1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

tuning a 5 string up! - adjustments to be made?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by (hed)-less, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. I play in a metal band that annoyingly tunes to C standard, not wanting to tune my five string up at first incase it caused damage due to extra tension - I thought it be best to simply tune down my 4 string. At first this was fine but tuning C F A# D# on a 4 with standard gauge strings is just to floppy tension wise and got annoying, and I cant afford to have some extra heavy duty strings + bridge/nut altered done to my bass right now, it would be too costly.

    so I've gone back to my 5 string and tuned it up a semitone to C - it feels great and the tension is good - I'm just wondering am I causing any extra strain or damage to the neck? Its a neck thru which hopefully will help a bit - though I'm not quite sure, I'm a novice to matters of adjusting trust rods and such. I was wondering if anyone has has done something similar and what adjustments have you made/feel need to be made to keep the bass maintained as well as it would be in standard tuning?

    Cheers :D
  2. I would either buy a lighter B string to keep the tension about right or tune it up when needed, and then when you're done playing, tune it back down to B and let it rest. In my mind, it would make more sense to have more tension some of the time than all of the time. Then again, I'm sure the constant changes of tension won't be that great for the neck either.
  3. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    get lighter strings and adjust the truss rod to counter for the lower tension and youre good to go.
  4. It's just a thought but simply because the guitarists are in a drop tuning does not mean that you have to be. I play in different tunings to our guitarist every now and then and it's fine provided everyone is playing the right notes. I know that there is a difference in tone between a trapped and an open string, but in the context of metal that is not going to come through. If you just tune to a standard tuning and alter your fingering accordingly you will both have good tension in the strings and you won't risk damage to the neck.

    Anyway, like I said, just a thought.

  5. Showdown

    Showdown Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2002
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    What he said. You can always just play everything a fret higher. Or use a capo on the first fret. You don't see bass players using capos very often, but it does work and you can be a trend setter.
  6. OneArmedScissor


    Feb 23, 2006
    I'm also thinking about tuning to C E A D G because in reality tuning B to C isn't going to make a world of difference if you're bass is set up for it and you're using normal gauge strings. I am really sick of drop C on my 4 string, you hit the C and it just bounces off the neck like you've slapped it. Yuck.
  7. exactly - i got sick of tuning my 4 string that way too - cheers for all the replies, I do realise there is nothing wrong with playing in a different tuning to my guitarists as long as I'm hitting all the right notes - and I did consider this for some time, though I have realise it just wouldnt be practical for the style of music me play. The riffs can be quite technical and intricate with the 'chugged' parts (the palm muted low notes on the guitar) usually being an open C so to jump from the open C inbetween fast paced runs can get quite complicated and as a result I'd rather have my bass in CFA#D#G# - if I dont have my bass set up but the C doesnt feel too much tighter than it would as a B , am I alright to leave the bass as it is?
  8. MikeT


    Jul 10, 2005
    Peoria, Arizona
    I have been tuning my 5501 up a half step since Dec, and I haven't had any problems since. I had to setup my bass of course, but after that it was fine. I initially had regular guage prosteels on it, but switched to light guage lakland steels a couple months ago, and I like them better for tuning up. They have the same b as the regular sets, but the rest of the strings are lighter, and I actually like the tighter feel of the b tuned up better than in a standard tuning.
    I like your band a lot by the way. Very cool.

Share This Page