1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
     
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Why "Low B?"

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by superheavyfunk, Oct 6, 2017.


  1. superheavyfunk

    superheavyfunk

    Mar 11, 2013
    Toronto
    I started writing a post about why we call it a "Low B" string, when we don't give the 'E,' 'A,' or any other strings such a qualifier. I was thinking that "We don't even have a "High B" string," when I realized that some folks actually might tune their six-string basses with a "High B," for whatever crazy reason (I'd go with a "C" string, myself).

    So I guess now I have a secondary question: How many of you 6-string players tune your highest string to a 'B' instead of a 'C?' And why?

    And just in case my rambling threw you off the scent, my original question was "Why do we tend to call it a "Low B," and not just the 'B' string?

    My eyes hurt... Screens are bright
     
    Aberdumbie likes this.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    To Low B or not to Low B, that is the question.
     
    MrLenny1 and JimK like this.
  3. I know some bassist tune their c to a b to match guitar tuning. I believe the bassist from Avatar does this if I remember right. Couldn't tell you if it's because they're guitarists playing bass or just to cycle back to their bottom string instead of having a high string that's half a step off from their bottom.

    Frankly I don't even use a b string on guitar.
     
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  4. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    Connecticut
    Speaking as someone who’s played 5+ strings since the mid 90s, the vast majority of guitarists I’ve run into have no idea what your fifth string is. Just saying “B” wasn’t enough as they’d usually try to relate it to their own instrument and think it was a B above your G string. It’s almost comical how it still happens after all these years and with how mainstream 5-strings have become.
     
  5. basst scho

    basst scho

    May 30, 2017
    Bavaria
    this site has the option to turn the background black

    as for the question, don´t know ;)

    i call it b-string (mostly b-saite, as its in my language)
     
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  6. Kamatori

    Kamatori

    Jan 20, 2012
    We're all playing a game of "How low can you go". Saying "Low B" emphasizes that it's not just any old B, it's a low down B.
     
    Zane DeBord likes this.
  7. /\/\3phist0

    /\/\3phist0 Life: It's sexually transmitted and always fatal Supporting Member

    I tune 1/2 down. So mine's A#.
    On a 4 i often drop to D
     
  8. tlc1976

    tlc1976

    Aug 2, 2016
    Michigan
    It's the low string because it's lower than the traditional E/A/D/G set, and its open note is B. So it is a low B string. After all the Fender Bass V went higher instead of lower (to C but could have been tuned to B). That was the first.

    Which might explain why, despite how long the low B string has been popular, the amount of people who still consider a 5 string with a low B a newfangled piece of equipment.
     
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  9. RickyT

    RickyT

    May 29, 2015
    Dee Why
    I think it's a Low B because a "B" would be the 2nd Fret A string, 7th Fret E string, so anything lower than that would be the Low B.
    I tune my 6 string F Bb Eb Ab Db Gb just to confuse any guitar players I play with :wacky:
     
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  10. JGbassman

    JGbassman Supporting Member

    May 31, 2011
    Why not?
     
  11. Because "low B" sounds more br00tal! than just "B"?
     
    Stumbo likes this.
  12. Or maybe 'low b' is short for 'low bottomy' . . . .
     
    Bob_Ross, Stumbo and /\/\3phist0 like this.
  13. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    B as in Baptist Church low?
     
  14. Aberdumbie

    Aberdumbie

    Jan 22, 2016
    South Carolina
    Played for forty years and only recently investigated a five string. I asked the very same question as I studied this unfamiliar bass in my hands. The fellow looked at me and said, "It's low B.. As in BOOM"..... Made sense to me anyway.
     
  15. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    I take it you have never heard about the Fender Bass VI, then?
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  16. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Didn't Jack Bruce play one?
     
  17. Jeff Scott

    Jeff Scott Rickenbacker guru.......... Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    Yes he did.
     
  18. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This. The phrase is not for us. "Low B" is for everyone else.
     
  19. I call it low b because standard tuning for guitar has a b string. 7 string guitars tuned standard actually have 2. And the B for bass is lower
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
    Jhengsman, Grumry and HaphAsSard like this.
  20. HaphAsSard

    HaphAsSard

    Dec 1, 2013
    Italia
    +1, ...plus, to preempt any possible objection as to the bassness of the Bass VI, there are folks who own sixers of the now-conventional kind (long-scale, wide string spacing) and tune them E-to-e. Abraham Laboriel, for one, tunes his six-stringer(s) thusly, I'm written.
     

Share This Page