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Open Em bass tuning

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Andy Ewings, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. Andy Ewings

    Andy Ewings

    Jan 27, 2019
    Got a couple of songs to learn having just joined a new band, the guitarists are using Open Em tuning i.e EBEGBE on quiet a few of them. Any advice about where to start with the tune on a 4 string. It’s mainly groove Doom Metal stuff.

  2. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Tulsa, OK
    Tune your bass normally, EADG. You can play in literally any key with that tuning. The tuning of the guitarist is irrelevant for you, unless they insist on you matching their fingering, which is ridiculous, IMO.
    Max Bogosity, Les Fret, JRA and 6 others like this.
  3. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Unless you need open strings other than EADG for some reason, then EADG.
  4. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member


    Just tune your bass the standard way and play.

    Open tunings are more a thing for guitar players since different tunings can allow them to get chord voicings that would be impossible to play with standard Torres (EADGBE) tuning.

    With bass (especially in Metal) you’re mostly playing single notes, dyads, or power chords. So standard tuning will easily handle all of that.
    JRA and Malcolm35 like this.
  5. Malcolm35


    Aug 7, 2018
    Open tunings normally give the guitar people a barre chord, i.e. they barre @ the root note over all strings - making it easy for them. They then have to change (barre) their fingering, for the rest of the chords they use, no reason for you to change what you are doing.

    As mentioned many times in TB stay in standard tuning and play the patterns you know and love. I know you may still be asking; "But, what does they being in a different tuning do to the key"?

    Nothing, when they changed the tuning they now must change how they fret what they play. What they did to make it easier for them has not affected THE KEY'. That is some thing that is sometime hard to get our heads around, if so, ask questions...… Kinda important we clear this up or the guitar guys will drive you crazy with all their special tunings and capo use.

    Don't expect any help from a guitar guy on what key is being used, most of their answers are suspect as most rhythm guitar guys just follow the chords and strum the rhythm.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  6. Andy Ewings

    Andy Ewings

    Jan 27, 2019
    Thanks everyone, really appreciate it
  7. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    Although it is usually not necessary, it actually can be useful to match the guitar tuning on bass guitar, if particular riffs are difficult to play in standard EADG. This is why Meshuggah's bassist uses a guitar-matching tuning, as do very many other bassists.
    A tuning can make certain riffs possible that are not possible or very difficult or uncomfortable in other tunings.
    Which is why it is not ridiculous to use the same fingering as the guitarists. Guitarists don't insist on this, bassists choose to do this.
    So anyway, if certain riffs are very difficult in EADG, you could consider EBEG or EBEB or whatever.
    Thorny1 and Mushroo like this.
  8. Andy Ewings

    Andy Ewings

    Jan 27, 2019
    Cheers for that, I’m gonna have a play about and see what sounds and feels the best, I can see me purchasing even more basses now
  9. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    00 images2b2.

    i'd start with the basics, OP.

    well, you'd need 12 of them! :laugh:
    Stevorebob and MonetBass like this.
  10. Andy Ewings

    Andy Ewings

    Jan 27, 2019
    There’s nothing worse than waiting for the 6 strings to faff with their tuning all night let alone me doing it too
    Stevorebob and JRA like this.
  11. bfields


    Apr 9, 2015
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Huh, that's interesting. Do you have an example of a riff that's easier to play in an alternate turning?
  12. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Anything that requires a drone other than EADG.
    Groove Doctor and bfields like this.
  13. Thorny1


    Jun 16, 2019
    Most Disturbed gets much easier on a 4 string tuned half a step down, as most of their music in in Eb. Many people on this forum would tell you to just bring your 5 string, but the speed of the music makes fretting every note very challenging.

    Periphery plays in a variety of tunings, sometimes tuned as low as G# on the bottom of a 5 string. Good luck making that work without detuning.

    Bullet For My Valentine plays in C. Sure, you can both bring a 5er AND fret every low C, but it's less work to just downtune, and that can reduce fatigue over a long gig.

    There are lots of good reasons for bassists to tune below EADG. It isnt common outside of metal, to my knowledge, and metal doesnt get much respect as a genre around these parts, so it's not surprising that you arent being advised about it.
    bfields likes this.

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