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Let's talk CGDA.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Benjamin Strange, Jun 7, 2004.


  1. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Forgive me, for I am a toy bass player treading on hallowed ground.

    I tune my toy bass in fifths - CGDA. I don't know of any other toys bassist out there who use this tuning, but I've heard some rumblings of real bassist who do. I remember reading about George Mraz tuning this way - is this true or just my imagination? Are there any other DBists out there that you know of that you could recommend, along with some recordings of their work?

    *backs away respectfully, with eyes on the ground and bowing incessantly. Picks up sandals. Walks back to the BG community with face aglow in holy light. "Hear me, all ye people!..."*
     
  2. So, check out a guy named Joel Quarrington, principal bass of Toronto. He seems to be the foremost double basser that committs to the fifths tuning. As far a resonating the instrument, this tuning lends itself to a wider range of overtones, and much more beautiful, full sound, at least to my ears. However, fingering issues become extreme and nearly ridiculous at times! This guy is a classical player, and I would recommend some of his records (he has a couple), and hear what he's made of.
     
  3. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    The great Buster Williams tunes CDGA with a high C.
    I don't know Buster's discography well. I'd like to know recommendations myself. You can look on his site for his info: www.busterwilliams.com.
     
  4. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    There's a thread in the bassists section about Red Mitchell who switched to fifth tuning at some point in his career.

    Also check the last two issue of the Double Bassisy magazine on the viennese tuning.

    Please, before you go back to the other side, would you care to elaborate a bit on what you dig about your scordatura ?
     
  5. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    I thought viennese tuning had something to do with tuning in 3rds, or alternating them between 3rds and 4ths. Have I misunderstood something?

    Also, for the Buster Williams' high C string, the bass is still tuned in 4ths with a low A as I understand the writeup.
     
  6. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    Could be me, I'll check.
     
  7. Johnny L

    Johnny L

    Feb 14, 2002
    Victoria, TX
    You know, Olivier, I did read something, maybe from Quarrington's website when it was still available, that 5ths tuning was used by French bassists in the 19th century and taught in the conservatories...but the Germans ended up convincing them to take it a little easier on themselves and tune in 4ths instead. Maybe I'm not recalling the article correctly, but it was an interesting read.
     
  8. Benjamin Strange

    Benjamin Strange Commercial User

    Dec 25, 2002
    New Orleans, LA
    Owner / Tech: Strange Guitarworks
    Well, what I like about it is that it's different than the guitar player! :D Playing in a different tuning from them sometimes forces you to play something different and more creative rather than just following them, and sometimes it forces them to be more creative around your parts. I also find it much easier to play chords, as the 3rds become 11ths instead - having them an octave away from the root makes the chords clearer when playing on a low instrument such as bass. True, sometimes shifting can be an issue, but that just depends on what you are playing. Sometimes it feels like notes that were closer together are now further apart, and visa versa. It also allows for a greater range - I have more range than a 5 string bass tuned in 4ths. If I added a high E string, I would have almost the entire range of a 5 string bass (only missing the low B) and guitar (only missing the last few notes about the 12th fret on their E string)!

    And for the record, I had to look up scordatura. :bawl:
     
  9. I like the chords in a fifths tuning. I've done it on my slab quite a few times (I, like you, Ben, am just a lowly BG player in a DB world), but usually B through G#.
     
  10. olivier

    olivier

    Dec 17, 1999
    Paris, France
    It's very possible, although it is said that it was gamba maître Marin Marais, a 4th type of tuning guy, who first introduced DB to the Royal Opera in the 18th. I think the guy that straitened up and standardized things much later in Paris was Edouard Nany, bringing bass playing and teaching to a higher level at the time, but I think Bottessini and Simandl already had made their point by then. (Oh I have to get Paul Brun's book on DB history). The 19th was really the time re manufacturing and standards, and the evolution of music instruments during that time is fascinating. You've seen DonZiovanni's avatar ? Great early picture of Maestro Dragonetti playing with a bow nobody would dare selling on ebay, on a 3 string bass, check it out before it's gone!!!
     
  11. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I'm embarrassed to say that I have never heard Oscar Pettiford's cello playing until just the other night when I checked out some of those mid-40's sessions he made with Duke and Billy Strayhorn. Their Perdido is really something, man.

    Did Oscar move back and forth between tuned-in-fourths on the bass and tuned-in-fifths on the cello? I'm guessing yes, butcha never know...
     
  12. Fred W

    Fred W

    Feb 21, 2002
    Bronx, NY
    He tuned like a bass up an octave
     
  13. matt macgown

    matt macgown Guest

    Dec 1, 2003
    Chattanooga, TN
    Did Oscar P. use a true cello, or was it a piccolo bass? I heard a lot of Oscar when I was young.
    Matt M