drop D..uhhh?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by fivesevenoh, Sep 23, 2003.

  1. my guitarist tunes to DADGBE. and i am not really a fan of that. I tune my bass to BDADG in order to play with him. but I was wondering if there was any alternate tunings I could do. ???
  2. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    BEADG always worked fine for me when I played with drop D guitarist.

    Also try ADGCF or DEADG.

  3. thanks. I dont really know the notes on the neck yet. I just always played the root notes of what the guitarist was doing. so I guess I should get to memorizing the notes, so I know where to play the stuff, if I change my tuning.
  4. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Memorise the position of the notes... and learn to find them by ear rather than relying on seeing where the guitarists fingers are.

  5. how do I learn them by ear? i tried some computer program and i got this book. but they all use MIDI sounds. and the midi sounds nothing like bass.
  6. An alternate tuning you might want to try is ADADG. I use this with a dropped-D guitarist. That way you get the dropped D so you can hang with the quick open D riffs, but you also get the interval you're used to between the low A-D. Or, as someone suggested, you could just go a step flat for all the strings and keep the traditional shapes.
  7. hmm...interval.....step flat....traditional shapes....yeh thats over my head...lol. could someone please explain this to me?

    but dont u think tuning the 5th string to A is a lil bit too low? right now i have it tuned to B.
  8. atldeadhead


    Jun 17, 2002
    My band does stuff in both standard tuning and drop D tuning.

    My solution?

    4 string tuned to drop D
    5 string tuned standard for the songs in standard
    Channel Switcher

    Then I can switch between basses depeding on the song. As far as learning all the songs in standard tuning...that is sometimes easier said than done. Most riffs written around the drop D tuning just don't sound right, in my opinion, without that open low D string. In fact, some licks just can't be played correctly without the open string. YMMV.
  9. ClarkW


    Aug 1, 2003
    Provo, UT. USA
    I played with two different artists/groups that had a tendency to play songs in drop-D, and one of the girls even had a few songs in C tuning (C-F-Bb-Eb-G-C or something). With those groups, I *never* retuned my 5-string out of the standard BEADG tuning. That's because the songs were general pop, rock, or folk.

    I'm in a prog rock band now, though, and we have a song that's in drop-D, and I tune like you mention: BDADG, and I only use the low B-string for 1 or 2 notes in the whole song. I may as well be playing a 4-stringer. The reason for this is that the other artists played more chordal-based songs, but the prog rock song is very riff-oriented, and it's just not possible to translate some of the stuff that was written in drop-D tuning back into regular tuning.

    But there's nothing wrong with playing in that tuning, and while it might "stunt" your theoretical growth to be playing in a non-standard tuning, it seems that you're at an early enough point right now that you just need to log a lot of time with the intstrument in your hands, playing songs. So don't worry about it, and just go with the flow.
  10. Hehe my 5:th string is always tuned to A. I tune my entire bass down one step and I use an other bass when we are playing in drop-C.

    Anyways, you dont hace to tune down when using a 5 string, I even can go as far to say it enables you to play in standard tuning when your guitarist is playing dropped simply by going to the 3:rd fret on the B-string. However if the riff has a lot of string skipping it will be a problem playing in standard.

    If this is is the case I would recomend playing in BDADG( unless you have 2 basses and dont wanna tune from E to D on stage).
  11. Damn strait. Dropp-D gets a bad rep because of a the nu-metal bands using it in such a ****ty way. My band uses the tuning in a way that actualy makes it possible to play in chordformations that you cant or are very complicated to play accurate in standard.

    For example these chord formations.


    And in standart that would be.


    And how easy or comfortable is that to play.
  12. CrawlingEye

    CrawlingEye Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Easton, Pennsylvania
    I stay in my standard tuning when my guitarist goes to D. It's not really neccessary to go into Drop D unless you want the heavy 'thud' sound.

    Me, not being in a metal band, it really offers me less available options, instead of more.
  13. My band plays all in drop C... and i'm not worried about it. Of course i only play 4 string but i often use the first three strings anyway because my guitarist and i write a lot of harmony parts. if I was in your situation, i would drop the B to A and the E to D just for ease of scale usage. But then again i think wierd.
  14. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    The band I just joined definetly warrants more usage of drop D tunning than what Im used to but I havent decided what I want to do.

    I might just get heavier strings and tune my 4 to DGCA or I might drop D for some songs and standard tune for others.

  15. I have a four string that I tune DGCF for playing with dropped D guitarists. I have my five string tuned BEADG for everything else. I like having all my intervals the same, no matter what tuning.

    fivesevenoh, if you got a heavy gauge set of strings, your 5 string should have no problem handling ADGCF. If you are looking at your guitar player to know what you should play, it will be a little confusing at first. but, like Wulf said, soon you'll be able to hear the intervals, and having standard tuning (or all dropped instead of just one string) will help. Soon you wont have to watch your guitarist, and your ear will get better.

    Tape some of your guitar players riffs, then go home and practice to the tape with your bass tuned ADGCF. That way you can find the technique that works best for YOU.
  16. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    I hate chainging my tuning - for some reason I just really gets my goat.

    Guitarists in my rock band do it for almost every song, the low E goes down as far as a low A in some numbers (tw~ts!)
    In one song I have to drop the E to D purely because the line just sounds better pedalling off the open string rather than the fretted note on the B.
  17. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK

    Probably best to leave your goat at home, mate :D

    At present, I'm not really playing anything with altered tuning. I think the last time I did it was when I provided some music for a group at my church on solo acoustic bass guitar and that was straight forward (pretty much all played on the D and G strings, so I dropped the A string down to G for use as a low drone).

    What do you find awkward about retuning, Howard - is it the time spent adjusting tuning between songs or do you experience problems with the string holding its pitch?

  18. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Nope, neither. Nothing awkward about it, I just cant be bothered I guess?

    I mean I bought a 5 string so I wouldnt have to drop D when those bleedin guitars invaded my frequency and now I begruge having to retune!

    I just dont want to do it. I mean, I'd rather write a part that doesnt require retuning.

    Sure it could be a creative boost or whatever, but Michael Manring I certainly aint.. I'd rather not bother.

    Maybe it's an irrational loathing brought on by the fact that guitarists do it all the time?!
  19. beermonkey


    Sep 26, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Learn the fretboard. It's not that difficult and the returns on the time invested to do so are enormous. Trust me.
  20. ericplays

    ericplays Supporting Member

    May 16, 2002
    It really depends on how riff based the band is. I know that if you play heavier music that requires more opens or songs based around that "D" sound, its better (or maybe just easier) to drop tune to D. I kept my 5-string B D A D G. I would use the B string for octives of A string parts when I worked into the upper register.
    Now I play in C#, and I use a 4-string =/ . It all comes down to what you are comfortable playing
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