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Need Help! Drop E Progressive Djent Project Tuning Issue 5 String

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ChuckNation, Jun 26, 2017.


  1. ChuckNation

    ChuckNation

    Jun 26, 2017
    Cleveland, OH
    I am playing in a project where the guitarist is playing an 8 string guitar (Agile) tuned in Drop E - EBEADGBE

    Now, I have two 5 string basses.

    An Ibanez White K5 Fieldy from Korn 5 string bass and I was able to tune it to EBEAD with the factory (blue) strings. And it does work but as you can imagine that low E flops around a bit too much for my liking. Oh and it does sound like plowing through 6 feet of mud at times...

    So...

    I had my guitarist set up my other bass (he knows how to set up guitars properly) a Traben Array 5 string and when I got it back it was tuned to standard BEADG. I said 'you put it in the wrong tuning' and he said 'he always played bass in standard with his 8 string guitar tuned to Drop E (for recording purposes).'

    Now, getting to my dilemma.

    How do I finger and fret these songs (which I have tabs for) while playing on a standard tuned 5 string?

    Especially since I have been playing them on my white Ibanez tuned to EBEAD and following along (for the most part) with the guitar.

    I really want to play the songs the best way to sound the best.


    Hopefully, I made this clear to understand.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    My first instinct, if you want to keep that tuning (guitar and bass in the same octave works for Meshuggah, so I see no conceptual problem with it), would be to see if you can make the song work without the drop tuning. Using the standard five string tuning, you would be playing the Es (of which I assume there are many) not on the lowest but the second string - which is solely a matter of practice. Not too much of a problem, I think.

    However, whether you absolutely need the drop tuning isn't something anyone else can tell you without seeing the music. Try playing the notes on the strings above the E two frets up, so like it's like this (lowest three strings for reference only):
    Old tuning
    E----------
    B-------5-8
    E-0-0-0---

    New tuning
    A-------7-10
    E-0-0-0----
    B-----------
     
    Atshen and swooch like this.
  3. ChuckNation

    ChuckNation

    Jun 26, 2017
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks for the info. I am going to try that. I uploaded a pdf of the guitar tab of one of the songs. Maybe that will help understand more. All the music is copyrighted.
     

    Attached Files:

    Nashrakh likes this.
  4. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    I just had a look at it and I think you can totally play this without the need for a drop tuning. Stuff will be on different spots on the fretboard, but nothing that would give you a hard time. You can do this.

    Does your guitarist write in Guitar Pro by any chance? That would make transposing a lot easier for you, but it's not rocket science to tab this out for your tuning.
     
  5. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    You have a very rare thing in your life...an intelligent 8 string guitar player. Count yourself lucky.

    Throw the tab away and learn the notes. Play those notes. Done.
     
    mambo4 and mexicant like this.
  6. ChuckNation

    ChuckNation

    Jun 26, 2017
    Cleveland, OH
    How would I be able to tab this out in standard tuning? I am just not sure how to 'convert' it to work in standard. Good to know that it is possible.
     
  7. Nashrakh

    Nashrakh

    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    The most reliable way to translate the old tuning to the new one would be to know which note on the fretboard relates to the number on the tab. Basically, what LZ is advocating. Yes, it is a lot of work at first but it will open up a world of expression to you - for example, writing your own bass lines that are independent from the guitar yet do not clash with it.

    Grab a pen and some paper and go through your tabs note for note, as slow as you need it to be. But the only way to do it, is to do it. So if you see a 5 on the B string, that's an E. On the A string, that would be fret number 7. A 10 on the E string would be a D, that's a 12 on the D string. (Or, easy way out, just add 2 frets to the tab on all strings above the low E string, low E stays the same.)

    Take note that you will end up an octave higher than your previous tuning, but you have the advantage that you still have an E string you do not have to transpose, only the stuff that was played on the B and "high" E.

    If you have trouble deciphering my gibberish (I find this kind of hard to explain over a message board), I'm sure your guitarist will help you out - after all, he has used the tuning before. Ask him to explain or show it to you or to produce a new tab for you.
     
    Malarkey likes this.
  8. ChuckNation

    ChuckNation

    Jun 26, 2017
    Cleveland, OH
    Thanks for the info. I am going to try it out. I really appreciate your time explaining it to me!
     
    monsterthompson likes this.
  9. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    2 questions:

    1) How much freedom do you get in this band?

    2) Do you need to double the riffs?

