What brand of 4 string bass is best for drop "D" tuning

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by kris pung, Jul 26, 2003.

  1. kris pung

    kris pung

    Jul 25, 2003
    Chicago, IL
    I'm realitive beginner in the bass game, so i was wondering what bass players feel is the best 4 string bass for drop "D" tuning or a full step down tuning.
  2. I'd guess a 35 inch scale..so the D string would stay nice and tight...

    or string thru

    Good luck,hope I helped

  3. Hey Kris, my main bass is a 4-string tuned DGCF. It has a rockwood neck, which helps, but I did two things which I think would help with drop-tuning on any bass: I'm using a .107 E string, and I put a little more relief in the neck. YMMV on neck relief, but I dig in hard and found that with a straight neck and lower tuning, I was getting too much buzz/rattle for my taste on the first 7 frets.
  4. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
  5. it also depends on how the construction is. Some mexi fenders I've played sounded and felt nice in drop D, while others seemed to fail. It's all a matter of preference. I'm assuming you wanna find a bass that has good tension and clarity. definitely gotta agree with the find a 35' scale or strung through body.
  6. I'd say any brand 4 string with a stable neck, accurate tuners, and workable truss rod will be good for drop D.
  7. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I've gotta ask this question; Why don't these people just play a 5 or 6 string instead
    of going thru the hassle of scordatura ?

    It seems much easier to have a bass that was built to play those notes..

    I can never make sense of why people do this !
  8. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    My completely subjective take is from the observation that a E string tuned to D sounds better to some ears than a fretted D on a B string. I personally play 5 and 6 string by default, but I've done the detuned thing in the past. Some patterns just lay easier on a detuned bass, which makes fingering more natural and efficient than it would be on a standard ERB.

    In my limited experience in the musical styles that ask for detuning, the vocals often call for it, and it's an unfortunate truth that other musicians will get confused if you aren't playing the exact thing they are on the neck. This is a consideration if they are playing drop-tune guitars and you're playing standard tuning ERB.
  9. I tuned my bass DGCF for a band I was in last year -- all the songs were in that tuning. My current band has some songs in drop-D, and I just went ahead and learned all the tunes on my DGCF bass. There's a couple of tunes that require an open low E, so I play those on my other bass. I could go to a 5 and play everything on the same bass, but I just prefer 4-string. I've tried 5s and 6s and they're simply not for me. Plus, I have no cash!
  10. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Or, why would people get a 5 string to play a lowD if they just need a 4 string tuned in D ?
    Makes just as much sense to me.
    It's called taste.
  11. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    I do not think it is called "taste." It is called using the proper tool for the job.

    I can see if you want to retune the whole instrument (dgcf) but other than that it makes little sense when
    you can just get the right tool for the job.
  12. I think thats a little closed minded. There are many different reasons and opinions for tuning..hell I mess with the tuning on my 5 strings does that mean I dont have the right tools? I think not.
  13. Darth_Linux


    Oct 12, 2002
    Spokane, WA
    I'd rather spend a $100 on a hipshot and get a quick drop D than buy a second bass just for a couple of extra notes that aren't used too often in the type of music I play.
  14. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    You guys can think whatever you like. I can think what I like and I think it's silly.
  15. Darth_Linux


    Oct 12, 2002
    Spokane, WA
    those of us with less disposable income than you cannot "just get the right tool for the job." We have to work with what we got, and drop-d tuning saved me $500 by not having to buy a second bass. You call that silly, I call that wise . . .
  16. 20db pad

    20db pad

    Feb 11, 2003
    I been everywhere, man...
    None. At all.
    I've been fortunate enough to play live and record with both a detuned four and and a 6 in standard tuning while the guitarists played D or C# tuning. Both options have their pros and cons and are equally valid artistically, IMO.
  17. pistoleroace


    Sep 13, 2002
    Kris Pung

    I agree with Captain Scarlet. I will add that by using a .105 gauge E-string, you will have more tension without the E-string getting too floppy.


    As you mentioned, everyone has their opinion. You however don't have to tell people that they are "silly" for detuning their E-string down to D. I have and play two 5-string basses and a couple of 4-string basses with a Hipshot detuner on each. There are times were a certain song requires that you use a 4-string with drop D tuning because the song was written that way and would sometimes make it hard if not impossible to play on a 5-string. I could name a few songs as examples but depending on your age you may not have heard of some of them. I also agree with the post from 20 db pad.

    It is great to express opinions but there is no need for flaming.

  18. Tim Cole

    Tim Cole

    Jun 12, 2002
    Findlay, Ohio
    Don, with all due respect: After 10 years of almost exclusive 5 string playing, I am back to 4 only, and feel 1000 pounds lighter.

    I have shorter fingers, so a wider neck hinders my ability on left hand fretting, and I also do a lot of right hand thumping. So in order to get something half comfortable on my left hand, the string spacing gets very narrow, and a pain for my right hand.

    Another reason for me is, the downtuned (Sub-D) thing has been done to death, I am done with it. There are other perks of a low b string, such as having notes availble in more places on the neck, but honestly.....I don't mind ripping up and down the fretboard anyway.

    Back when I started on 5, it was kind of a novelty thing, but has almost grown to be standard nowadays. That has virtually no bearing on my going back to 4's only, but still......

    To make short of it, I am simply much more comfortable on a 4, and the clumsiness of the extra string, cramped up fingerboard and such isn't worth the trade off for the few perks. Plus, it only takes about 1 second to change from E-D if you have a good ear.
  19. Aaron


    Jun 2, 2001
    Bellingham, WA
    An X-factor probably has the best drop-D tuning design around. To describe it, tt is a headless bass that has an extended fingerboard beyond the nut( i guess you could call it the headstock) just for the e-string.
  20. By-Tor


    Apr 13, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    You beat me to it PortraitofTracy. The Kubicki Ex-Factor Bass is the simplist way to go from E to D.
    Go here for more details: http://www.kubicki.com/
    Here is what the web site says: If you like to "D" tune your "E" string almost instantaneously, without changing string tension and not having to transpose, then the Ex Factor is your only choice.The Ex Factor extended string bass and Factor 4 got its name from ergonomics, the study of the relationship between people and their working environment. Also known as Human Factors, this science was the foundation for the engineering parameters and the inspiration for the name.

    The Ex Factor 4 string bass has a 32" scale and allows the "E" string to be released to a longer "D" length of 36".