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Up tuning?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by miketallica315, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. miketallica315

    miketallica315 Supporting Member

    Aug 16, 2009
    Toledo, OH
    Hello all,
    I recently joined a hard rock band with a good friend of mine. He is so set on playing in drop C tuning. I hate tuning a bass down more than a half step. Trying to be optimistic, I tried an experiment. I took one of my SR5'S that I normally tune low to high B E A D G with regular slinkys and tuned it up... way up. With the same set of strings, I tuned the bass low to high C G C F Bb. I obviously had to adjust the neck but it does work out well. Is this higher tuning going to cause damage to my bass?
  2. Nihilism


    Dec 27, 2011
    You should take it to a tech to set it up that way. And to your question, drop tuning causes more tension to the strings.
  3. :help:
  4. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    it's advisable to use appropriate string gauges for any tuning, so that the tension is roughly even across the neck... so you are currently putting uneven tension on your neck, which can cause twisting.

    you are certainly *risking* causing damage if you leave it like that long-term.

    FWIW, I use this set for drop-C tuning (on a 4-string, obviously!):


    ...you'd want to add a .30 on to that for a 5er.
  5. Mmm. So, the OP would be cranking a .155 B up to a C? Yikes.

    I'd go with light gauge strings (like a .120-125) on a five set up for "up tuning". But actually, I would just play the five the tuned "normally" and re-learn everything. But that's just me, and I ain't the brightest.
  6. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    ah, i wasn't being being clear. i meant the OP would add a .30 string as the highest string on a 5er set. so:


    i tried a few different gauges for the low C and found i liked the .125 best. certainly wouldn't go much heavier than that!

    I also tried using "regular" open B tuning and playing like that (with guitarists in drop C). it was kind of a pain! - then again, the band played fairly fast heavy metal with a lot of riffs jumping off the low C.

    as with all these things, YMMV :)

    EDIT actually you are right, a good compromise might be to tune up a light BEADG set to open C (C F Bb Eb Ab)
  7. SoVeryTired

    SoVeryTired Endorsing nothing, recommending much

    Jul 2, 2011
    Milton Keynes, UK
    In no way.
  8. powmetalbassist

    powmetalbassist Supporting Member

    What about standard tuning and put a Capo across at C effectively fixing all problems of tuning and tension.
  9. cfsporn


    Aug 20, 2011
    New York City
    I am a big fan of cello tuning. On a five string, that would be C0,G0,D1,A2,E2.
  10. spz8


    Jan 19, 2009
    Glen Cove, NY
    Oh boy... :rollno:
  11. Who's the fool who told you that removing tension from the strings would add tension to the strings? :confused:
    Drop tuning does certainly not add tension!
  12. Mark Wilson

    Mark Wilson Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    Endorsing Artist: Elixir® Strings
    I feel this is the best option.
  13. I played with a band for a short time that used that tuning. I just tuned c standard instead of drop c. I used the dr high beams with a .125 b string
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I would just use BEADG ... I know that would frustrate the guitarists ... but heck that is half the fun ... play your bass part without retuning ... Awesome
  15. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    Just remember that if you're dropping tuning, a higher gauge string is preferable if you're keeping it there to have more string tension. The opposite is true for higher tuning. You need to come down on the gauge a little.
  16. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    +1 but I used a .130 B and I tuned C#.

    I did this every gig as the singer couldn't sing Living on a Prayer (Bon Jovi) in E. I really need the open string/octave for that song so I tuned up for one song. I tuned a 4 sting down for a few gigs but even with heavy strings it was floppy.

    If you tune up (or down) but tune it back to 440-ish after a gig/rehearsal, IME no adjustment is required.
  17. I have also tuned a fiver up to C with lighter gauge strings. Talk about a tight Low C! Felt great on a Status Graphite, string action hardly moved...