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Tuning half-tone down?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by fendersurfer, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. fendersurfer


    Apr 10, 2013
    I will have the chance to play with a new band. The singer sings low, and all guitar players tune their axes down a half step. Now I am purist, with both my Fender Precision and my Warwick Corvette, love E-A-D-G period.
    Some bands love the deeper sound and the guitars and basses sound clankier. Also the singer doesn't have to climb as high.

    I think, as bass has a lot of tension, I might lose my setup. And maybe even further wood, nitro laquer or screw-connections etc. might suffer.

    Thanks for ideas on that. I don't think I can skip going down half-tone if I want to play in this band, but worries are there.

    I could maybe tune down the Warwick and leave it, use E-A-D-G on the Fender for my other band projects.
  2. I don't think I understand your question, what are you asking? If you're asking if down-tuning will hurt your instrument, absolutely not. A half-step change probably wouldn't really *need* a setup, but learn how to setup your own instruments and that's never a concern you'll have anymore.

    I found these videos extremely helpful. Bridge saddly adjustments are the kind of thing you can just kind of muddle through, but truss rod adjustment should be done right. It's all very easy, I promise you. You'll need a feeler gauge, a capo and a small metal ruler.
  3. fendersurfer


    Apr 10, 2013
    Correct, it's more the concern about the wear and tear of my instruments, tuning down and up all the time (between bands), not only Drop-D but all strings down and back up again. Cracking lacquer, maybe wood softening, screw loosening (in my head :-D),....
  4. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    If you tune it down half a step, you'll not create tension, but loosen it - and afterwards you go back to normal.
    You could omit this by getting a fresh set of strings, maybe a little heavier than you play normally and put them on the Warwick which will then stay like that.
    Or simply use a fivestring and be done with droptuning issues for good.
    (well, at least until you join a deathmetal band with 8string guitars droptuned to F#).
  5. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    why do you have to tune down to match the guitars. Just learn the songs in standard tuning. I play In drop d and the rest of the band plays in standard eadgbe. We still sound pretty good even with different tunings.
  6. Or, you could just use a different bass.

    Or, you could just play everything 1/2 step down.

    It's not going to hurt your bass, but you do have more options than just choosing between tuning down or not playing with this band.
  7. My current band is tuning half a step down, so I had to adjust to that. I am going back and forth between that tuning and a standard tuning quite often.

    In my case no adjustments were necessary. The different in tension was not that big with my strings of choice and the intonation is not 100% spot on but it is still within acceptable limits and I have checked this with a very detailed strobo-tuner.

    So unless your bass feels like a different instrument when you tune down, don't worry about it.
  8. It sounds more like you have an issue tuning out of your comfort zone, or look down on other tunings. I was sorta like that, but a band I played in played D standard, so I tried it out. I loved it, just something about the lower tension just made it more comfortable to play, and now-a-days its rare that either of my basses are tuned E standard, my 4 and 6 strings.
  9. The difference in tension and feel won't be very noticeable between E Standard and Eb Standard. My current 4 banger is set up for E standard, but behaves very well in Drop C (CGCF) with the current project I am working with.

  10. fendersurfer


    Apr 10, 2013
    So here is my experience with the rehearsal. I tuned down my more new-school bass, so I can play my more old-school bass with my blues-rock project. Tuning down was no problem, even with a small tuner. Even playing was almost the same even with pick. I will leave my 2nd bass with this tuning, sound great and the band loved it.
  11. Matthew_84


    Nov 7, 2010
  12. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    the band in standard and you in drop d is in a way still relatively the same, you just add some extra range. but if your in a band in Eb and you stay in standard it could really be a noticeable difference, especially if its a riff oriented band that hits that low Eb a lot. if guitars are chugging on that open Eb and your fretting Eb up higher it really wouldbnt have the same heavy effect.
  13. C'mon, folks - tuning four pegs down not even a quarter turn is NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL!! The OP tried it, he liked it, and he's still not doing some dropped-tune madness that doesn't jive with the rest of the band's setup AND throws his bottom-string scales and intervals off while complicating his riffs against the other members.

    Keep it simple, dudes and dudettes!