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I need help with drop tuning strings!

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by bswen7, Jan 16, 2012.

  1. bswen7


    Oct 11, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    Greetings bass fanatics, I have a dilemma and need some guidance. My band is writing songs from the tunings of: D#G#,C#F# (half step down) all the way down to C#,F#,B,E (one and a half steps down). I currently use a 5-string and am tuning up and down as needed between songs. the problem is the strings get too loose the lower i tune and im guessing its not so great for the intonation and the neck. My question is, what strings would work the best when tuning between those listed above without causing problems?

    btw.. im not worried about going up to standard as we never go there and i have a second bass that i play in standard.
  2. BogeyBass


    Sep 14, 2010
    if I detune, I like to have a bass just for it.

    Use heavier strings and set the neck and bridge for them.
  3. RBX4


    Dec 21, 2010
    Miami, Florida
  4. bswen7


    Oct 11, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    I figured I'd need heavier strings but i dont know which ones to get. Also, i don't know how to set the bridge and neck correct. Any tips?
  5. mmbongo

    mmbongo Dilly Dilly! Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
  6. taygunov

    taygunov Guest

    May 8, 2008
    I've heard great things (from downtuners) about DR DDT strings
  7. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    What are your favourite gauges for standard EADG?
    The method is to choose gauges for a comfortable tension in the average tuning of DGCF. Then in either of your tunings the tension will be slightly higher of slightly lower, minimising any extremes of tension. Very roughly choose a set that adds .010 to the gauge of your favourite standard E string for a similar tension at D.
  8. Wow, I'm lost with your original premise....one of the reasons to use a 5 string is so that you never have to drop tune again.

    Why wouldn't you just lower your hand position into the suitable lower key on the BEADG-tuned 5 string?:confused:

    Let the gui****s get all confused and frustrated....you just need to decide what key you're playing it in. If they are drop-tuning down a half step and the song before the drop was in G, you just need to play it in F# without tuning down.
  9. jabsys


    Mar 30, 2011
    5 string doesn't mean you never need to drop tune, BEADG doesn't work very well when you're playing riffs written in drop C. that pedal off the open C.
  10. bswen7


    Oct 11, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
    Thanks for the replies. I am toying with the idea of just playing in standard, I've already transposed my bass lines and am practicing them. Its not as difficult as I thought it might be, just got to get used to playing in different off keys that I'm not used to and to fret the low notes on my b string such as d# and c# instead of open notes.

    The real problem lies if while playing live the guitarist breaks his banjo and has to use a different guitar not setup and tuned right for the song. It's all fine and dandy for him but I would have to play the song in a different key, transpose it in my head and play without making mistakes in real time. I don't know if I could pull it off... Which is why I'm in this tuning dilemma. Any suggestions?
  11. bswen7


    Oct 11, 2011
    Sacramento, CA
  12. Is there any reason you're using two different tunings that have the same intervals?
    Why not just stick with with either C# or D#.

    I was going to suggest a balanced tension set of Circle K strings because they're easily the best strings I've ever played on when it comes to dropped tunings. But seeing as you seem to just be tuning the strings on the same bass all over the place, one set of strings won't really work.
  13. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    Your best bet is to get a set that is at optimal tension for ADGCF, that way either tuning (being only a half step in either direction) wont vary more than about 5 lbs from ADGCF.

    I'd recommend the Circle K balanced .158 set. Your strings will sit just below 50 lbs each at A#D#G#C#F# and right around 40 lbs each at G#C#F#BE.
  14. Sixpack324


    Jan 10, 2012
    New Jersey
    My thoughts exactly!!

    Why not?? I've played plenty of songs that "pedal" off the low C with no problem while in standard tuning on a 5 string.
  15. FunkMetalBass


    Aug 5, 2005
    Phoenix, Arizona 85029
    Endorsing Artist: J.C. Basses
    IMO, it all comes down to ergonomics and the complexity of the basslines I need to play. Making things overly-complicated to play simply out of stubbornness to turning a tuner for 3 seconds seems a little outrageous. Firstly, when on stage and moving around a lot (and singing, as I tend to do), the less I have to focus on my playing, the better. Secondly, tons of unnecessary stretching and awkward hand placement is just begging for early joint problems.
  16. Sell your 5 string and buy two Squier P basses. One set up for each tuning. Does your guitar player use the same guitar for each tuning?
  17. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    Do any of you guys who use multiple tunings such as the OP is suggesting ever consider using a capo rather than retuning the bass for each song? For example, in the OP's situation, he could keep his five-string bass in standard BEADG tuning, use a capo on the second fret for the C# tuning and on the fourth fret for the the D# tuning.

    This approach would offer several advantages compared to retuning. Using a capo is faster than retuning. String tension would be consistent. There would be less wear on the strings. You wouldn't need to have two basses.

    Just a thought.
  18. DirtyDeRock


    Nov 9, 2011
    2 basses. Solves every problem. The less you have you focus on your playing? Are you Kip Winger? Just an entertainer holding a bass? All joking aside, 2 basses if you insist on using both tunings.
  19. cableguy

    cableguy Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    +1 on Circle K's. You can get what ever gauge you want. Or if you have the funds look at one of Skip's (Circle K's Owner) Quake basses. They go to an octave below the standard "E" I believe. That should be low enough for you.:D
  20. DirtyDeRock


    Nov 9, 2011
    The general consensus, IME, is capo on bass is effin' stupid. I think it could solve some problems but I hate capos. Last band, the singer used a capo on 10 of the 12 songs we were regularly doing. I had no problem playing, but when your singer has a capo on the 7th fret? ***.

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