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Tuning Down Issue

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by P.Niggz, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. P.Niggz


    Apr 12, 2009
    Hey All,

    So my bands just gone back into the rehearsal room to write some new material and the guitarists being guitarists have decided they want to tune down a semi tone, meaning we'd play in Drop C!

    Currently I own Musicman Stingray 5 and send that through a 200watt Hiwatt head with a Hiwatt 1x15 and 4x10. I'm loving the sound, the clarity is amazing and I get a real nice low end which sits perfectly underneath the quite harsh sounding guitars.

    My problem is now though that the Hiwatt just about plays the low G sharp in which my B string is drop downed to, its the only amp I've ever played that doesn't seem to spazz out, its not the clearest of notes obviously but I just get a real bass-ey note which is all I need it for as its more of a feel thing when you're playing notes that low.

    As they are wanting to tune down further I would be then tuning my B String down to a G. Nightmare! Apart from the fact I'm gonna have massive problems with the slackness of the a string (but I think I have a remedy for that...), i think my amp just won't take a note that low, and I'll be damned if I'm going back to that spazzy sound.

    So i've been thinking of building a new Cab, with a bigger speaker. Although I'm not sure what size... I'm not 100% sure even an 18inch speaker would really play a note that low. Does anyone have any suggestions at all... apart from trying to knock sense into my guitarists :)

    Any help will be appreciated! :hyper:

    - Paul
  2. Hugh9191


    Feb 20, 2009
    How do you eq it?
  3. P.Niggz


    Apr 12, 2009
    Do you mean my amp?

    My general EQ settings, from None to Full are...

    Bass 3/4 up
    Mid Just under half
    High Just above half

    - Paul
  4. Hugh9191


    Feb 20, 2009
    That could be the problem. EQing it like that will sound good on it's own but when you need to cut through in a band situation it won't happen and you will keep pushing the volume.

    At your next practice try putting everything to flat (generally half way up) and then make minor adjustments. Remember mids help you to cut through so don't cut them too much.
  5. P.Niggz


    Apr 12, 2009
    I've got practise today although I presume we'll be playing in drop Csharp coz I don't have the strings to play that low yet... but i'll see if it makes must difference to my low G sharp. I just found that when I boosted the mids up anymore than that I tended to get quite a woody sound which I didn't like... I prefer just sitting underneath to be honest... but I guess i'll have to make a compromise somewhere :D
  6. Hugh9191


    Feb 20, 2009
    You'll probably find that you don't need to turn up as much to be heard. You may find that you get a sound your happy with with only minor adjustments of the EQ.

    Also if the guitarists have lots of bass on their tone see if they will drop the bass on their amps down so your not all fighting for the same place in the mix.
  7. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    How does tuning down a semitone result in being in "drop C"?

    Assuming you are playing a 5-string (which you reference to your low B string suggests) and your guitarists are playing in "drop C," why do you need to retune? You have a low C available on your B string in standard tuning.
  8. P.Niggz


    Apr 12, 2009
    I like to play in Drop Csharp with an added low Gsharp, and the I play riffs do require some open chugs in quite complex rhythms which are obviously easier to play if I just tune down and use an open string.
  9. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
  10. knuckle_head

    knuckle_head Commercial User

    Jul 30, 2002
    Owner; Knuckle Guitar Works & Circle K Strings
    String choice will be tough but will solve alot of your issues - it will give you definition from the bass that is paramount to doing something sonically useful.

    Your amp is fine - it's the speaker choice once you've nailed down the string thing.

    The G you are after is roughly 24 Hz - you want a speaker that is solid at 45 to 48 Hz. The size of the driver is immaterial - the tuning of the box and the match between driver and cabinet is paramount.

    Take a read through this (these) thread(s); http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=532596

    ....and consider a high pass filter that lops off around 40-45 Hz - it sounds crazy, but most any cabinet you can buy doesn't go that low anyway and will allow your amp more efficiency than it likely currently enjoys.

    .....my $.02
  11. Paul,

    the trouble with drop tunings for bass is that very few cabinets if any were designed for that concept. Some of them have trouble with a B let alone anything lower. The heaviest gauge strings you can find can help to produce a reasonable tone with that amount of slackness.

    High pass filters will just cut the tone of your lower notes even more than your cabinet already is thus making matters worse.

    Using the amount of bass boost that you are using will add to your cabinets woes. Try your bass control flat and cut mids and treble to get back to the sound you're looking for.

    Bottom line, as I see it, is look around for cabinets that can produce lows cleanly Just because a cab has a 15 or an 18 doesn't mean it can do that for you so try everything.

    Another Paul

    P.S. My old blues band tuned this way and my Acmes had no trouble whatsoever. I play sixes so I set up one of them for that tuning using Elixr medium strings and it sounded great. P
  12. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Have you talked to the guitar players and explained that you have basically hit the limits of the practical bass technology? Yes, there are cabs that can go lower but you are starting to get into very expensive equipment, and it will sound terrible through an average PA?
  13. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Nope. Properly used, high-pass minimizes the chance of overexcursion below what's practical for the box to produce anyway, while allowing more low end in the practical range. Also keeps amps from wasting power in a range that's not reproduced acoustically to any great extent anyway.
  14. I would think that 4x10+15 would be fine for this, with the amp power maybe being the limiting factor. You're not going to get frequencies lower than you already are, but if cabs that give up above or around 60 Hz are fine now, they're fine when you tune down too. As long as you're not clipping due to the increased low-end (not boosting the bass will help): full steam ahead. Anything fancier is just going to be icing. Of course you're anal about your rig (who isn't), but you can get a lot done with a standard setup.

    And then consider building a fEarful when you have the cash, since you're thinking about a build anyway. It's on my to-do list.

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