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Tuning to 'D' standard

Discussion in 'Strings [BG]' started by Vintagefiend, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Vintagefiend

    Vintagefiend I don't care for 410 cabinets at all.

    Aug 6, 2013
    Columbia, MO
    We've been tuning down a half step for a while now. I'm exclusively flatwound. I have TIs on my main P-bass, Chromes on the backups, and LaBella DTFs on my Bass VIs, all standard gauges.

    My guitarist/singer is wanting to go all the way down to D. My strings are already floppy and loose. I'm looking at moving up a gauge. Any recommendations/experiences anyone cares to share in re: to tuning down??
  2. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    D standard isn't bad. I use 45-105 for that, but I don't mind lighter tension. You might find that you prefer a 110 or 115 on the low D. Luckily the decrease in tension will help the bigger strings to not feel too difficult to play... just pay attention to your action, as you'll likely need to make an adjustment with the new strings and tunings. With bigger, tighter strings you should be able to get action lower. May need an intonation adjustment as well.

    I wish I could recommend sets to try out but I've mainly only played rounds.
  3. Hamlet7768

    Hamlet7768 Here to chew gum and rock. Still have gum.

    Jun 5, 2011
    For the brief period that my band tuned to D standard, I actually preferred it with a 45-105 set of steel strings, as the tension on them was so great tuning the E down to D alone made things much easier. I'd recommend moving up a gauge, though I'm not sure if you can do much about the TI's, since they only come in one gauge if my memory is correct.
  4. Dave Siff

    Dave Siff Supporting Member

    I tuned DGCF for years and used La Bella's M70 set, which is made specifically for that tuning. Gauges are .054-.075-.090-.111. They're roundwounds, but that should give you an idea for gauges. My basses didn't require any neck or action adjustments when switching to these strings from a lighter-gauge, standard-tuned set.
  5. DuShauh


    Aug 29, 2011
    West Michigan
    I have found tuning a "traditional" B to D works quite well, for me. I use GHS Precision flats. Although I have heard others claim that the tension would be "dangerously high", the GHS tension chart, and my own experience doing it , tells me that it is actually perfect for D standard tuning. Not everyone prefers balanced, though admittedly higher tension. But it is an option, a better option IME.
  6. thorper


    Jul 11, 2011
    I use 45-107 (daddario balanced) strings tuned down to C standard. I had to adjust my truss rod and soften my touch. Floppy but I love it.
  7. Abner


    Jan 2, 2011
    I tune all my basses to D standard now, and mostly flats for me, too. I do have a set of TI Jazz flats on a fretless, and they are kind loose, but then I think they work for that bass (used to have light-gauge rounds on it tuned to E for years, don't think there's much difference in tension between the two).

    But for "real" flatwounds, I have to say my favourites would be GHS Precision flats, the set with the .055 G string. (I guess that would be the F string for us.)

    Rotosound flats are higher tension for comparable gauge, and I was not terribly fond of them — until I tried them on my Roadstar. It's like they were made for each other.

    Also have a set of LaBella "Jamerson" flats I am going to try on my Musician (currrently with the GHS flats), but I can't comment yet. They should certainly have enough tension even at D.

    There's also the Ernie Ball Flats, they make a set with a .110 E string. (I've been meaning to try that with the A, D and G strings from the GHS set.)

    And Webstrings Detroit flats? They also have a set from .110.

    I guess the bottom line is, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a set of flats with more than enough tension tuned down to D.

    Oh... I've also tried the regular LaBella Deep Talkin' flats and Sadowsky Black Label flats (both the heaviest gauges), and found them to have more than enough tension, just not the sound I was looking for at the time.

    Good luck.

  8. IPA


    May 5, 2010
    I always found D to be terrible sounding with TI flats, sounded like a lot of noise. Too flubby. Chromes however worked well.
  9. Vintagefiend

    Vintagefiend I don't care for 410 cabinets at all.

    Aug 6, 2013
    Columbia, MO
    Nice. Thanks for the tips.
  10. MTBK


    Sep 11, 2013
    I play in D with standard gauge strings. The thing is I play with heavy fuzz so extra noise from lose strings hitting the frets isn't exactly unwelcome. They don't really buzz though. The action will still need adjustment. You can't get too low of an action unless you get fatter strings. When I tried it I felt the low D string being the next size up was too fat for me. And the tone was too crisp.

    I also run a vintage modified P with flats in D as well. Sounds really cool. Forgot what brand the strings are though. Most stores only ever carry one set so it's not like I get a choice anyways. :/
  11. Bodeeni

    Bodeeni Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2010
    I am running the Chromes 50-105 tuned to D and they are still pretty firm on my PJ.
  12. miles'tone


    Feb 26, 2008
    Wales, U.K
    Pino uses the Jamerson Labellas tuned to D natural on one of his old P's.
  13. My band plays everything in D standard and I use Rotosound Nickel strings. I find this gauge mix works very well for tuning down one step.