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Drop D Tuner: Comments?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by duke2004, Oct 6, 2005.

  1. duke2004


    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    I spend about the same amount of time playing 5 string and 4 string. Should I consider getting a drop D tuner on my 4? I would like to hear comments from people who have tried this device. How useful is it? Are the disadvantages? How do people incorporate this in their playing???
  2. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    To be perfectly honest, I can't live without a detuner. I don't play five string basses, because I almost NEVER go below a low D. If you find that you seldom go down below a low D, or even C it's not a bad idea, I buy Hipshots when I know a bass is coming and have them installed no matter what. They're probably the most useful accessory out there, at least to me, and I've found no disadvantages other than people constantly asking whats with that wacky tuner. They take a bit of time to tune initially, but once your strings settle in, you don't have to adjust the tuning for a long time as long as you use the same gauge and brand of strings.

    The lever on the Hipshot is in such a good place that I can tune between E and D by flicking it WHILE playing. There's no need to stop playing in order to do this.
  3. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY

    I agree. I wouldn't go on stage with a d-tuner or staploks.
    You can flip to d instantly and flip back without a hitch. If you do covers and some are drop d, its the way to go.

  4. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I kept Hipshot D-Tuners (Bass Xtenders) on my basses for well over a decade. They're excellent devices. The problem is, you can flip between E and just one other note. I kept mine tuned to D, so the Hipshots didn't help if I wanted Db or C.

    So, I bought a five-string in Y2K. I like it so much that I wished I'd done it 10 years earlier. Obviously, I recommend fiver over going the Hipshot route, but if you decide to stick with four-string, the Hipshot works fine within the limitation noted above.
  5. duke2004


    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    Excuse my inexperience with these devices, but how low can you set the detuner? I figures if you can set it to go from E to low B, then you could also just flip the detuner, and play the third fret of the "E" string to give you the D, while still having an option of playing the notes of a 5 string B string. Is this possible/practical?
  6. dave120


    Jun 27, 2005
    Central Florida
    I would think that the B string would be waaay too floppy using a normal E string and tuning it down, but I've never actually tried it...
  7. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Possible? Yes.

    Practical? No. I find that it's REALLY floppy depending on strings, when you tune below a C.
  8. duke2004


    Mar 29, 2004
    Cambridge, Mass.
    True, an E string tuned to B is going to be pretty crappy.
  9. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Tune the E string down to B on your current bass to hear for yourself! Maybe you'll like it.....

    That said: if you have big cloverleaf tuners in a 4-inline configuration, you probably won't be able to hit that low B anyway. Short explanation: the tuner tilts forward when it's detuned, and cramped tuners won't allow enough of a tilt.
  10. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    Hipshot says you can tune down "as far as Low C."
  11. fookgub


    Jun 5, 2005
    Houston, TX
    The D tuner is very useful if you find yourself needing to go between e and d onstage. I play a 5 string, but still find the d tuner useful because many songs in drop d would be tricky or impossible in standard tuning (ie: when a song uses the d as a pedal tone).

    That said, I've never gotten my d tuner to work as well as I'd like. It's quick and dirty and gets me pretty close, but I find myself constantly messing with it to try to stay in tune. YMMV, of couse, since many people seem to use them with no problems at all.
  12. Anyone here use one of their B-string, to tune down to A? I've been wanting to get one for my 5-string...

    And is there any possibility of having both B and E string detuners? I have 2+3 style headstocks so there's a little extra room but probably not enough unless there's a detuner where the lever pops up so it's out of the way of the other tuner.
  13. C-5KO


    Mar 9, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Go for it. I use mine on my basses. I tune the B down to A. There are definately some low Bb's that I can't do without.

    It should sound fine on your bass (assuming it's the Elrick we're talking about). I'm not sure about one on the E string though. I think you're right - the lever won't have clearance because of the B string tuner. I do remember seeing a picture of a Zon Manring bass which had detuners on all 6 strings... I forget whether they were standard detuners?
  14. Mr_Dave


    Mar 11, 2005
    Melbourne, Australia
    Employee - Basscentre Melbourne
    hi, i just got one on my sadowsky ultravintage metro and i'm really liking it.

    i'll be using it tonight on my fill in disco/80's covers gig. :D

    i find it very accurate.

    i have a friend who has put one on a custom shop 64 nos jazz and it doen't work so well because the string doen't pull straight from the nut to the tuner and it sticks and gets out of tune, even with a bit of graphite...
  15. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Yes, it can be used on the B to go to a low A.

    Greg, contact jason@hipshotproducts.com about this, they're capable of custom making a E string lever to bend around the B string and you can do one, the other, or both.
  16. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    I think there is a standard hipshot detuner meant to fit between two pegs.... Check out their website.
  17. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Not standard, somewhat custom. They make these on an order by order basis. They have custom levers.
  18. fenderx55


    Jan 15, 2005

    so does that mean that it's a PITA to tune to Eb on the fly? like while learning songs at home or with a band?
  19. Marcus Willett

    Marcus Willett

    Feb 8, 2005
    Palm Bay, FL
    Endorsing Artist: Bag End - Dean Markley - Thunderfunk
    I used the Hipshot for years, mostly resisting switching to a 5. To me a 5 is the way to go, but I can understand sticking with a 4, totally. You do need to spend some time tweaking to get 'em just right. I eventually tuned mine to low C. Made for a weird transposition, but you get used to it. If the music you are playing doesn't need notes below E very often, then it's a great way to go. There's nothing like ending a tune in D with that big low D...MUCH stronger than an octave up. With the C, it could go either way to me, but the D is definitely a nice thing to have.

    But yeah, if you're set in sticking with the 4 string, the Hipshot is almost indispensable these days.
  20. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    No, the initial setup to get the key to drop from E to D or E to Eb or whatever you choose takes time to settle in. Mind you that these only do one alternate tuning, otherwise you can use the tuner as a regular tuner, however flipping the switch will not vgive you the desired effects in most cases.