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Tuning Down

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by JüiceXIII, Jan 21, 2005.

  1. JüiceXIII


    Jan 17, 2005
    i have been playing bass for a couple of months now and some songs i play i have noticed say, 'tune down a half-step', and i was just wondering if anybody could please tell me what it means and how you do this. thanks.
  2. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    It means that you lower the tuning of all four (or five) strings down "one half" a step (ie one semitone) so your E become Eb etc.
  3. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    And the more you tune down the more metal you are.

    brad cook

  4. Yup. Fieldy plays low A. Totally metal. ;)
  5. I always thought lower meant angrier.
  6. No, Lower means cookie monster.
  7. You called?
  8. ;)
  9. tucker

    tucker Guest

    Jan 21, 2001
    North Carolina
    why does lower have to be metal, angry, hardcore. Can't it just be music. Listen to Davis schools, greatr bassistwith good low end, and lel calypool, although he use alot high and mids. but regarless nice low end on their songs. It makes the music have a foundation. tuning lower is good but problem with most people, 'specially kids, they believe the lower the music the harder it is. low end music is good, think of the bass its bass clef, think of alto or treble clef.....lower music can be flatted to make a more dissonant, outside feel.
  10. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    Originally, tuning down may have been intiated by guitarists.

    For instance, I've heard that Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath liked the fat distorted tone he could achieve when tuning his electric guitar lower.

    So Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler may have tuned down in response to Iommi.
  11. bste9


    Jun 15, 2000
    St. Louis
    lower isnt always metal, check out Interpol. They tune in drop-D and are far from metal.
  12. dubstyle5000

    dubstyle5000 Guest

    Jan 24, 2005
    Milwaukee, WI
    So if you tune downa half-step, do you play an A on the 6th fret of the E string?
  13. SirPoonga


    Jan 18, 2005
    Weezer - My Name is Jonas is down a half step. Not really metal now, is it.
  14. Dincrest


    Sep 27, 2004
    New Jersey
    I'm not sure if that's quite true. I was always under the impression that he downtuned for the following reason: The day before he was to quit his factory job and roll with Sabbath full time, two of his fingertips got mauled in a machine and in order for him to play guitar comfortably, he had to downtune so that the strings would be floppier/lower tension so he could play more comfortably with his mauled fingers.

    So it was a blessing in disguise that Iommi's fingers got mauled, because that drop tuning gave Black Sabbath that doomy, heavy sound. The intro to Iron Man still sounds like a lumbering elephant or something to me.

    And I don't buy the whole "drop tuning= OMG METAL!" thing. After all, many musicians in all genres of music play 5-string basses which have drop tunings (i.e. drop-D) pretty much built in. Many folks here on TalkBass play praise and gospel music and utilize their low B strings quite a bit.
  15. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass ****

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    I wonder what the guys and girls on the DB side would say about this?
  16. metalguy2


    Dec 26, 2004
    The Mudvayne bassplayer tunes G and the guitar player tunes D.
  17. Some bands tune down because it's tough for the singer to sing high. When a band tune a 1/2 step down, it doesn't make a big difference in heaviness between standard tuning and this... but it makes a difference for the singer. For example in my band, the signer sometimes asks us to tune down a little bit, for that.
    And the dropped-D tuning is for the guitarists, to make power-chords easier by simply putting one finger on the last three strings, so they can make power-chords melodies with more speed... and the bass follows.
    But i do think the metal bands who drop themselves a lot (slayer, slipknot, etc.) is for a heavier sound. It's true, a lowest sound is more intense.