing that happened to me was i started to play songs without TAB shockhorror, just ear
     
  15. notabob

    notabob

    Sep 20, 2003
    cincinnati ohio
    fenbull: i would suggest investing in a hipshot drop d tuner. i play some songs on my 5-string that it is easier for me to tune my E string to D than to play the D on the 3rd fret of the B string. so, i tune down to D and use my good sense of vibration to tune back to E between songs. i think you might run into problems tightening your B string to a D or dropping another E string in the B position to a D, so i think it would be wise to buy an extender (drop d tuner). i believe i saw one or two in the classified section earlier.

    hope this helps.
     
  16. Sounds like to me, that some bassist would do well if they learned the notes on their neck (ALL of them), then transposing wouldn't be such a threat.

    Tab is, IMHO, just like painting by numbers. You will never learn your neck or note structure by playing TAB.

    GET YOURSELF a GOOD TEACHER.

    Good luck!

    [​IMG]
    Treena
     
  17. notabob

    notabob

    Sep 20, 2003
    cincinnati ohio
    i dont and never have played tab. if i want to learn something i listen to it until i know what to play. sometimes its easier to move from different positions on the neck to another position that would only be available on a dropped e string.
     
  18. Fenbull, get into a bit of music theory sort of stuff. It'll give you heaps more freedom when you play, learning to know the notes up and down the neck and how they're related and that.

    eg. your riff can be played all from the one position on a normally tuned 5er. It goes from the B to D (2 to 5 on the A string) then to the D (3 on the B string) then to the B on the A again to either an open A, or A on the 5th of the E string. D again then either an open E or E on the 5th fret of the B.

    If that makes much sense, I could tab it out but it'd kinda defy my point.

    The section on this site has an absolute mass of info, a lot of it is probly a bit deep but they'll point you in a more definite direction.

    Josh D
     
  19. noooo you beat me, I was about to tab it out in the way that you just said. Anyways, I guess it's better not to attach oneself to tab for many of the reasons already stated. However, if you feel you need the tab, no one's gonna stop you, but it'd be cool if you could develop an open mind about the tab, because often the person who wrote the tab got all the notes right, but in positions that are more awkward than they should be. Anyways, just remember that 90% of the time, the tab isn't accurate, and it's best to figure out the easiest way to play a song for YOU. The End.
     
  20. fenbull

    fenbull

    Oct 31, 2003
    Akron ohio
    Thanks everyone for the help...i am understanding more and more. I have a good ear and can usally pick up bass lines well. I am learning the notes on the neck and for the most part have most of them down.I didnt paint them on the neck ...but thought of it:D Now by adding the B it made me get thrown out of wack , new notes and transposing. I use tab to find out areas of songs that i cant get by ear or get lost in the mix.I also go another step further and write the notes out on my tabs to read and remember the positions.Tab to me is a great tool and buffs of music theory always push them off. But for some they can be a godsend to help understand music comp and notes to scales etc.I wish I had a dime for every band or player I have met that could really jam on his instrument and started talking theory and stuff to have them say ...hey man its from the heart...i started by getting lessions and just learned more by ear and tab, then i got in a band and it all worked....two of the top guitarists i know one a bassist and another a reg guitar told me they never do scales and if i ever get half as good as them i will be fine.Thanks for all the help and i will play more incubus since i love them anyhow.I can transpose and learn more this way to! Happy T day:bassist: