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Muddy tuned to D#

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by awakefie, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. I have a Fender MIM P with Duncan Quarter Pounders. My band tunes down 1/2 step to accommodate the singer.

    I play DR Black Widows.

    My tone has been really muddy.

    Here's my question:

    Can it be the tune down causing the issue? I know Ps are not at sharp and growly as a Jazz, but I would think I could still get a bright tone even tuned down a half step.

    Should I change strings? Should I change gauges? Should I just sell it and get a Jazz?

    Opinions please.
  2. dtripoli


    Aug 15, 2010
    Half a step down would be Eb
    That's not a whole lot of string tension loss.
    Try brighter strings and up your mids
  3. Any particular strings you like that may be brighter?
  4. dtripoli


    Aug 15, 2010
    No, I used flat wounds and like the thumpy, muffled sound for the R&B bands I play in. Bright is not in bass vocabulary
  5. I appreciate your reply. Thanks.
  6. Ale the Snail

    Ale the Snail Supporting Member

    Give some stainless steel strings a try.
    Rotosound, Pro Steel or something among those lines,
  7. Thanks Al.

    I am thinking about Regular Slinkys (50-105).

    I'll let everyone know how it goes at practice Thursday night.

    The one telling song will be Hot Legs by Rod Stewart. Slapping and popping with the DRs sound like a long mud-fart on a hot day. If switching takes care of this, I will be a happy guy.
  8. recreate.me


    Apr 2, 2010
    I play a lot of songs with my RW P tuned to D, and found that i had to lower the bass end of my pickup just a tad.
  9. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    Might want to check your intonation, to make sure the muddiness you hear isn't simply a bit of off-tune-ness on your fretted notes. Might also be time to change your strings; I like well-worn strings myself, but they still bottom out at some point (unless you're going for a very dead-string, upright bass tone). The detuning could emphasize that issue.

    Otherwise I regularly use standard gauge strings to tune a step or more down from standard (DGCF, CGCF, etc.) without any undue muddiness.
  10. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    What is a DR "Black Widow"? I don't see that on their web site but I do see DDT strings which have a spider, perhaps a black widow, on the package. If that is what you have then they are already stainless according to DR. If your "Black Widow" strings are really called that on the package then perhaps you have old strings and any new strings would clear out the mud! :D

    I don't know if it helps but here is a long thread about the DDT strings.

    If new strings don't fix it perhaps playing with the EQ settings on your amp will? Or is your church like mine and all that is done by the tech people in a booth at the back of the auditorium? In that case you will have to have a conversation with them. I don't drop tune but I do tune in fifths, CGDA, on a Jazz bass and a P/J Jazz bass. The P/J does not sound muddy with the P pickup soloed so I don't think it is the drop tuning or the fact that you use a P Bass. Of course I use flats so perhaps what you call muddy I call a nice fat tone!!

    Does your tone clean up if you tune up to an E? If not it is not the drop tuning. If neither that nor new strings gets you the tone you want then perhaps you are a J/J or P/J guy after all.

  11. Correction, DR Black Beauties. Black Widow was my first wife!
  12. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    does your bass sound muddy when it's tuned normally? That would be a good indicator as to whether it's the bass or the tuning...

    but yes, new strings would probably help, and if the current strings are new, maybe try a new brand. or you just might not like p-basses
  13. Yeah, I'm kinda torn. I got rid of a Jazz to get the P so it would "cut through the mix". I play in a Classic Rock band (as well as church work). It does sit in the mix well, but when I go to slap and pop, the result is not so good.

    Digging also distorts a bit but I'm thinkin' that's the Quarter Pounders.

    I am going to try new string tomorrow and if that's no help I might put it up on CL and go back to a Jazz.
  14. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    Now, now, that cannot be true if you are still alive!!

    Maybe the DDT strings would work better for you then. They are stainless (can't tell what the Black Beauties are) and they are made for drop tuning. On the other hand a Jazz bass would make a good second bass....

    This wouldn't be TB if we didn't at least try to give you GAS. ;)

  15. SleepingMikkel


    Dec 10, 2011
    My lack of experience with a Precision (Jazz player for several years) won't help much in terms of the pickups helping the muddiness along, but I have been going between DR Black Beauties and several other brands for the past couple of months, they aren't ZINGY but at the same time they aren't muddy even when they are a bit dead. My suggestion would be to lower the bass on the amp a tad, maybe bump the high mid a tad as well. Boost the tone on the bass itself and let'r rip. It could be something as simple as that, or maybe the action needs to be raised a little bit, I commonly tune to Eb/D# and further on a set of standard (105) strings, I get a touch of muddiness once I hit around C# standard, but nothing that will ruin my day.
  16. vegas532


    Nov 10, 2006
    Glendora, CA.
    Give DR Hi-Beams a try. I sue those on a First Act Custom that I've dropped all the way to C/Drop A# without the mud.
  17. Update. I picked up some regular Slinkys. They seem to make a difference on my 15 watt practice amp. The big test will be Thursday at practice. I may switch to Hi-Beams or DDTs if the difference is significant. Thanks again and I will keep you all posted.