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Old 09-19-2010, 11:33 PM   #1
Zephyr-Chills
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Drop A flat tuning

One of the guitarists in the band I am in is insisting that we play in A flat and I find it kind of ridiculous to be that low. Right now we are in Drop C tuning and I like it. We are pretty technical and I suppose I can deal with it. I will attempt to mess with it when I get my 5 string.

So what I basically need are some tips on making my tone sound good?
i.e. strings to use, EQ tips(I want a tone like BTBAM, Dan Briggs), if I get a Spector legend 5 will it handle the drop A well, and anything else you think will be of help
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:43 PM   #2
Micehorns
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For that tuning, my first question has be ; What cab are you using?
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Old 09-19-2010, 11:54 PM   #3
Zephyr-Chills
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Micehorns
For that tuning, my first question has be ; What cab are you using?

Ampeg B410HE 4X10
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Old 09-20-2010, 04:01 AM   #4
Alex Vik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyr-Chills
Ampeg B410HE 4X10

You're gonna want to pick up a 15" cab for tunings that low I think.
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Old 09-20-2010, 11:03 PM   #5
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I thought that might be an issue. Does anyone have some tips on EQ with a tuning that low?
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Old 09-21-2010, 12:38 PM   #6
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Lots of low mids I guess. Raise your action, mess around with pickup settings to get the right mix between clarity and warmth.
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:34 PM   #7
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So, drop A flat?

You are now below 27.5 Hz which is am A0 Double Pedal A. All the average person is going to hear from that is the "colour". They will however "feel" the note.

Generally when playing around with frequencies like that I use a synthesizer to produce the pure tone (for the rumble) and colour it by playing the same note one octave up on the bass guitar. We do this for recording a lot.

Also, your Ampeg B410HE 4x10's lowest useable frequency is 40 Hz (-10db), which is low E1 (41 something Hz) so your cab isn't even capable of producing it clearly. Also, most amplifiers are only rated down to about 31 Hz which is a B0 pretty much barely covering down to the B string (30.8677 HZ). Don't read the ratings as the hard line cut off, it will still produce sound, probably just not the sound you think it will.
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:36 PM   #8
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I really dont mean to steal TS's thread, but...

If I downtuned a bass to low low lowwwwwww F (below normal B string), I wouldnt be able to hear it on most cabs/amps? Or hear it, no matter how thick my strings are, or how good my bass is?
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Old 09-21-2010, 06:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cb4rabid
I really dont mean to steal TS's thread, but...

If I downtuned a bass to low low lowwwwwww F (below normal B string), I wouldnt be able to hear it on most cabs/amps? Or hear it, no matter how thick my strings are, or how good my bass is?

Human hearing (best case scenario) starts at about 20 Hz. As you get older this number becomes higher in most cases.

Amplifiers are rated where the sound is -3db lower than higher frequencies. Remember that decibels are a logarithmic scale. "Useable" is usually described as a -10 db level.

You will feel low frequencies, more than actually hear them, which is an effect that I personally want, especially at what I would call a "dancing" function. To get this effect we generally use synths and subwoofer cabs. I use synths because they are easier to control than a stringed instrument (a B string downtuned is generally a floppy mess).

The Ampeg B410HE 4X10 cab the TS is using has this spec:

http://www.ampeg.com/products/b/b410he/index.html

Which actually lists its frequency response as 55 Hz to 18 kHz and a "useable" low of 40 Hz. Which is only the E string on a bass. It will put out lower frequencies than that (if there is no low bandpass filter), but it will do it very inefficiently and probably make any other frequencies sound really bad.

In regards to amplifiers, one would have to check the specifications of the bass amplifier in question. For example, one of mine is -2 db at 10 Hz and another is -4 db at 40 Hz.
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Old 09-21-2010, 11:08 PM   #10
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I play a Spector Legend 6 in C# (Dan's my idol, as well) so here's what I've found.

I hardly use my lowest string, which is a G# / Ab, mainly because I don't get many opportunities, but also because it doesn't sound that great. I play through a Gallien-Krueger 720RB and a Gallien-Krueger 410 BLX cab, which other wise sounds awesome, IMO. I use a set of D'Addarios that had a heavy low end and a medium high end, and I believe the B is a .135. Tuning down that low, like I said earlier, just doesn't sound so great with all of this in consideration. It should also be noted, however, that my bass has never been set up besides my tweaking of the string saddles to my own liking.

I've never heard a string as low as Dan's G# that growls like his does on the album and live, and keep in mind that Dan plays a Euro Spector, which goes for something like $1,500 new.

You're going to have to really strive for a good sound with this to even sound decent. I've never heard a live bass that low sound good, so be careful with what you do, man.
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Old 09-22-2010, 05:57 PM   #11
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Boy, I was hoping that with a .145-.175 and the correct setup, I would be able to actually hear the note, as opposed to feeling it and it just being barely audible.

Thick strings dont bother me, I prefer thicker to thin.
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