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Tuning BEAD bass to Open C

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by rydin4lifebass, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. I have a bass tuned BEAD but play one song where I'd really like to have an open C string. Am I better off tuning my E all the way down to C or can I safely tune my B up to C? I'm playing Ernie Ball slinky's with a .135 B and a .105 E. Which would be the best way to go here?
  2. Thunder Pulse

    Thunder Pulse

    May 12, 2007
    Definitely tune up the B.
    bassmeknik and Moley13 like this.
  3. Tune up the B string, a half step won't harm anything. Or try putting a capo on the first fret, giving you C, F, Bb, Eb as the open strings and maintains the common interval between strings, this should make riffs easier to play.

    My cover band wanted to do "Slither" in "D" and I play a 5er mostly BEADG. I tried putting a capo on the 3rd fret and it was much easier going back and forth from open low D to the riff pattern than it would have been using standard tuning and no capo. Just for one song, try it. I was not to fond of it but it worked well. The band later dropped Slither due to our singers request, so no more capo for now. I would not hesitate to try it again in the future if it might help me through a song.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2014
  4. Hans Gruber

    Hans Gruber

    Jun 18, 2003
    Los Angeles
    These guys are right. It was the only way for me to sound best with a drop-C guitarist for a session I did. The B to C is just fine.
  5. My present cover band has 2 guitarists both with Line 6 Variaxe's. We change tunings like crazy and all they have to do is push a button. I have to be creative...
  6. I have no idea why I didn't think of a capo. I figured the B to C would be the way to go instead of dropping the E down but figured it couldn't hurt to ask. Thanks fellas!
  7. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    I have a 0.145 C string on one of my basses and it works well. The 0.135 string would be fine, 0.105 is just too light, IMHO.
  8. Thanks again for all the replies fellas. I take it that I could safely tune up a half step across the board (E to F, A to B, etc.)? I wouldn't go past that but I'm curious of the max you would want to tune up. Again, not that I need more than a half step, just curious.
  9. Kragnorak


    Sep 20, 2008
    Don't capos sound kind of crappy on bass? I just drop my E string to D real quick - the poor man's Hipshot tuner ;-)

    For the OP, I find that most basses are pretty forgiving of tuning, although I have a couple where I can't bring the E string down to C without them sounding floppy. Others I can dive around like crazy, but I'm usually dropping strings rather than trying to raise them. Raising creates danger of breakage and too much string tension. If you're just tuning one string then I'd bring the B up to C. If you have the option to use another bass then I recommend my "drop cello" tuning: CGDG. But again that works best when dropping a standard instrument down and you'd have to raise strings too much.

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