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ERB, to detune or not?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by dBChad, Nov 10, 2018.


  1. dBChad

    dBChad

    Aug 17, 2018
    Daytona Beach, FL
    One of my favorite things about playing 5 and 6 string basses is that I can jump in with pretty much anyone regardless of what tuning their in. I currently play with a college club that is working on putting together a show that will be rotating musicians in and out for different songs. There are many guitarist, several drummers, horns, keys, and violin players that all contribute to this project. I can jump into a song in standard tuning, 1/2 down, whole step down, drop D, or 7 string without having to re-tune.

    One of the guitarists has similar musical taste as I do and we're considering a side project focused on gigging in the area. He usually plays 1/2 step down. I'm wondering if I should tune to match or transpose. The benefit of transposing are not having to re-tune between projects. The benefit of tuning to match is that with his love of the key of E flat minor, I could go up or down for 5ths (I like having both, as they build and resolve differently and can change the feel of a progression).

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. ba55i5t

    ba55i5t

    May 24, 2006
    I say transpose.

    Here's an idea for you if you don't need any notes lower than Eb and don't want to think. Put a capo on the 4th fret and now your tuning becomes Eb Ab Db and so on.
     
    gebass6 likes this.
  3. dBChad

    dBChad

    Aug 17, 2018
    Daytona Beach, FL
    I often play lower than E flat even when all the guitars are in standard tuning.
     
  4. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music.

    May 3, 2009
    N.E Illinois
    With a sixer you can play anything down to B without detuning.
     
  5. dBChad

    dBChad

    Aug 17, 2018
    Daytona Beach, FL
    We did a practice session today. I just transposed. It took a little getting used to at first, but it ended up working out pretty good.
     
    gebass6 likes this.
  6. Les Fret

    Les Fret

    Sep 9, 2009
    Depends on what you play. If you play rock and do a lot unison riffs where the guitar plays a lot of open strings I would suggest tuning down a half step. Your guitar player probably thinks in E.
     
    Jason Hollar and dBChad like this.
  7. dBChad

    dBChad

    Aug 17, 2018
    Daytona Beach, FL
    Actually both of us think in E, but I'm willing to step out of my comfort zone a little faster. We ran through a list of songs once down 1/2 step, took a break, then ran through again in standard tuning (he grabbed a different guitar). It worked both times, so we'll probably go with what matches our vocal ranges better.
     
    Jason Hollar likes this.

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