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Should my setup reflect tuning down 1/2 step?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by CJK84, May 30, 2005.

  1. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    I usually practice by playing along to recordings, nearly always at standard pitch.

    However, when I play out, we tune down 1/2 step.

    I just had my Cirrus (45, 65, 80, 100 roundwounds) set up by a good tech, but I never mentioned to him that we play 1/2 step down.

    Should I have told him to set up the bass for the dropped tuning?

    I've played at home quite a bit since the set up, but haven't tuned down yet as we've not played a gig since.
  2. 43apples

    43apples Guest

    Nov 9, 2003
    Ehrm, why don't you tune down and try to play it then? If it still feels good, and sounds good, then you're ok!
  3. ABSOLUTELY!!! :rolleyes:

    The lower tension in the strings when detuning will require less of that tension be counteracted with the trussrod. Depending on the neck and it's particular characteristics, you could have a completely unplayable instrument now. Think about it - When you pull back on a bowstring, doesn't the bow bend more? Release the string and the bow bends less. Less tension in the strings does the same thing. That has everything to do with string action and the appearance of fretbuzz.

    Good luck at practice
  4. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    Geez - now I feel like an ignorant nincompoop.

    Actually, because I practice almost exclusively by playing along to recordings, I tweak the tuning on my Cirrus - the only bass I own - all of the time, including occassionally tuning down an entire 1/2 step to play SRV and several other tunes requiring it (and of course tuning down when playing out).

    It's simple logic, now that I think of it, that this affects the setup, but I guess I really hadn't thought of it before.

    But wait!

    Isn't the graphite-reinforcement in the neck helping to "counter" the decreased string tension when detuning and keeping the relief in the neck nearly constant (over the years I haven't noticed problems like buzzing)?
  5. remo


    Jan 15, 2005
    on this topic.. My MM SR5 is normally at A440 standard tuning but I have a gig coming up that requires I tune my bass 1/2 a step down...

    Will tuning down my bass 1/2 a step for one gig have any effect on the bass's setup when I go back to standard tuning?

    as in.. will I tuning down for a day or so change the setup for when I put it back to standard?

    I know there will be less tention on the truss etc.. maybe I'm being over cautious and have nothing to worry about its just I don't want to stuff up my existing standard setup...
  6. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    I'm in a metal band that uses 1/2 step down tuning, and am in jazz group at my college which I use standard tuning for, and I use the same bass for both. I do use a thicker guage of strings, but maybe I should listen to hambone(if I had the money).
  7. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I did a tryout and when I got there the lead guitar turns to me and says "You where told we tune down 1/2 a step?".

    I tuned down and had no problems. This is with a '62 reissue Fender P with a medium action. YMMV.

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