drop D with Jazz bass

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by smellah, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. smellah


    Jul 19, 2013
    Hello everyone,

    I need any advise on an issue I'm facing.

    I've been playing the bass since 20 years in powerful rock bands with my American Fender Jazz Bass tuned in E.
    I play it with the pick, saturation and attack the strings hard.
    My strings are 105-85-70-50

    In a new band I'm in, I have drop the tuning to D. And here starts my problems. With the height of my stings I can't get the D string tuned all the way through the octaves. I have try to put a 110 string for the bass to hold better the tuning but it makes it worst at the octave.
    The advice I've been having so far: change to 5 strings bass,
    the jazz bass not being good at D tuning with hard playing.
    I don't like the idea since I've always played on four strings.

    Does anyone play in D tuning with a Jazz Bass ?

    What d would be your recommendations ?

    Thanks a lot for your input.

  2. manolo578


    Nov 21, 2011
    maybe adjust your action?
  3. J Posega

    J Posega Cat Dad and Dingwall Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sounds like you need a good setup of your bass. Seems like you need to lower your action and adjust your intonation.
  4. AngelCrusher


    Sep 12, 2004
    Mesa Boogie, Tech 21, Taylor
    Ive played Jazz basses tuned to C#. they handle low tuning well.

    Sounds like your action is too low. You basically have to choose between low action or attacking the strings hard. I choose the former every time.
  5. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    personally haven't had any problems, but i play hard finger style with medium low action
  6. Schmorgy


    Jul 2, 2012
    It really sounds like an intonation issue to me.
  7. tomnomnom91


    Dec 23, 2012
    A simple setup should do it. I'm always throwing my basses between standard and drop D, including a Jazz. Any bass set up properly can switch between E and D, it's not that big a change. Hope you get it sorted :)
  8. smellah


    Jul 19, 2013
    Thank you all for the comments. What do you mean by low action ? The height of the strings ?
    Does it worth it then to play on a 110 string when changing from E to D in between songs ? I use 110-85-70-50

    Thanks for the support.

  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I like 5, 8, 10, and 12 string basses
    I used to play with 3 basses ...

    A Rickenbacker 4001 tuned EADG
    A p-bass tuned EbAbDbGb
    and a Jazz bass tuned DGCF

    I set up each bass for the tuning. It all worked great.

    Then I got a 5 string bass and no more detuning needed.
  10. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    U gotta shorten the saddle where it is setup to a 105 string E hz....to where the low B and octave match up. Your low E is way down there on the 5th fret now....thats it.
  11. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Every note should have its own personalized length and thickness(like a piano) to operate OPTIMALY with the same force applied(plucking) with the same tension on the strings...dingwall operate on this premise with its fret layout being kind of like a double parabola....sorry I went and smoked some whooch motivated by some new poster yesterday and its making me stupid I believe...
  12. smellah


    Jul 19, 2013
    Do you mean that when seting up the saddle to make the strings tuned all the way to the octave I should not use the D ref when to adjust but the note B instead ?
  13. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    No...D is right. I was thinking BEAD. D is it dude..
  14. 39-Bassist


    Jul 7, 2010
    Endorsing Artist for: Duncan Pickups; Line6, Hipshot, GHS Strings, Somnium Guitars
    I use a Jazz bass with 45-105 boomers and a Drop D tuner.....I have no problems, maybe you should think of this option. You may just need to setup your string height a bit higher and then readjust intonation....I think that may help (as an idea) Good Luck
  15. smellah


    Jul 19, 2013
    Okay okay,

    I'll go adjust my setup again. But at this stage, the only thing I can do is to lower the action and get back to 105. Because the problem I'm having is that the saddle can't get further back and the D is still to high at the octave.

    I'll report. Thanks
  16. Shardik


    May 24, 2011
    Halden, Norway
    I play 3 basses, all with a DGCF tuning. One is a Peavey BXP Millennium, which follow J bass standards pretty closely.

    I use string sets with balanced or progressive string tension on all the basses. They all work great for EADG, DADG and DGCF tunings. I started out on EADG, then tried drop D, but finally tried DGCF and made that my personal standard. To me it doesn't seem like I need to change intonation between tunings as long as I keep to the same strings.

    On balanced / progressive tension sets, it seems that the thickest string are a bit heavier than on "standard" sets. I think you should try a heavier string or a complete balanced tension set.

    You'll have to adjust intonation when changing strings, of course.
  17. hover


    Oct 4, 2008
    This is only tuned one whole step. Pretty benign stuff.

    Re-setup your bass to play well in this tuning. Or, sounds like...pay someone else to do it.

  18. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    Take the spring out of it....There 7u be
  19. jamminology101


    Aug 22, 2012
    Indianapolis In
    Endorsing Artist: Glockenklang
    The d tuner works well...the only thing I would nitpik at would b some time it takes the fundamental a tad sharp after u release the lever...petty I kno
  20. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member

    Aug 18, 2002
    Central Ohio
    To the OP:

    I'm assuming you are talking about detuning your E string only down to D (a whole step); and not detuning the other strings. But, I can't really tell from your OP.

    IME, detuning the E does not have a significant effect on bridge determined intonation; and detuning works quite well IF the bass is properly intonated to begin with.

    I do this on several J basses with few issues, aside from the very slight irreproducibility of the Hipshot previously mentioned. There is otherwise no general issue with drop tuning a J Bass E string. Many do it successfully on a regular basis.

    Can't tell if that addresses your question or not.