Tuning down a full step to D

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Kevinmach, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. Kevinmach


    Dec 7, 2008
    We are going to be playing some Rush covers for fun, and I can simply not sing Geddy's vocals when tuned to E. (I have a decent voice, but I am not really a singer)

    Dropping a half step, I can probably hit 75% of his high vocal notes.

    If we go down a full step, to D.... I can probably hit 90% of the vocals and fake my way thru the rest (or modify them slightly if it sounds bad).

    The only problem is, my strings are really loose and sloppy when tuned to D. Lots of fret buzz and noise on the lower strings unless I am really careful about my playing (i.e. I can't get too enthusiastic or it almost sounds like I am slapping).

    I was thinking of lowering the pick up a little nearestthe lower strings, hoping it might "pick up" a little less, but I doubt it will help much.

    Does anyone else playing in D much and face problems similar to this one? Or should I just try to force E flat (1/2 step down). I noticed even not going down that extra half step makes a difference. Or is the suggestion just to learn how to play control this change via my playing technique.

    I am guessing it's going to be a combination of those things, but any suggestions are welcome.

  2. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I will keep collecting until I have 40 basses
    I play a 5 so lower notes is not a problem for me ... but if I still played a 4 I would tune it DGCF ...
  3. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    Maybe raise your bridge saddles a bit?
    I keep my Spector tuned DGCF, and I had to raise the saddles, and redo intonation. That worked for me...
  4. Bob C

    Bob C

    Mar 26, 2000
    Duluth, MN

    Lots of bands tune down to E flat, and some tune down to D, so it can be done. You definitely need the proper bass setup do achieve satisfactory results.

    You'll probably want to use as heavy a string guage as possible -- like a .050 - .115. Or borrow from a 5-string set, if you have to.

    You MIGHT have to raise the action a bit. Maybe not though. Also, flat wound strings will generally give you more tension and less fret buzz. They might not give you the Geddy sound though.

    I personally knew of a band that reportedly tuned down a step and a half. That's floppy! But they sounded fine out front.

    I have a pretty low singing voice, and sometimes I change the song's key. But lots of songs just aren't for me. I don't know which Rush songs you're planning to do, but the old ones are scream city. Geddy's "new" voice is medium high, but very comfortable sounding.

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