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Octave pedal vs. tuning down

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Lenny, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. All the new material my guitar player is writing is in drop C tuning, stoner/doom style riffs. I'm reluctant to tune my bass down because of the lower string tension, and also because we're still playing some of our older songs which are in standard tuning.

    Would an octave pedal do the job? I think I already know the answer (no), but I thought I would ask around here. I haven't been able to find any threads directly related to this topic.

    Thanks, Lenny
  2. ItsMichaelYeah


    Jun 4, 2008
    No this really won't help you with that. You could drop your bass down to B and tune up to drop C
  3. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I have used my octave pedal for drop D stuff with success. However, this is only for a couple of songs. If you are playing everything in C then I would hesitate to rely on a pedal. Get some appropriate strings (like DRs drop tuning strings), file your nut if you need to and have at it.
  4. Yeah, I suspected that would be the case. Might be a good excuse to buy another bass and just keep it in C.

  5. k2aggie07


    Jul 6, 2011
    Houston, TX
    I use a second bass for that. There are a lot of lines that work better in appropriate tuning - pull offs to open strings, etc. Besides, you need to correct your intonation if you're tuned down.

    Get a cheap bass, tune it to drop C, profit.
  6. While I mainly play four stringers, I use a five string for drop stuff. It really makes things easier.
  7. Hold on a second... are we talking a 4-string bass tuned BEAD and then tune UP to C? If that's the case, probably not such a great idea... it'll create extra tension on the strings/neck which could cause damage.

    Lenny, just a thought, but have you considered a 5-string? You could play both the drop C and standard tuning stuff without having to switch basses. I've been in similar situations and my trusty 5's have never let me down... I play them almost exclusively these days, and this is just one reason why.

    Funny story: at a jam with a few people, one of the guitarists told me "I got something, it's in D" as he was tuning down his guitar. I said okay and stood there with my 5-string Jazz and waited for him to start playing. He looked at me a little confused a minute later and said, "Well? Aren't you going to tune down?" "I play a 5 bro, don't need to. I got a low B." The look on his face was pretty funny. :D

  8. I've never felt right playing a five. I'm sure I could get used to it, but for me, a four string just feels best in my hands.
  9. It takes some getting used to for sure, but IMO the benefits far outweigh the initial unease. :bassist:

  10. That's funny 5sg. ;)
  11. Yeah, maybe I'll have to test run a few fivers, it's been a while since I've played one.
  12. If/when you do, just keep an open mind. Your hands will have muscle memory for a 4-string, so it'll feel VERY strange when you first pick one up and your mind will play tricks on you. I've been playing 5's so long that I have the same problem when I go back to 4's. lol

    In addition to being able to play drop keys without having to re-tune or switch basses, you can play the same note up the neck and get a thicker sound. Playing a 10th fret A on the B string will sound bigger than a 5th fret A on the E string because of the thicker string. A 5-string also opens up new fingering possibilities and you won't have to shift as much. Economy of motion. Plus 5's just look cool. :p lol

  13. Good advice, thanks!
  14. Keep us posted! :cool:

  15. bass_walloper


    Aug 23, 2011
    I've been experiencing the same thing recently. I solved the dropped C issue initially by putting some DR Drop-Tuning Extra Heavy strings (65-85-102-125) on a backup bass and tuning it (low to high) C F Bb Eb, which has worked out much better than I expected. I had to widen the nut slots, but amazingly didn't have to change a thing on the rest of my setup; the tension in that tuning with those strings balanced out perfectly!

    The only problem now is that I have to lug around two basses to practice and gigs, which has me thinking that a 5 string might be the way to go and I'm keeping my eye out for the right one at the right price. I say if you can get used to a fiver, that's probably the way to go. But if you're a die-hard four-stringer, having another bass in C tuning will serve you very well if you go about it in the right way.
  16. PunkRocker33133

    PunkRocker33133 Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2008
    Northern VA
    What type of dropped stuff are you guys playing that 5's work? Because I play a ton of metal and hardcore, and for the vast majority of it, I need that open low note
  17. sillyfabe

    sillyfabe keeping the low-end silly since '06 Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2009
    San Bernardino,CA
    Another reason why octave pedals are not a good sub is that hey rarely sound like a down-tuned tone anyways...I mean it's gonna sound like you're using an octave pedal. I have my P-Bass tuned F-C-G-C and it works like a charm! Sounds really fat too plus I use flat-wounds with it
  18. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    May 4, 2006
    Roselle, IL
    Octave pedals, in my experience, really get annoying to work with and will not track every note you play. Speed and different techniques will goof those things up quickly.

    Much better off with a 4 string tuned to CGCF or something similar. It will definitely sound better overall.
  19. Smurf-o-Deth

    Smurf-o-Deth ¡No me gustan mis pantalones!

    Oct 2, 2007
    The state of denial.
    I'll step right in and dissent here. I personally prefer the sound of an octave divider for heavy, low riffing. I started on a 5 string, I have no trouble playing on a 5 string (though I do prefer 4s, and short-scale at that, for various reasons), but I'd rather use an octave divider. Personally, I dislike the tone of the lowest notes on a B string, any B string I've ever heard: recorded, live, or in my hands. My advice? Try it and see if you like it. Gonna be way cheaper than a new bass, that's for sure.
  20. synterx


    Jan 24, 2005
    Maybe not a octave pedal, but will the Morpheus drop tune pedal be good enough?

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