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'Purposely' Out of Tune?

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by The Ethanator, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. So, I swapped out the strings on my LTD D6 for Ernie Ball Slinkys, 135-45 if you must know. Can't tune up to standard tuning or the 45 will snap (no way that things hitting a open C), so i'm leaving it down a step (A/D Standard, which i usually play in anyway). I was setting the intonation yesterday and got it nearly spot-on on the G-Bb strings, but I worry about backing the saddle out on the low A and D because I feel like the string may snap. Im using my 6er for a recital in a few weeks (composer, wrote a classical-style piece for 6-string bass) so tuning is important. However, It seems I won't get exact intonation all the way across the instrument. I remember reading a while ago about how some guitarists (also common with pianos) will purposely have the intonation set slightly off to a certain ratio that gives chords a sort of 'shimmer' rather than the sound of a wave drilling into your ear because the instrument is out of tune. Has anybody attempted this with a 6-string bass, or can anybody shed some light on this subject? I'd appreciate it, thanks!
  2. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    You know, you can loosen the string at the tuner if moving the saddle under tension freaks you out. Just retune to check intonation.
  3. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    You got a 45 for a C? Wow, you sure you got the right set?
  4. awamori


    Dec 10, 2009
    45 for a C string is a bit too big.

    You might want to go down to a 32 or a 30 gauge string.
  5. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    He did say he's tuned down a whole step, so the .45 is actually a Bb, but that's still pretty heavy. .45 is usually a G.
  6. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    But to answer your actual question, out of tune is never good.
  7. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    yeah, this makes no sense at all.

    a 45 is a G string, not a C. of course it'll snap if you try to crank it up to the totally wrong note.

    get the correct strings on there, at which point there's no reason you shouldn't shoot for correct intonation, that makes no sense either. (stretch-tuning a piano has little bearing on what an electric bass does.)
  8. Kingbreaker


    Feb 12, 2013

    Equal temperament [What most guitarists consider to be "in tune"] is a HUGE compromise right from the start. It's so prevalent in recorded music that we've gotten used to it. Perfect fifths sound pretty good, but chords with thirds will always sound more dissonant than they would with other intonation systems. On renaissance lutes and such, the frets are adjustable - they are tied on, and the lutenist can slide them up or down the neck to get the best temperament for a particular piece. Obviously not an option for us.

    From a temperament standpoint, your best bet might be to get a fretless and adjust your intonation subconsciously on the fly :)
  9. You bought the wrong strings for the gig. Don't swallow the spider to catch the fly...
  10. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    If you have some revolutionary complex or artistic reasoning for purposely tuning flat, then...well, it would still be wierd. ;) But, don't let your gear dictate your music. My advise would be to get a set of standard 6 stings and play the recital. Then after it is over, you can expieriment on your own with string guage and tension. Though, I don't see any reason to have a 45 Bb string. That string already has enough trouble balancing with the others.
  11. bassmonkeee


    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    Yeah, there is no such thing as an Ernie Ball 6 string bass set with a .045 hich C string.

    The only one they sell is:

    .032 .045 .065 .080 .100 .130

    And, a .032 shouldn't feel like it's going to snap. So, no offense--you are apparently doing something wrong if a .032 feels like it's going to snap.
  12. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    Pianos are often 'stretch-tuned' where the highest octaves are progressively tuned sharp. I've seen it done but it's been so long ago, I can't remember how much and where. On a bass? No. Guitar? No.
  13. ixlramp


    Jan 25, 2005
    Yes it is done on guitar, half of the "Buzz feiten tuning system" is this and is similar to stretch tuning on a piano.
    Pulling the saddle back will not break the string, just loosen it until it is almost completely loose before moving the saddle. If it's a non-tapered B top load it, it will not like to be strung through body ... too sharp of an angle.
    Concerning shimmer, our system of 12 equal temperament is out of tune already, only the octave, the fifth and fourth are in tune. Thirds and sixths are roughly 16 cents out.

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