Tuning to D Standard Downsides?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Bass'd on a true story, Apr 12, 2019.

  1. Bass'd on a true story

    Bass'd on a true story

    Jun 28, 2015
    Hey guys,

    I'm debating setting up my only instrument to D standard. I just really want the Eb that comes with that tuning (and don't wanna do Eb standard, because it's just too confusing for me mentally). My question is this: will tuning in D standard significantly compromise my intonation?

    The reason I'm asking this, is because when I tune my bass to that tuning at the moment (without setting it up), it messes up the intonation noticeably. I'm not the fastest in the world at setting up instruments, so I thought I'd ask you guys what you think before diving into that.

    Also, I'm using TI Jazz Flats at the moment on a 34" scale Fender-style (Warmoth/USA customs) bass.

  2. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    I've been using TI Jazz Flats for years. For drop tunings, your strings will be floppy. One of my bands plays in Eb tuning, and that is pushing the limits of the strings, in my opinion. You might get better results with a slightly higher tension set of strings.
    admh1972, Beej, happycamper and 5 others like this.
  3. Bass'd on a true story

    Bass'd on a true story

    Jun 28, 2015
    Are there relatively standard sized string that this can easily be done with? I just had this nut filed and I don't wanna have to make an enormous adjustment to be able to do this.
  4. FloridaTim


    May 29, 2013
    Kissimmee, FL
    I played in a band for a year that tuned down to D. DR DDT's worked great on my Fender P.
    Beej, SunnBass, scuzzy and 7 others like this.
  5. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    You shouldn't need to file the nut if you install normal tension strings. You will probably need to check the intonation, and you might need to adjust the truss rod and bridge saddles as well.

    Somewhere on talkbass I think I've seen a comparison of different brand strings sorted by tension. I'll post back if I can find the link. :)

    TI Jazz Flats are toward the lower tension end of the spectrum. That's part of why I love them so much! (For standard tuning.)
  6. Bass'd on a true story

    Bass'd on a true story

    Jun 28, 2015
    I've had TIs on my main player for a few years now. It's hard to let go, but I guess I gotta evolve! I think Chromes are somewhat abnormally high tension. Maybe I'll give those a shot.
    clockworkcorpse likes this.
  7. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    One tip I can can give you from experience, is to try picking/plucking a bit closer to the bridge than you usually do, and with a slightly lighter touch. Turn up your amp a bit to compensate. This can help compensate for the lower tension of the drop tuning. I totally agree with you about the TI's being great strings. :)
  8. You'll have to perform a new setup - relief, intonation, but you might not have reset your action height. String manufactures weren't making drop sets back then so I was using a custom string set 50/70,90,110 (a 115 would have been a little beefier) which was fine for me being I like somewhat looser strings. You might need to file the nut slightly depending on which gauges you use. I got tired of trying to transpose DGCF tuning on the fretboard, so I just said the heck with it a went all out, and am now a happy camper with BEAD tuning which I found to be much easier of a change.

    Good luck.
  9. Bass'd on a true story

    Bass'd on a true story

    Jun 28, 2015
    Is the BEAD bass your only bass and/or do you ever miss the G when playing on it?
  10. I've got 5 basses, two 5ers, and three 4-strings. My fave 4 is setup in BEAD, and the others are E standard. It's a trade-off with either having an low B or G, and really depends on your own preferences. For me, having a low B is more important, and has replaced my 5ers being I'm much happier play on a 4-string than a 5er.
  11. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef is modulating in time. Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    I play TI flats primarily and have been for more than 15 years. I started a cover band recently to make some side cash and the singer likes us to tune down a step for his vocal range, and I found out right away the TIs are no good for that. Even tuned just a 1/2 step down in Eb standard, the TIs are still too floppy for me. I tried out a few different sets of strings and I found that the LaBella 760FL set tuned to D standard have a very close feel tension-wise to TIs tuned to E standard. I highly recommend you try them out, I think you’ll agree. The LaBellas have different tone than TIs, but I love the sound of them, especially on a P bass. They aren’t as midrangey as TIs, but still cut thru the mix well IME. And yes, you will need to re-inotnate when tuning down a whole step, but you will need to anyways if you go to a different set of strings.
  12. Bass'd on a true story

    Bass'd on a true story

    Jun 28, 2015
    Awesome. I have an old set of LaBellas on my only other bass that I don't gig any more. They sound great. However, I just tried to put a random 105 gauge string in the nut slot for my E string and it wouldn't fit. I'm gonna have to file it to change to thicker strings. Bummer. Oh well, it's gotta happen I guess!
  13. No issue. My bass has been at Eb Ab Db Gb for 10 years and I’ve had no issues. Just set the bass up and roll. For strings I found TI too low tension. GHS precision flats are similar (45 60 75 95) and offer more tension. Pretty sure labella and chromes and others are similar sizes too.
  14. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef is modulating in time. Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    The 760FLs are .043-.104 so yeah, you’ll probably have to file the nut slots on at least the E & A, maybe D too if you go with them.
  15. Bass'd on a true story

    Bass'd on a true story

    Jun 28, 2015
    If I'm going to be trading in strings anyways, do any of you guys have suggestions for flats that have more bottom end than TIs? LaBellas definitely do, but what else is popular that's more low end heavy. I'm leaning towards something that has more low end across all of the strings, not just the low E/A.
  16. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru..........

    Apr 11, 2006
    Out there!
    Not IME, but then, I have always used their Super Soft set and replaced the .060 D with a .055 single. On normal scale basses they felt just a little tighter than TI JFs so that may work well for you in drop D.

    Currently, I have JFs on two of my basses, one with a 33.25" (4 string) scale, the other a 34.5"(5 string), both feel great, to me.
  17. Charlzm

    Charlzm Guest

    Mar 25, 2011
    I just put together a parts bass. When I assembled it, I put a detuner on the E string so I could drop to D on that one string only and not have to deal with anything else. Works beautifully.
    LowActionHero likes this.
  18. Bass'd on a true story

    Bass'd on a true story

    Jun 28, 2015
    I actually have a Hipshot D-tuner on this bass. The issue is that the singer in my band recently decided to step down every single song we play out of concern that he's straining his voice. I don't have a problem with that, but relearning 100+ songs in drop D is a lot harder than just tuning my bass to D standard. If it was just a single tune, I'd definitely just slap it down on the E, but I learn songs pretty slowly and it's a lot of material to transpose!
    LowActionHero and Charlzm like this.
  19. almost anything, TI are anemic in the lows. GHS Precision flats are very low and mid heavy thick sounding string. Labella low and low mid then some mid/hi mid scoop.
  20. Bruiser Stone

    Bruiser Stone Supporting Member

    Dec 7, 2017
    Dayton, Tennessee
    I’m resolving to stick with my TI’s for standard tuning, but I’m keeping my set of Jamersons just for C#/D. As big as they are, to me they feel and sound great in this range with a little more present mids and a better defined E string while still sounding like La Bella.

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