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Switching between E and Eb tuning

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by Mr. Gone, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. I'm jamming with 2 bands, one in standard E tuning and one tunes down to Eb. Does anyone know if switching between tunings on my bass will damage the neck or the truss rod, or anything else for that matter?
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Should be fine, with the caveat that it will depend on your bass. However, by my calculations, the tension difference should be minimal:

    Take a light set of strings (say 100-80-60-40 - nice round numbers ;) ). To get between the E and the A (five semitones) is a gauge difference of 20 (100 - 80). Therefore, each semitone must be worth about 4 units (20 / 5). Based on this, and accepting that it's simple applied maths, not rigourously tested, the difference in tension between tuning to E and tuning down to Eb is less than the difference between changing between the set of strings above and an extra light set (95-75-55-35).

    I don't think you'll have any problems - if you're concerned, just keep the bass in standard tuning and just drop down for the other jam session.

  3. Thanks, that makes sense. I'll give it a try!
  4. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Thats the main reason I play a 5 string, So I don't have to worry about things like that:)
  5. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    It won't hurt the bass. You may see that it shortens the life of your strings, depending on how often you actually switch tunings.

  6. hey Mr. Gone...ive got similar probs...i play a 5 string and im in 2 bands. one thrash/melodic death metal, the other death/grindcore metal. so one turiing is BEADG and the other is Bb Eb Ab Db Gb. i was thinkin of from now on only the B to Bb and keeping the other strings as EADG and because the songs only open parts are on the B ill play all the stuff on EADG a fret up...i dunno..just an idea. what i wanted to say is ive broken 2 Bs lately (which arent cheap) because of this tuning im sure and switching back and forth (i very rarely break strings otherwise). i was wondeirng if i could minimalise the risk of breaking strings: altering the truss rod? altering the action?? would a hip-shot detuner be less likely to break my strings than my manuel deturning? will my neck start to suffer??

  7. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer

    May 24, 2001
    Bettendorf, IA USA
    I don't think there is any risk to the neck. The difference in tension between the 1/2 step isn't more significant than the varying tension of different string guages, flats v. rounds, etc.

    I don't think that a Hipshot would help your other situation at all. All a Hipshot does is "remember" the exact degree that the post must turn to correct the tension on the string to your desired pitch and incorporates a gear and lever to make it easy to do.

    It does exactly the same thing to the string that turning your regular peg does. It just makes it easier for you to do it quickly and easily.

    If it is really that big of a deal. Just tune the bass to Eb all the time and stick a capo on the first fret when you play the other stuff. Or avoid using open strings and play in Eb all the time.


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