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Why are TBers so against drop or detuning?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Burlington, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. Explain this to me. Everytime a question is asked about drop or detuning someone has to chime in and say "Buy a 5 string".

    If I could use a 5 string for all of my bands songs, I would. But given the way they are written, and the constant low C between many higher notes in many of my bands songs, it is not possible.

    I'm just curious why so many here seem so high and mighty about the subject.
  2. 62bass


    Apr 3, 2005
    I don't know. I've never given a thought to it and hadn't noticed.
  3. It messes with the feel of the tension of the string. It messes with intonation. It messes with tone. Plus if there are a lot of low c hammering on to higher notes and such you can just drop tune the E string on the 5er if you have to.
  4. Because some folks don't think before typing?
  5. xxfaux_punkxx


    Mar 18, 2010
    I personally don't get into the drop tuning because it makes my strings rattle (Waiting for the first of the month so I get some better ones, f***ing hybrid slinkies). anyway it's your bass do what you want... why is this in the "bassist" catagory anyway?
  6. alexgeddy

    alexgeddy Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    I know what you mean about just play it on the 5 string.... I have a 4 string I keep drop tuned a half step cause that's what the band plays in. I use dr strings so i don't notices any tension issues.... I don;t have a problem with it.
  7. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    there is lots of good info on drop tuning in the Strings forum :)

    search for 'drop' or 'downtuning' i think.
  8. guroove


    Oct 13, 2009
    Buffalo, NY
    A question from someone who doesn't do drop tunings, is why DO you do it? I know a 5 string is expensive, so I won't suggest you do that. When you do detune, do you drop one string, or more than one, or all 4? Do you detune all the strings the same amount?
  9. The idea of constantly switching tunings and not having every interval of my bass in 4ths is baffling to me. I want lower notes so I got a 5 strings. I never chime in on drop tuning threads for the exact reason you said, I'd just start telling everyone to get a five, lol. At the same time though, I'm try to grasp the fact that everyone is not comfortable on a fiver. Where I come from, if your bass has less than 5 strings you're missing something. In fact, I was the only guy (that played bass somewhat seriously) I knew with a 4 string for years in my area.

    I guess I can see dropping the E string one whole note but after that... well you know what I'd say :).
  10. rimtism123


    Mar 25, 2009
    Birmingham, AL
    because anything outside of a "standard tuning" blows their mind.
    there is a little something thats called "personal preference" that comes into play when it comes to people and their instruments...
    not to mention is probably a good idea to match tunings that fit the range of your vocalist.

    My band plays in drop C# ...a 5'er wouldn't fit the bill.
  11. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
  12. alexgeddy

    alexgeddy Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    Reason I drop tune is cause thats what the singer wants... I have 5 strings and a six in standard tuning and it's not the same as playin a drop tuned bass.( I won't drop tune a 5 or six, just a 4) I detune all 4 strings the E becomes eb etc....try playing some Van halen or stevie ray on a 5 string in standard tuning...It can be difficult. plus it doesn't sound the same.. I don;t necessarily like having to do it but it keeps me playing out!


    My bass is still tuned in 4ths when it is drop tuned. I never heard of anybody dropping the e string a whole step
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
    I chime in and say "buy a 5 string" because I think it is really good advice. I tried the detuning and various alternate tunings and NONE of them is as good as BEADG.

    All of the drop and alternate tunings are best for instruments that play chords.

    I was a stubborn 4 string only guy through the 70s, 80s, and 90s. When I bought my first 5 string bass I had a hard time adjusting. But once I retrained my brain I now prefer the 5 to 4.

    So a lot of modern music is written for bands with a bass that has a B string. Also older blues, jazz, rock, country, gospel and other types of music benefit from the 5th string. Plus playing in E F and E flat are really nice on the 5 string along with the low D and low C. Then the 2 octaves in a short distance is great as well.

    I really feel sorry for those who still play a 4 string bass.

    I own 15 basses and none is a 4 string.

    If I did play a 4 then I would tune it DGCF and use fat strings.
  14. alexgeddy

    alexgeddy Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2007
    RIC5 ... I don;t understand ...why would you feel sorry for people who only want to play a 4 string? Being you have 15 basses and I only have 6 do yo feel sorry for me ? or should I feel sorry for you I have a custom 6 string... I still love playing on 4 stringers...
  15. I will second the love of 4-strings. I prefer a relatively narrow neck. The music I play has never required the low B string, and I just plain don't like the tone of that string (not to mention issues with "flabbiness" and heaviness of 5-string basses).
  16. I've never really seen any alternative tunings except drop d (only the E string down to D), which i do all the time.Guitarists use it because they can then do a bar chord with one finger. It also has a different sound, and the process of using drop d creates different sounding lines because you accidentally use intervals you wouldn't normally use, and it (sometimes) sounds great. Because of this, guitarists design riffs expressly around that tuning using the open d and sometimes it can be near impossible to replicate using a 5 string.

    I can instantly think of two songs that we play in drop d, one can easily be replicated with a 5 string as the only reason I play in d is because the song is in the key of d. However the other one has a riff that you need the open d, and the major 6th interval between the strings to play easily.

    Case in point: killing in the name of by RATM. Can you play it with a 5 string? Sure! However I would argue that it was designed for and is easier to play in drop d.
  17. ubado

    ubado Supporting Member

    Mar 7, 2007

    I don't have anything aginst drop tuning ... to each their own. Personally, I just don't like to drop more than a half step, and for the most part ... have no need to even drop.

    As far as the "5 String Debate" ... again to each their own. Everyone has their own preference. With that said, I think having a 5'ver is the easiest way to keep yourself from having to drop tune. For those who say "I just can't play 5'vers" ... I say ... you just haven't found the right one. IME ... finding the right bass for you, as well as, the right string spacing are the two most important factors in finding a 5'ver that's comfortable. IMO ... Finding a 5'ver, that you are comfortable playing will change your mind about 5'vers forever!

    I used to have the Billy Sheehan outlook towards 5'vers ... 'If I'm going to confuse myself with extra strings, I'll play a 6-string bass.'
    After years of the same attitude (only playing fretless 5'vers) ... I finally found the right 5'ver for me. Personally, I don't see myself playing 4-bangers unless they are the best fit for the playing situation.

    My $0.02 ;)
  18. IMO it is a piece of cake to play on my 6 string(I use the high c string for the little fill in unison with the guitar) and it's difficulty was only in getting used to and figuring out the fingerings to play the parts. I also think it sounds a lot more focused and bigger on the low b in a good way.
  19. thombo

    thombo Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2006
    Denver, CO
    If a 4 banger is setup for lower tension, there's no problem. I'm a 5 string player, but if it works for you, cool!

    though i know people will refute this, for some reason it seems that a lot (not all) of bigger rock acts like their bassists to use 4 strings, esp. in LA. i recall an anecdote where lenny kravitz was auditioning bassists, and the first thing they did was ask who's bass has more than 4 strings, and then dismissed all of those players. JMJ, Chris Cheney, Juan Alderete, Will Lee (ususally), Matt Rubano gradually downsized to a 4...
  20. Almost everything below the low E sounds silly to me, tonewise. Gimmicky. Not richer (because it's mostly overtones below that point anyway) and definitely not "heavier". Sure, there are occasional exceptions, but it's just never really necessary for 99.999% of the music I like. And I like a lot of music.

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