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What do you do when your guitarist tune his guitar down?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by Richard Sabines, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. Richard Sabines

    Richard Sabines

    Sep 25, 2007
    What do you do when your guitarist tune his guitar down?

    Do you tune down also o just with the same standard tuning you play the notes? How does it affect tuning down the bass?
  2. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Supporting Member

    When you tune your bass down, you slacken the strings, which results in the neck flattening out a bit. You'll get more fret noise if you do this, but with a little finesse in technique you should be okay.

    If it were me, I'd tune down with him. You'll enjoy the lower notes you couldn't get before. If possible, I'd have a separate bass dedicated to the lower tuning, so I could set the truss rod and action just how I wanted it for the different tension (or put a heavier set of strings on the bass in question).
  3. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    get a 5 string and never worry about it ever again!:D
  4. what it you need a low A?

    ex. guitarist has a 7 string and he tunes down
  5. Nick Kay

    Nick Kay

    Jul 26, 2007
    Toronto, Ontario
    That's when you tell the guitarist to give it up and make the switch already - he's got bass envy.
  6. standupright


    Jul 7, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ
    Brownchicken Browncow
    i don't tune down when this happens.
  7. Lucas G

    Lucas G

    Jan 14, 2007
    masury, OH
    depends on what is being tuned down to, i guess. usually folks tune down because the lower tuning fits the genre. even good old drop D- an open detuned D sounds better than playing a D on your A string if heavy is what you're going for.
  8. justincest


    May 1, 2008
    Get a five string, worse case scenario is you only detune the low b to an a. My band that plays in drop a requires me to play in a-e-a-d-g which just follows the guitars. And I only have to detune the low b.
  9. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Supporting Member

    +1. I have a Hipshot Xtender Key on my B tuner for just this purpose.
  10. I'll grab the bass that will work...depending on what he's going down to.

    Thumb 4-string for standard or drop D

    SR400 4 string set-up and tuned for drop C

    SR405 5 string for anything that needs that low B or has fills that would get confusing on a dropped tuning. :meh:

    That said, the guys I jam with are good about making as few changes as we can.
  11. Rune Bivrin

    Rune Bivrin Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2006
    Huddinge, Sweden
    Hand him the TU-2 :bag:
  12. crimson_basser


    Jul 9, 2008
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses

    I play my 5 string in Drop A haha, in the exact situation you just described.
  13. I move position. I don't have alot of basses and like to keep the same tuning. But then my main bass is a 5 string so it's not an issue for me.
  14. JmJ


    Jan 1, 2008
    Usually I correct him if he's calling out changes.
  15. deekay911


    Nov 4, 2007
    Charleston SC
    The guitarist will usually tune down to get easier fingering for whatever you are playing. From that point of view I would say its not necessary to do anything with your bass as it is much easier to move around and transpose when you are playing single notes. Unless you need a low root lower then the E of course..
  16. OK, with all due respect, I have to ask. What difference does it make if the bassist tunes down or not? Is it purely for appearances? I understand needing to get a low A or low D (for 4 string), but unless that's the case, why is this an issue? Just wondering.

    Do your band mates request that you tune down? What is their reasoning?

  17. fretlessman71

    fretlessman71 Supporting Member

    There's a tonal difference between an E string tuned down to D vs. a D played at the 3rd fret on the B string. Also, lots of guitarists write songs in what "feels like" E and A to them, no matter how they're tuned, and if that's the only tuning they use it makes sense (to me) to dedicate a bass to that dropped tuning.

    Black Sabbath tuned down THREE FRETS for several albums in a row - Tony Iommi gets a very distinct sound because of that. A little brighter and somewhat rubbery. Geezer tunes down right along with him for at least one song; that low C# can be very clearly heard on the intro to "Into The Void".
  18. I use all those 'extra' notes on my 5 or 6. Or go high, for contrast. And as always, I look at him like he's an idiot. :)
  19. CapnSev


    Aug 19, 2006
    Coeur d'Alene
    Amen. Smartest thing I ever did.
  20. Nyarlathotep

    Nyarlathotep Banned

    Feb 5, 2006
    West Coast of Canada
    Hehe. Sounds like what happend to me. When you're lowest note is the same as the second lowest on a standard tuned bass, just make the switch ;)

    That said, my 5er is tuned ADGCF :bag:

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