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Need advice on drop tuned band

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by darknes40, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. darknes40


    Oct 11, 2011
    First off I didn't know where to post this, mods move where you see fit.

    After purchasing a new bass I decided to switch to a slightly lighter gauge string purely as a feel kind of deal and ordered a set that had the a d g strings lighter and the e regular to allow for the occasional drop d tuning for the cover band I play with.

    The thing is this month I'll be joining sn originals band my buddy and I are starting using songs he writes which from what I've heard are pretty good. The problem is when I asked him what tuning he plays in he said drop c. Now obviously I will be unable to pull this off with my new lighter strings.

    My question is should I just suck it up an go back to thicker strings to drop my bass? Or should I just drop d and try to work with it? Or should I stay standard and just make sure I'm playing in the same key but without the lower notes.

    My only problem with this idea is I'm wondering if my bass just won't sound low enough to really give the song what it needs. What do you guys think? Is this an issue and if it is will something like a tube driven overdrive be the solution to getting the grit necessary to play it in standard without it sounding weak?

    And no buying a 5'er is not an option as I just purchased an sr500 and have no gear
    Money left :( (kind o kicking myself for not going the 505 now but they didn't have any in stock and I didn't want to buy without trying,, especially as it would be my first 5 string)

    Also I should note that the songs are somewhere along the lines of a bullet for
    My valentine type if heavy but with classic (zeppelin/roses etc.) influences

    Also while my knowledge of theory isn't exactly top notch I have constructed baselines by following keys before do I'm sure I should be able to work with the songs in standard if you guys thing that's the route I should go

    Ps if I knew how to put in a poll from the iPhone app I would but alas no such luck
  2. its not impossible to play in drop C with light gauge strings. might feel a little weird, but it can be done. if you want the gig, you need the right supplies. move up to mediums and you should be fine. if people are going to tune that low, they expect the bass to be down there with it. playing in standard likely wont give the desired result.
  3. niels125


    Aug 11, 2011
    I have a Fender Jazz bass 4 string with DR lowrider strings and I tune my bass drop D or B all the time without and problem
  4. jamisonsalamand


    Aug 15, 2008
    Playing with heavier strings tuned lower will feel the same, I do believe. And to be honest when bands start chugging away on tunings lower than D it takes a lot of attention to the mix and band eq to sound heavier at all. The Devil Wears Prada is the only heavy band that I'm really into, and their stuff in D on "With Roots Above and Branches Below" sounds a lot heavier than the Zombie EP(which is all B). This is because they got the overall eq right, and some people just don't realize that "too low" DOES in fact exist when you still want audible notes and good mixes
  5. Warrior_Bass


    Mar 10, 2010
    Strings can really make or break you in this context. I would definitely recommend downtuning. Try it with your current strings first. If the strings are too floppy, even after a setup, then you should take them off, bag them up, and save them for later. Get a set of higher tension strings (DR lo-riders FTW) and you're good to go. I used this setup for years and never had a problem being heard. It always sounded low and heavy when I wanted it.
  6. DeathFromBelow

    DeathFromBelow Never Forget. Banned

    Dec 23, 2010
    Horten, Norway
    It's just a matter of time before the "I don't understand why you would drop-tune, get a five string because drop tuning kills kittens and is only used by talentless hack metal players who don't know music-theory and personal hygiene"-crowd show up.

    Let the trolling begin...
  7. upandb


    Feb 18, 2009
    CT and NY
    I'd also recommend downtuning to Drop C. While you certainly could just play an octave higher sometimes, the lack of a low C might fail to give a song that full sound that the band might be looking for. If you play a C on your A string and he's playing a low C on his bottom string, you'll be playing the same note.
  8. jabsys


    Mar 30, 2011
    He'll be along soon ;)

    Too me playing a higher octave just won't sound right with that style music and you'll probably find some of the riffs are written around the open C so a 5 string would still need to be detuned.

    imo going to drop c is the best option.
  9. Toastfuzz


    Jul 20, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    DR Drop Down strings are your best friend, friend. Its often suggested to struggle with transposing, playing in 1 tuning while you band plays in another. Its a useless pain, esp. for a chugging metal band. Just drop $30 on some new strings and be happy.
  10. Drop C or C standard with heavier gauge strings are your best options. You're gonna want to have a bass that's set up specifically for that tuning only.
  11. darknes40


    Oct 11, 2011
    Ya my issue there is I own one great bass and the other two are less then I'd want to use gigging now that I have her haha not to mention I still play with the cover band who does all it's stuff in standard with the odd drop d song. But o well I guess I'll try detuning with these and if it's a no go I'll bag em till after this band is done
  12. Thor

    Thor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

  13. bassphreak

    bassphreak Supporting Member

    Feb 13, 2007
    Lehigh Valley Area, PA
    To the OP: I think this is in the wrong section since it doesn't really relate to live sound as the question is posed. Your current question may impact live sound when you start playing out and need to eq for live drop tuned songs.

    Back to point: I agree with most of the responses. Your best best is to tune to drop C. Ideally you would have a second bass setup for Drop C (I've had to do this) since you should have heavier strings and a different setup that will make it difficult to change quickly back to standard.

    The SR500 should allow you to eq the bass very well even when drop tuned so you don't sound like mud.

    Good luck and have fun with it.
  14. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    Have the "Strings" section mods listened to our constant request for all-things downtuned sticky yet?

    Didn't figure.

    Check the Strings forum for some help on this. I've played drop C (it's what my band plays in) on a .105-.45 set before and with the right setup it "works", but is hardly ideal. I play my NS-5 ACGCF with some custom Circle K's.

    Their .124 drop tuned set is perfect for drop C.

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