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Help with getting into drop tunings

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by BassPlayer95, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. BassPlayer95


    Oct 1, 2011
    Hey all! So, I've always played all my metal songs in standard tunings because I've never understood how to tune down and now as I become more aware of tone and stuff, it's becoming...not okay, I guess. Problem is, I can't figure out how to drop tune...I'm currently looking at drop c. The 2nd problem is is that my tuner doesn't have a c note on it. Am I missing something here? Idk...:help:
  2. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    Get a chromatic tuner.
  3. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    it's easy & fun!
  4. BassPlayer95


    Oct 1, 2011
    I have one. I just don't think I know how to use it.
  5. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Standard tuning would be:
    Drop D would be:
    D standard would be:
    Drop C would be:

    Drop tunings basically drop the lowest string down a full step. So if you look at my "standard tuning" and "drop d" examples, you'll notice the only difference is with the low E string. You're "dropping" the low E down to D.

    D standard tuning is tuning all 4 strings down a whole step. Drop C would be dropping that low D down a whole step to C.

    A chromatic tuner (set in chromatic mode) should automatically recognize the note you are playing, so if you know the note you want to tune to...just tune to that note. Not all tuners are created equal though, and may not recognize low notes, especially down tuned notes. If yours doesn't, there are creative ways to down tune using your ear and other notes on the bass.

    Do you know how to tune using the 5th fret? It's a quick and easy way to get the bass in tune with itself.
  6. dalahorse


    Apr 14, 2010
    I can't wrap my head around drop tunings. That box pattern gets all messed up! But I do keep one of my two basses tuned to D standard (DGCF). That works really well for me!

    A chromatic tuner should do the trick. Just pluck a string and it should have some representation of the note (E, for instance) and how far sharp or flat it is. For drop D, just down tune that string just below D, then bring the tension back up to make D in tune. Note that your other strings will likely go slightly out of tune when doing this. So definitely check all of them. If your tuner has a hard time registering a note as low as C, try tuning off the octave harmonic.

    For drop C, your E string might get too lose to be playable. You might want to look into a thicker string and/or raised action. Personally, I really like the lower tension. My D standard tuned bass is strung with TI Jazz flats! :eek:
  7. If you have a Korg tuner, it has a little flat symbol on it. Hitting that will drop the target note down a half step. use it once to tune your E to Eb, twice to D, four times to C, etc.

    Otherwise, you could tune up to E standard and then tune to your other frets.

    When tuned to E standard, put your finger on the 3rd fret of the A string. This will be a C an octave higher than your target. Tune your lower string to an octave of that C (you should know when you hear it). Then you want to put your finger on the 5th fret of the D string. This will be a G. Tune your A string to an octave below this G. Move up to the 5th fret of the G string. This is C. Tune your D string down to this C.
    Then, finally, hit the 5th fret harmonic of your new C string and the 7th fret harmonic of your G string. Let them both ring out. Tune your G string down until they're at the same pitch. Your new string will be tuned to F.

    That's the hard way of doing things, but it works.

    Or, if you have an Android phone, you can use the mobile app "G Strings lite". Or maybe Free instead of Lite. Just hit the "tune auto" button and it will act as a chromatic tuner using your phone's microphone.
  8. xander8280


    Dec 29, 2011
    Tune your second fret to D. Your open will be C. A chromatic tuner would be best though.
  9. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    If your tuner won't go that low, tune using 12th fret harmonics. Bass better be properly intonated though.
  10. Harmonics will always be in tune, hence why you check your intonation against them

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