playing 5-string with LOW-tuned guitars

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by beachgeddy, Nov 11, 2001.

  1. beachgeddy


    Jul 11, 2001
    Muskegon, MI
    for those of you who play 5-strings on cover songs like stereomud and sevendust (with low-tuned guitars) . . .

    Do you tune your open strings with the guitars?
    Do you tune your B up to their low string?
    Or do you tune your E down with them and leave the B where it is?
    Or totally different then them?
    Do you retune just the low B from song to song?
    Do you have multiple basses in different tunings, ready-to-go?

    of course it depends on the situation, I only have one bass (fiver) and I need to play certain notes as 'open-strings' to make it sound right, but being sort of new to this I'm just interested to see what different ways you can approach this problem . . .
  2. Matthew Bryson

    Matthew Bryson Guest

    Jul 30, 2001
    Yoda voice on:

    Remember young Jedi, you already have a low D. It is on the 3rd fret of your 5th string. Remain in tune whenever you can, but be flexable. Detune if you must.

    Yoda voice off:

    - if they are tuned down one half step on all strings (E tuned to D#) then you can just know that you are going to be playing one fret lower than them to match tones...for certain things in 'drop D' (or is it 'dropped D' - I dunno) you will have to actually detune your E down to D (only the fourth string is detuned) - this changes the relationship between the strings and can cause certain pieces written in this tuning to be too difficult to play without tuning this way. I hope I haven't confused you...I don't really know so much about this stuff ...I mostly wanted to do the yoda voice thing.
  3. beachgeddy


    Jul 11, 2001
    Muskegon, MI
    ok thats all good, but do five string players bother tuning to get all the open notes, such as a low D or Db, or just try to fret everything? I'm sure the original recordings were done using open strings and it sounds a lot better that way . . . obviously I'm confused . . . I just joined this band, jammed for the first time friday night, I knew the songs but I had to go to different keys, up or down, it worked but I just didnt have the open strings I wanted know what I'm sayin
  4. beachgeddy


    Jul 11, 2001
    Muskegon, MI
    nevermind I just figured it out, sounds like a stupid question now heheh . . . I'm a little slow sometimes:rolleyes: mah bad . . .
  5. i play a 5 string, and whenever i need to hit a low "D", i use the 3rd fret on my "B" string.
    if you want a specific "open-note" sound, you can either drop your "E" or you can mess with your EQ.
    i choose to mess with the EQ. it won't sound exactly the same, but then again, who wants to sound exactly the same as someone else?
  6. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Portland, OR
    Yeah...I need to know more about this...any info would be helpful to myself as well. My band is in D (I currently detune every string one full step, D?), and soon, we might be going down to C as our standard would one deal with that on a 5er? I'm sure as heck not tuning a B string down two steps, thats for sure...but then again, I rely on a lot of open notes/hammers that make it kind of hard not to drop the bass...maybe just stay in D so my Low B wil only go to A? Ack...
  7. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Well, I personally think it's all what's easier for you. We play blues/classic rock/80's ect., so I really don't use the B for the main riffs, but it's nice to have it there, cause I like to play some 5ths or whatever. It's also nice, if I don't want to mess with the open E or whatever.

    As far as detuning. If your band was playing in dropped (espcially for just a song or so), I would just remain in standard and use the D on the B string. (Unless you NEED that open D) If your band was detuning a half of step, I would probaly just detune all my strings a half of step to. Now if your band is going to a C, detuning your bass that far, is probaly doing to make you sound floppy. In that case, I would learn what the exact chords are, (Not just positions, actual chord names) that guitarist is playing, and use the C on the B string.
  8. K, I feel you brother!

    I play in a band where our guitarist plays in drop C.
    I keep my 5er in standard tuning and use a capo on the first fret if im playing something up high and use a lot of low C's. Hope it helps.
  9. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    I played fretless with a band who played a half step detuned, at the same time I was playing in a band who played at standard pitch (all guitars in both bands). I keep my fretless set up so low, the half step was like letting the air out of the tires and I started scraping the rims on the pavement. So I just learned the songs in the flat keys, got some reading and odd key chops back together, and actually had a pretty good time with it.

    The problem, of course, is that the guitar players are gonna wanna start yelling chords at you, and they'll yell the chord shapes, not the actual pitches. Ehh-- just have to rehearse the songs before you get on stage, I guess; not a bad policy under any conditions.