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tuning back and fourth between half a step down and standard

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by PeaveyPlayer, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. PeaveyPlayer

    PeaveyPlayer Supporting Member

    Jul 15, 2014
    Winnipeg, Manitoba
    i'm tuning back and fourth between half a step down and standard for different groups

    is that ok on the neck to go back and fourth?
    Bassist Jay likes this.
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    I did it all the time in the late 90s and early 2000s when I was in 5 bands at the same time. The basses never seemed to suffer for it.
    pjbassist likes this.
  3. ScottfromCalgary


    May 10, 2015
    I do this regularly with no issues at all
  4. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Central FL
    Of course it’s ok. Now stop being OCD and go play. :laugh: :bassist:
  5. Back & forth half a step should not hurt anything, unless your neck relief is right on the edge...
    A full step or three half steps, now that would be difficult to set the bass up for optimum playability in both extremes.

    If you're not getting fret buzz when downtuned half a step, you're golden.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017
    Lvjoebass and gebass6 like this.
  6. jeff62

    jeff62 Supporting Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    Central FL
    Even if he is getting fret buzz it’s ok. He might have a setup that is superb in standard (with little or no buzz) and tuning down causes a bit of buzz - depends largely on how much you dig in. There is no technical problem with that. That typically is more of a “we can feel it” even though it doesn’t affect our sound.

    I’m elaborating because the OP, based on the question, appears to either be unfamiliar with setups or more newbie-like with what I consider to be an over-concern for the effect on the neck. Playing with his tuning as described is not something to worry about under any situation, even if his setup is not ideal.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
    pjbassist likes this.
  7. sunbeast

    sunbeast Supporting Member

    Jul 19, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    As mentioned, you won't be able to retain an "ideal" setup that will work with both tunings unless you have a carbon-fiber or reinforced neck, but you aren't gonna damage a decent neck at all by changing the tuning often.
  8. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    No issues, I do it often.
  9. DavC

    DavC Supporting Member

    May 17, 2005
    Tallmadge , Ohio
    seems like you'd need a 'happy medium ' compromise of - string gauge / setup

    shouldn't hurt anything ...
  10. This being TB, you’ll clearly want another bass for the different tuning. Probably another amp and some pedals too. Not to mention cabinets that can handle the lower frequencies... and a tort pick guard... and...

  11. dcbassist5

    dcbassist5 Supporting Member

    May 11, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Endorsing Artist: Ashdown, Lakland
    It’s prob not going to hurt anything but if you really want to do it proper then you may want to use different string gauges based upon tuning.
  12. I regularly change from half a step down, to standard, then either a half or full step up from standard on the 5th string with no issues at all. That's the amazing thing about wood, it's not crepe paper :p
  13. Plectrum72

    Plectrum72 Supporting Member

    Digitech drop - down tune a half step with a stomp. Yes, I'm that lazy sometimes.
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    use 2 basses ... or get a 5 string ... or tune DGCF
  15. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Used to all the time. Got sick of it and bought more basses
    Caca de Kick and CapnSev like this.
  16. Volunteerk9


    Oct 20, 2015
    How are they a full step down? Ive been pondering on a Drop for a while - some like the pedal and some don't.
  17. Killens84

    Killens84 Gold Supporting Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    I have two of the same bass, so that I can keep one in standard and one in half step. The only differences between the two are the color and wood combinations. On the standard bass, I use 40-100 DR Nickel Lo-Riders. On the half step bass, I use 45-105 DR Nickel Lo-Riders. That makes them closer to the same tension.

    I like this much better than going back and forth on the same bass. It ensures that I can always keep the setup and intonation spot on.
  18. Eric ER

    Eric ER

    Mar 22, 2015
    Seattle, wa
    Previous: Dusty Strings harp/dulcimer building

    If it’s hard on anything, it would be the strings at the tuners, but even that’s a stretch;)

    It’s also a good excuse to have two good basses ready to go. It’s always nice to justify gear acquisition.
    Lvjoebass likes this.
  19. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    You should always have and take at least 2 basses to any gig
    12BitSlab likes this.
  20. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    With the cost of strings nowadays, it's false economy to try to get by with one bass, but then keep wearing the strings out with all that pesky drop-tuning. MUCH better to have a separate bass for each tuning - then all of your strings will remain considerably more pristine... ;)

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