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How Can I keep tension when I down tune?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by MrJBass, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. MrJBass


    Apr 3, 2000
    HELP! I play in a metal band, and we play down tuned pretty far (Ab, B,Gb,B,E) and my strings are pretty loose, which makes snese because we are so low, but is there any way to increase the tension but still stay down tuned?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    The only way is by using thicker strings.
  3. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Might not be right in a metal setting, but flatwound strings have higher tension. However, I find thick flatwounds extremely thumpy with no sustain. So you might be better off with heavy guage roundwounds.
  4. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
    I think you can also move the bridges back on the strings. I believe you will find intonation to go out with the detuning. Worth a shot any way moving the bridge adjustment back and then check the intonation.


  5. I tune CGCF in my band and my intonation is dead on in standard and CGCF.
  6. Sorry, when humble opinions cross into ludicrous advice, I gotta step in here.

    Don't move your saddles! Tiki here is trying to "extend" the scale of the instrument to gain a tighter feeling E string. It's bad advice because you will ONLY gain intonation problems. Now, if you like to be out of tune with the band, that's your call but if you are a professional, you'll be looking at string selections as the area to gain the most ground.
  7. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
    Guess popular opinion is don't make the string longer. Make it heavier.

    I stand corrected if in fact I was wrong.

  8. You weren't entirely wrong, you will gain a marginal increase in tension, because you are lengthening the speaking length of the string by however much you move the saddle back by.

    Problem is, as Hambone pointed out, you completely through out your intonation, meaning the only note you can really play in tune is the open string and harmonics. I dunno about you but its a bit limiting.

    I'll give another vote towards string selection, by the looks of it you could get a 5 string set, use the bottom 4 strings for your top strings and get something extra thick for your Ab, I'm thinking if you use whatever string people are using for their low F#'s. Even then you'll be pulling weird tensions across the board...

    How does your amp respond to your Ab? Thats a really low note, be close to 25hz, most people only just hear that low.

    Josh D
  9. dTune


    Feb 28, 2004
    I have the same problem, and the solutions i came up with:

    Keep your fingering/picking hand closer to the saddle (i'm a genius, ain't i :D ), takes some time getting used to but works well, also the sound will change depending on how much you shift your hand.

    Buy a bit thicker strings.

    Oh yeah, the most important, our guitarrists play at C (two steps down), i play only one step down from the normal tuning. After the low A the bass gets so low you don't need to tune it at all, most people won't notice anything if you're a step or two out of tune.. :) This also takes some time, basically you have to learn the songs all over again, but its worth the trouble.

    And if you're loaded, buy a longer scale bass. With that tuning you should consider seriously..

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