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Tips to improve clarity and tonal stability in really low tunings?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by TheBlackMetalCat, Feb 10, 2016.

  1. TheBlackMetalCat


    Jan 4, 2016
    I used to play mostly in drop c and d standard and never had any problems with clarity on my ltd, but the new guitarist in my band want to play feed the ground by Periphery, which is in drop Bb. I now find that on the quick parts of the song the sound turns really muddy and get lost in the guitars. Anybody know how I can fix this?
  2. I stay in standard tuning and ask the keyboard what key he is going to use and I then use that key. IMO tunings other than standard make it easy for someone to do something -- guitars playing power chords, vocalists catching the low notes, all kinds of things are done to make it easier on someone.

    So - with non-standard tunings or capo songs I stay in standard tuning and play in the key they end up using. Some time that takes some figuring out. We have a keyboard in our band and she is faced with this same problem I have, so we figure out what the key is after all the hupla and we use that.

    I elect to not get involved with capos or non standard tunings.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    Bb is only a half step down from standard 5 string tuning. Shouldn't be that big a deal.

    There are several things you can do.
    1) Use thicker strings. For me a .120 would be the absolute minimum for Bb. I'd probably use a .140 on a 34" scale.
    2) If you have two pickups don't use them both full on. Try each soloed to see which cuts through better, if you aren't doing that already.
    3) If it's still muddy EQ out some of your lows and add more mids.
    4) If it's still muddy after that get the guitar players to cut some of their lows.
    5) You could also try a high pass filter set around 40hz to clean up the low end.
    RickyT likes this.
  4. TheBlackMetalCat


    Jan 4, 2016
    Thanks for the replies! I ended up borrowing my rhythm guitarist's 5-string Ibanez, which made things much clearer in the mix. Also, I plan on getting a set of DR Drop-Down Tuning strings to improve stability on the 4-string, which will now be my backup.

    P.S. thanks for the tip Iz4005. I now know that my neck pickup cuts through much better than the bridge!

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