Gibson Bass setup for Drop G# (like Staind, Love and Death)

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Nico_RD, Apr 9, 2021.


  1. Nico_RD

    Nico_RD

    Apr 9, 2021
    Germany
    Hey folks!

    I have been lurking a lot on TalkBass, but not it's time to really join the community. With my band, I really want to tune down a lot to Drop G# like Love and Death. Jasen Rauch uses a Musicman Stingray with a 34" scale length, but unfortunately there is no information on what bass equipment he uses. I did analyse some videos and I think he is also playing in Drop G# like the guitars but an octave down. I really like the fact that this tuning can be coupled with a eb tuned guitar similiar to Staind.

    I got a Gibson RD Artist four string bass with a 34 1/2" scale. I have searched for days now and calculated a lot, but I do not find the right balanced solution. Can you guys help me how to get this beauty to the desired tuning? My tech prepared my Gibson LPB for Drop G# with a max. 0.140 string but it does not work. It's way too floppy and the Schaller bridge does not support any thicker strings.

    I think this is the suitable string gauge, would you agree? Would you get nickel plated or even stainless steel strings?
    C# - 65
    G# - 85
    D# - 110
    G# - 145 to 150

    So, since I do not want to ruin this vintage instrument, I will get a new nut and at least a replacement bridge. What would you guys do considering getting the right bridge? I've read the best comments about the Supertone or FullContact bridge, but I according to my information from the internet they all have to be modified above 0.135 strings. Or shall I get a three point aftermarket bridge and simply file it down till everything works? The other bridges do have a lot of more options concerning the setup but I think it is way easier to prepare the bridge saddles on an original style 3 point bridge. What do you think?

    At last, the LPB bartolini pickups really work with everything, they are so powerful. The RD Artist has weaker pickups with a 6 kOhms resistance, but the active circuit. Do you think this will be a problem? I only tried them until Drop B, it was fine.

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Best regards,
    Nico
     
  2. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Not sure you could find a speaker cabinet to work with that...
     
  3. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    Add a high pass filter and let psychoacoustics do the rest. Or go direct to a PA with dedicated subs. The fundamental is rarely the point when tuning this low, anyway.
     
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  4. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    Maintaining EADG tension at AbEbAbDb on a vintage 34” instrument without major modifications sounds almost impossible. While you likely will notice a difference going from .140 to .145, I would suggest either getting used to lower tension or seeking out an instrument built to maintain “standard” tension at lower tunings. I tune GCGCF and string .135/.110/.085/.065/.050 (or even lighter) on 34” scale instruments and make it work, FWIW; string tension is almost identical to Funkmasters in EADG :laugh:
     
  5. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    Geezer Butler has some fun quote about necks turning into bananas when he went down to DbGbBE in the 1970s, which tells you something about detuning vintage instruments.
     
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  6. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    Johnny April used to post here. Let's see if he answers the tag

    @staindbass

    ETA that he hasn't posted since 2014:facepalm:
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
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  7. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
  8. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    B1E95F61-AEE9-4834-834A-B954BA44A143.png
    FB921CCF-4AFD-47C8-90B7-339531D4EBCF.png
    Bring that G# up to A# (standard intervals between string pitches) and you’re basically playing Funkmasters.
     
  9. Nico_RD

    Nico_RD

    Apr 9, 2021
    Germany
    Hey guys! Thank yor for your advice! Man, that would be great if Johnny April somehow found the way back to TalkBass. The Kalium string tension calculator is great, my suggestion would be ok, I guess. Any comments on the stainless steel idea? I used to play a 34" bass in Drop B with a 0.125 string and the tension (approx. 32 lbs) was really good for the low string. The Stringjoy calculator is also nice, but it ends with 0.135 strings...:)

    So, a 0.150 for the low G# can work. I got some more information on the SuperTone bridge. It does work with such strings, but I need tempered ends.

    I try to do some research if Kalium makes such strings and I think I will settle on the Hipshot bridge. Yeah, hopefully I don't mess up the neck. Any information why this might happen? The neck will be adjusted and the tension will be similar to regular tension.
     
  10. Riff Ranger

    Riff Ranger Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2018
    Bigfoot Country
    I have DR DDTs (.115/.095/.075/.055, steel) on a vintage 34” scale instrument in BEAD, and while I don’t know if they will get you quite the tension you want, they don’t seem floppy to me.
     
  11. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    USA
    You can get away w some smaller strings man. Ive been tuning this way for years. Just make sure all your strings are a gauge bigger than you like for standard tuning and get a .142- .150 string for the low G# depending how stiff you like it. :thumbsup:
    stringtensioncalculator.com
    That site works great for me.

    I wouldn't worry too much about tension on the bass hardware and bass itself, bigger strings at relative pitch are more tension, but as you tune lower you release tension, meaning that tuning a .135 to E will be much higher tension than tuning a .100 to E, whereas a .135 tuned to B has a great tension and a .100 tuned down to B will be floppy as heck and provide barely any tension.

    There's always the guy who doesn't understand how sound works.
    Just because you pluck an E2 doesn't mean you ONLY hear the fundamental.