    It may help to go in the opposite direction of traditional bass logic on this and instead of trying to play under it try playing in the holes/use a different than accepted tone. For example I've noticed in a lot of prog/djent etc the guitar tunes down (well into bass territory) and use a scooped tone that is rich in information in the high and low end with very little midrange. This creates a sonic clustershag from a psychophysical standpoint as all of the music is crammed into 10% of the audible spectrum. To me the answer to dealing with this is:

    1) Cut your lows and highs while focusing on your mids. By itself you may think this sounds like utter poopiee but it will probably sound decent in context.

    2) Don't try to play underneath it. Like I said earlier there is already plenty of low end happening without you. If you don't have to double riffs just hit important notes in it.

    3) This kind of goes with the above but reconsider what the rhythm section is in this situation. It seems like it is the drums and guitar. Remember that the proper name for our instrument is "Electric Bass Guitar" to me this means that we are the lowest pitched member of the guitar family. With that in mind try playing some counterpoint lines, play in a higher register than the guitar, play a note when he plays a rest, only hit his accents, use effects, go ambient and atmospheric when he is going rhythmic and heavy etc.

    I hope this helps.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
    swooch and Nashrakh like this.
  10. ChuckNation

    ChuckNation

    Jun 26, 2017
    Cleveland, OH
    I have plenty of freedom and no the riffs don't need to be doubled.

    I have always played in metal bands by feeling and following the guitars (somewhat) while adding my flair.

    However, with the 8 string tunings and not being able to (easily) tune my bass to this low register I want to play so that it not only makes sense but sounds the best.

    With that being said, I have no training or understanding notes, scales, theory, etc...

    And trying to relearn how I play bass while working 4 jobs, wife, kid, etc..

    Is there a way to convert or transpose what the guitar is playing and what I should be playing in standard tuning?
     
  11. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    I don't get the problem. Your strings are BEADG. His are EBEADGBE.
    That means his middle 5 strings are the same as yours, an octave up.
    His lowest is the same as your 2nd lowest. Literally the same notes in the same octave.

    You aren't relearning anything. You'd be learning things for the first time.
    Step one, learn the notes on the neck. That's day one of being a bass player.
    Then learn the notes in the song. Play those notes.
     
  12. ChuckNation

    ChuckNation

    Jun 26, 2017
    Cleveland, OH
    Most of his notes are on that low E. He is on that low E and B alot. So just play them in reverse?
     
  13. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    You should probably play the notes in the same order he's playing them.
     
    monsterthompson likes this.
  14. ChuckNation

    ChuckNation

    Jun 26, 2017
    Cleveland, OH
    Thats not what I mean ;] Notes on his low E I play on my 4th string E and his notes on B I play on my low B? I meant playing the strings backwards so to speak. Or am I way off on this?
     
  15. ChuckNation

    ChuckNation

    Jun 26, 2017
    Cleveland, OH
    I seem more confused than I should be...
     
  16. lz4005

    lz4005

    Oct 22, 2013
    Play the right notes. Which octave and on which string is up to you as a stylistic choice to make the song sound good.
     
    Mushroo and ChuckNation like this.
  17. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    I read an interview with the bassist from Meshuggah where he talked about the whole 8 string deal and he said that he just doubled in the same octave as the guitars live and generally wasn't on the recordings at that point. The heavier strings and the longer scale length gives a different timbre. Again in this situation the rhythm section is more the drums and rhythm guitar than the drums and bass. In "Extreme Metal Bass" by Alex Webster he outlines different rhythm section styles and how to adapt.

    C/S,
    Rev J
     
  18. RobTheRiot

    RobTheRiot

    Aug 31, 2016
    las Vegas, nv
    Yes, that'll be the best, probably easiest place to start. Obviously it'll feel a little strange at first, but an E is an E... so if he plays the 3rd fret on his lowest E - a G - you play the 3rd fret on your E string - a G - just now it's the 4th string, not the 5th. Same goes for the B string.
    Different place, same notes.
    It might actually lend a unique sound to your basslines even just doubling, since you'll be jumping octaves from what he's doing (if he plays a run up his low E and on up his B, you'll play a run up your E, them jump down to run up the B). Also, it'll probably give a bit more punch and less mud, by not having your bottom string so loose.
    At least that's a good place to start; there has already been a lot of good ideas on how to possibly enhance your bass lines above.
    Hope that helps!
     
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