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How does altered tuning affect Neck wood?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Ezmar, Mar 7, 2013.

  1. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    I'm sort of experimenting with altered tuning, and one I'm using right now is G A D G. Basically, what I'm doing is just using my normal strings and changing the tuning, which seems to work pretty well, since I use light gauge 40 60 75 95 strings. I feel like tuning the E up to the G is safe enough, but what kind of effect does that have on the wooden neck of a bass? I know that the Michael Manring Hyperbass idea wouldn't work without the graphite neck, since a wooden neck wouldn't be able to handle all the shifting tension as well. My question is basically this: How much can I experiment with altered tuning without screwing up the neck of my instrument?
  2. You'll have to have the bass set up for this tuneing because th tension is different but it doesn't directly effect the neck WOOD.
  3. The seond part of the question. YOu can't go to far down with out uping the guage of the strings. If you don't the strings will get floppy and you'll lose fundamental du to lack of tension.

    YOu don't have to have a graphite neck to do the manring thing. A wood neck can take it. Graphite is more stable and less prone to shifting due to changes in tension. Intonation on a wood neck you be a nightmare.
  4. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    I don't plan on going too far down, mostly up, and I don't really "Plan" anything in the first place.

    Not necessarily, but I wouldn't try having a hyperbass made with a wood neck. Certainly there's a lot I can do with a regular wood neck, but I feel like I'd do damage to the neck before I'd reach the breaking point of the strings. I don't plan on having the bass set up with truss rod adjustments for every altered tuning I may use, although if I did have one that was significantly different, I may do that. How far would I be able to go without adjusting the setup, action problems notwithstanding? I'm still planning to play mostly in standard, so are there any problems with continually changing the tension of the strings back and forth? I can't imagine there are no problems.
  5. KodyAudette


    Apr 30, 2012
    I wouldn't think that it would be a huge issue to change your tuning reasonably often, however when you need to change the setup is going to be a personal preference. Personally, I do a full setup on my basses anytime I change their tuning. I use different string gauges and set the intonation and action everytime I switch the tuning since it really bothers me if one or all of my strings are at an unnatural tension. That being said, if you're just tuning it up for the afternoon to mess around with the tuning, it's probably not worth spending an hour setting it up. I used a tuning for a while where I tuned 4 strings up 3 semitones and one string up a semitone with a standard 5 string set and all that extra tension really made me nervous, but the neck never snapped or anything, it was just really tiring to play such taut strings. I've since gotten custom gauge strings and it's great. The neck hasn't seen any ill effects and still sits right where I like it (and it's a super thin Soundgear Neck).

    So long story short, your neck is pretty resilient, just don't abuse it. As far as when you need to change your setup: that depends on when the string tension/intonation/action feels unplayable and whether that extra work is worth it for a tuning you're just exploring for a little while.
  6. Slowgypsy

    Slowgypsy 4 Fretless Strings Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    NY & MA
    Just do it... the neck will not suffer because of your altered tunings. The idea behind the Zon Hyperbass is that the graphite neck is extremely stable and able to handle large differences in tension without neck relief adjustments. The wooden neck on your instrument will likely have a point where the action is suffering and needs a neck relief adjustment... but you should feel/hear that.
  7. 202dy

    202dy Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    As much as you want. The fact that the average maple neck is bends easier than a graphite neck does speaks only to stiffness. It is not a comparison of strength. A maple neck is a very strong piece of wood. Adjusting the truss rod will take care of any problems with tension.

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