    When using lower tunings on bigger strings, it's a natudal lo-pass filter and less high frequencies are made meaning that 70% of the frequencies are exactly the same w the addition of some lows, and subtraction of some highs, meaning every single person's ear WILL perceive it as a lower pitch.
    This is obvious when you look at the contrary: With higher tunings on smaller strings, it's a natural hi-pass and low frequencies are rolled off.

    Just because your amp/cab doesn't reproduce 22hz doesn't mean that when you tune to E0 it doesn't sound an octave lower than E1 through that amp/cab.

    Been tuning G#0 a long time and am now going to E0.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
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  12. knumbskull

    knumbskull

    Jul 28, 2007
    UK
    .150 would be a good place to start.

    nut - yes, replace or cut bigger slots.

    bridge - top loaders are good for bigger strings.

    Ignore anyone who says you can’t do it for whatever reason!

    EDIT Ron from Bongripper used to play an RD tuned to low F so it’s certainly doable (he was using an EGC when i saw them). I think he used to post here a few years ago.
     
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  13. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    I believe I do understand "how sound works." Regardless of what we hear, the driver in a speaker cabinet is going to try to reproduce whatever fundamental it's receiving from the amp. My comment was questioning how many speakers can succeed at doing that, sounding good at high volume and not incurring damage. A separate question is: How much power is consumed amplifying those low frequencies in vain?

    Yes, I'm a bit of Luddite when it comes to the whole detuning issue. I admit it. Maybe it's my age, or the fact that I'm really double-bass player. I don't understand why some insist on having the lowest of root notes. Personally, I would advise the OP to go with a 5-string...
     
  14. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    USA
    Maybe he doesn't want or need 5 strings. The gauges are gonna be the same anyway. So are the notes.

    Weird, didn't see any questions on your part. Depends how low of frequencies your amp can push, and if your cabs can handle it. Most amps don't push lower than 30hz anyway, and amps are labeled in a way that you can pair them w/ cabs via power and impedance. I'm sure you can get all the answers and info on that in another thread thats made for that topic.

    It doesn't matter if you understand why we tune low, we think it sounds good. And other reasons. Even if some guy on talkbass says he doesn't get it and responds with 0 information and only criticism on a post asking for advice. It's not your age, or that you play double, it's that you like what you like and don't want others to do stuff you don't understand. That's okay, but it's better to not impose it on people imo. Hope you stick around and learn some things so you can better understand and can reply something really useful in the future! Good luck and have a good day.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
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  15. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    USA
    Btw my favorite set for drop G# is ken smith metal masters 5 string set and I don't have to wait a long time for custom and they beat any other non-custom .145s I've used by a mile.
    Now I'm going up to .176 so I got some Newtone strings otw as they have full customization, tapered, material, everything.
    Kaliums service just isn't worth it to me personally even though they make some of the best strings I've ever used comparable to Ken smith or better. Wait time and service is just blegh.
    Never tried octave4plus but plan to for flats.
     
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  16. Nico_RD

    Nico_RD

    Apr 9, 2021
    Germany
    Thank you guys very much. I'll definitely keep the Ken Smith Metal masters set in mind.

    I ordered the following parts and strings now:
    1x Hipshot Supertone black bridge
    Newtone custom strings (.064, .086, .110, .150 and a .148 as a spare), stainless steel, hex core

    I will keep you updated. I can't wait to get into the Drop G# territory with the right weapon and I also can't wait to put my LPB back to Drop C/Drop B.
     
    Lenny JG likes this.
  17. Lizooki

    Lizooki

    Feb 24, 2008

    Beat me to it!
    OP might want to search for his posts ..... Johnny was very good at sharing info and advice.
     
  18. Nico_RD

    Nico_RD

    Apr 9, 2021
    Germany
    So guys, here it is!

    Dropbox - DSC_2982.JPG - Simplify your life

    Dropbox - DSC_2981-01.jpeg - Simplify your life

    After 3 months of collecting parts, I could hand the RD over to a local tech to get everything together. I think the RD looks cool and the strings seem to be of a very good quality. The bass sounds awesome as ever on three strings, but the low G# string causes some trouble.

    Dropbox - RD Bass Nico Drop G sharp.m4a - Simplify your life

    Please find above an unedited (except for hi pass, low pass filters) sound clip. What do you think? I think there is a huge difference between the G# and all the other strings concerning note definition and sustain. My tech said that the frets need to be replaced. I can see that they are really low and the low string does not bend between the frets, especially at the 12th to 15th fret. When I push it down with two fingers and force, it's slightly better.

    What do you think? I must admit that me and my tech don't have experience with a bass tuning below Drop B. But I need that in order to play some Staind or Love and Death and some original stuff. Thank you very much in advance!
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
  19. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    USA
    Have you tried adjusting the pickup? You cut the nut correct? You may also have a dead spot, the bigger the strings and flatter the neck, the more obvious it becomes ime. Ymmv.
     
  20. Nico_RD

    Nico_RD

    Apr 9, 2021
    Germany
    No, I could try that. Shall I increase the space to the string or lower it on the low G# side? The tech said my neck is a little bit twisted. Yeah, it sounds quite dead the higher I go. I am asking myself if the frets are really an issue or the string is just too thick so that it can't sound any better.
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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