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Will down tuning warp neck

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Thrashist, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Thrashist


    Feb 24, 2013
    So in my band my rhythym guitarist wants me to tune my 5 string to bdgcf but then my lead guitarist said no that will warp his neck. I have never heard this before and doubt that it's true. Opinions?
  2. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    So all strings downtuned a full step except for the B?

    Your bass and his guitar will be fine. You will likely have to adjust the truss rod and/or action at the bridge, but that's it.
  3. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Nope, sounds like your guitarist does not know where his truss rod is or how to use it.
  4. You should have the guitar/bass setup (truss rod, etc) for whatever strings and tuning you want you use - if you decide to use different stings or a change the tuning you should have the guitar/bass re-setup for it.

  5. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon.

    In all fairness, guitar necks do not move nearly as much as bass necks.

    The guitarist in my band has been playing over 40 years and has not adjusted his truss rod himself ever.
  6. kdogg


    Nov 13, 2005
    Yeah, you shouldn't have any issues. I play in standard, drop d, half step down, and full step down. I've never needed a full setup to change between these tunings. If I'm a full step down I'll give the truss rod a tweek though. Your guitarists should be just fine.
  7. Thomas Kievit

    Thomas Kievit Guest

    May 19, 2012
    Nothing to be afraid of :) When you down tune one or more strings, the tension of those strings will decrease, so it can't hurt your neck. If you would tune up (for example C# F# B E A) then it would be a different story, cause then the strings will bring huge tension on the neck.
  8. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    Not sure why you would want to tune this way. You will already have a low D at the third fret of the B string and so on with the other strings. When I play a five I always keep it B,E,A,D,G regardless of how the guitars are tuned. I can get every note that I need so why alter my tuning?
  9. A lot of rock and metal music has riffs which rely on open strings, maybe that's the reason he needs an open D.
  10. Why?

    What kind of music are you playing? Is this a Jazz improvisational jam group?

    More often than not, as the rythym guitarist, he plays chords where the tuning makes a difference. You play individual notes on a 5 string where it doesn't. You can still play arpeggios under his chords without down tuning your bass especially since he doesn't neet you to hit anything below the lowest B. Alternate tuning your bass doesn't make sense since it's already a 5 string. You can already hit any and every note that you need to play under his rhythm.

    Why do you need to play so high that you need a high F string to hit the notes you need? You're the bass player. Shouldn't you be playing below everybody else?
  11. I see your point but guitars need the full length of the string to sound big, beefy, and fat. Even when fretted, below the 5th fret the bass already sounds big, beefy, and fat.
  12. Thrashist


    Feb 24, 2013
    There are songs my guitarist wrote that he is somehow convinced that I need to down tune even when I show him I can play the notes fine in standard he thinks downtuning with make it I guess "beefier"
  13. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Tell him the reason you have a fiver is to avoid the need to downtune, your bass was designed to sound best as is. If he still wants it boomier turn up the bass EQ knob on your amp.
  14. This is an all too common thing. Almost every guitar player I've played with in the last 2 years has NO idea what their truss rod does, or how to adjust it. They also have no idea how to set their own intonation, or how to fix the problem of having to retune EVERY time they put a capo on.
  15. khutch

    khutch Praise Harp

    Aug 20, 2011
    suburban Chicago
    You can up or down tune your bass pretty much as far as you like without changing the tension on the neck and therefore probably without a truss rod adjustment by using the tension charts that several manufacturers (Circle K, D'Addario, Thomastik-Infield, LaBella) provide. Just select strings that keep the tension the same as what you have now. Unless the songs your band plays are tremendously easier to play in that tuning I do not really see the point of it however. If you aren't having trouble keeping up I would not bother with the rhythm guitarists tuning. He may be trying to convince one of you to adopt his tuning just so he can catch up by watching your fingers when he gets lost! ;)

  16. FourBanger


    Sep 2, 2012
    SE Como
    Even better idea, tell him to get a seven-string and play along with your bass. In the order of importance to the rhythm section the drum and bass come before the second guitar.
  17. I LOL'd at the title of this thread.
    The only "warping" you'll receive is the lowered tension from the strings causing back-bow in the neck. Just loosen the truss rod. :p

    As for being "boomier", no. You'll get less definition, due to lower tension on the strings and may need to go with a heavier gauge to get the feel/sound you want.

    Just tell your guitar player to go back to shredding/shoegazing/dreaming of sleeping with Slash.

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