Other tuning

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Bass2x, Aug 3, 2005.

  1. Bass2x


    Jul 25, 2005
    What are some of the more common alternate tunings for 4 string bass?
    I have seen different than EADG and wondering what the advantages might be...
  2. A lot of bands will tune a half step lower for some songs:
    Eb, Ab, Db, Gb

    Another popular tuning is dropped D:
    D, A, D, G
    which enables you to go a tad bit lower and makes certain chord shapes easier to play

    That's usually all I really see in rock music, which is what I primarily listen to.
  3. Bass2x


    Jul 25, 2005
    This is the tuning I saw... at first I thought it was a misprint until I saw it again.
    There must be a specific reason, no?
  4. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    All that's happening is you tuning to a particular key.

    makes playing chords easier (sometimes), and chords sound more fatter.

    Guitarist use open tunings alot. But so can bass players!

    Another tuning in the key of D is: D, G, D, G

    D, E , F#, G, A, B, C#, D


    1, 2, #3, 4, 5, 6, #7, 8

    D Major 
    N [U]D  A  D  G[/U]
      |  |  |  |
      E  B  E  A
      |  |  |  |
      F# C# F# B
      G  D  G  |
    6 [U]|  |  |  C#[/U]
  5. nataku


    Jun 21, 2004
    San Jose, CA
    tools bassist uses drop d (as far as i know its that tuning) to drone in two octaves in the same song. its really cool, and has influenced my playing a lot.
  6. Bass2x


    Jul 25, 2005
    So, the 'Drop D' is useful only for the D scale?
    I see where you would have open strings for the root, 5th, octave and 4th. You would need another bass tuned this way, right? I mean, you wouldn't go back and forth tuning your E string, would you? Or is this 'Drop D' more versatile than that? I'm intruiged by this, I'd like to know more. TIA.
  7. Jeff Martinez

    Jeff Martinez

    May 10, 2005
    Denver, CO
    The tuning that I use most often is: D-A-D-A. I can finger some wonderful chords with it. Songs in D or A benefit from the ability to pedal on an open string. Since this tuning shortens the neccessary reach for most chords and scales, it's not to difficult to hold the root with one finger while the other 3 fill in the rest.
    On my 5-string, I have it tuned: A-D-A-D-A. I know it sounds stupid, but I have almost the same range as a 6-string. The biggest problem I have with this tuning is finding a set of string with guages that work well without being too tight on the high-A or too loose on the low-A.
  8. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    From what I know (and I could be wrong), these types of tunings are all about "patterns and positions", rather than having one tuning method, and knowing each individual scale and the notes... so-on, and so-on. To make it easier to play in different keys, just tune the bass to a particular key, and use 1, 2, or 3 of the same patterns. It sorta takes the guess work out of knowing all the notes of all the scales.

    It's a short-cut.

    I have plans to buy 2 more basses so I can tune them to different keys. One thing to be aware of, is when you start using these types of tuning methods, you might have to start using heavier or lighter gauge strings, and resetting the neck action.
  9. Bassist4Life


    Dec 17, 2004
    Buffalo, NY

    You need to check out the king of altered tunings: Michael Manring. Here is a link to a really good interview that talks a lot about altered tunings:


  10. TomGale


    Jul 31, 2005
    American School of Double Bass
    Over the years, I've used the 'normal' EADG and also DADG, CADG and CGDG in orchestral playing. I've found the DADG to be the most versitle esp. for those low Ebs and Ds in the orchestral lit.
    Tom Gale
  11. conk97


    May 2, 2005
    redditch, uk
    i have recently put my 5string in that tunning. it feels really weird and i have had to transpose some of my riffs to fit the new tunning but its the only tunning that will work with the band im in
  12. I mainly use DADG, But I occasionaly tune to EADG. A couple of other tunings I've seen bassist in bands using a 4banger is BADG, CGCF, BEDG(Tool used this on the song Parabol/Parabola, And I find it quite usful) ANd a new thing Ive noticed people doing is tuning to the lower 4 strings of a 5 string which is BEAD, I really have no use for it, But If you dont like the width of a 5 string neck I can see why one would use it.

    Something I found interesting was trying cello tuning, CGDA. I couldnt really get used to it, but after spending about an hours or so in it, I was kinda diggin it. For you King Krimson fans, Its what Robert Fripp calls New Standard Tuning(NST).

    Something I really wannt do, Is get a 5 string bass with close string spacing and tune them these two ways, DADGC and DADAD.
  13. conk97


    May 2, 2005
    redditch, uk
    May i ask why it has to bbe on a bass with close string spacing?
  14. Bass2x


    Jul 25, 2005

    Seems that it would be quite a stretch, in either direction to, say, hit a minor 3rd from the bottom string, no? (i.e. Am/C)
  15. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Tuning in fourths is a good compromise between reaching a long way and playing notes that are close together. Keeping the pattern the same across the neck is convenient because a pattern that works in one place can easily be transferred to another position, giving a different set of notes with the same relationships or even the same notes with a different timbre.

    Alternative tunings seem to fall into three different categories:

    - those that preserve the relationships of standard tuning but start you lower or higher (eg. BEAD, ADGC or DGCF)

    - those that extend the total range of notes in exchange for some bigger gaps to jump over (eg. BADG, DADG, CGDA)

    - 'open' tunings that form a chord (eg. DADF#, EG#DG#)

    Since I've got a couple of six string basses for when I want a wide range of notes, it's the third category that interests me most - it's easier to get a full sound out of the bass, with drones, harmonics and tapped chords without awkward or impossible fingerings. I haven't really done much with the concept so far but was recently noodling round with some ideas in that direction; since the 'Teeth are having a two or three week break over the summer, I might revisit one or two of our songs to see if I can figure out some open-tuning approaches that might open up some new directions.

  16. im playing mainly in C#F#BE at the moment. im getting a bit of fret buzz though. Should i get my bass set up to play like this or try different strings. im using hybrid slinkys 105. A Perfect Circle use this tuning too. and i think SOAD might aswell?
  17. Well, close string spacing usually means a thinner neck. And all the 5 strings ive tried seem to be too wide for me, Besides the Ibanez SDGR's which have the thinnest 5 string necks Ive ever tried. I havent tried many 5ers though, I think the longest times Ive ever stayed on one was maybe 5-10 minutes tops. Ive only tried the Ibanez, Modulus Q6 and MMSR5, And My favorite on playability was the Ibanez

    SOAD for the first 3 albums used CGCF, Now they use Db-Ab-Db-F#
  18. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    New Zealand
    You could start tapping out chords and intervals.

    I think that's the idea behind Micheal Manring's tapping philosophy.

    I think alot of tunings apply to guitarist mostly though, as they tend produce a chord that has a fatter tone, like the Open D tunings.
  19. pauljacksonfan


    Jun 14, 2005
    I'm really inspired by Anthony Jackson's work with Chaka Khan and Pino Palladino's work with neo soulers like D'Angelo and Erykah Badu. They like to venture into territory that is far out of reach for standard four string( AJ: low C, Pino: low C#). This has made me detune my Yamaha BB bass C F Bb Eb. This is the tuning AJ used on P-bass for Chaka Khan's albums naughty, whatcha gonna do for me and, maybe, "Chaka".
    I'm doing it with a little twist however. I've put on the fattest gauged Rotosound black nylon strings there is(E is about the girth of a standard B :smug: ). This one's not for everyone, but if you want a really fat sound that literally will move people ;) , try this tuning.
  20. conk97


    May 2, 2005
    redditch, uk
    I use an Ibanez SR405 and i love the fact that the neck is so thin..its neally as thin as my 4string bass :eek: