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Old 04-25-2013, 07:02 PM   #1
crazysam23_Atax
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Downtuning My Bass

Hey, all, I'll preface this by that I'm a guitar player who picked up bass within the last year. I know that I am at the bottom of the rung here. I do feel like I'm getting it though.

I own a Peavey Forum bass, btw.
One of these



Anyway, I typically tune my guitar to D standard (DGCFAD). I recently put heavier strings on my bass guitar and had a tech re-set up my bass. (When I first put the strings on, the neck was bowed, and I couldn't turn the truss rod anyway [it was as tight as it goes]. So, rushed it over to my local music store asap.) Peavey Forum basses have a nice feature, where you can adjust a hex screw down where the neck meets the body. This "rocks" the necks towards or away from the strings. So, the tech adjusted it so that the neck was "rocked" towards the strings and did some things to straighten out the neck.

So, what I would like to do is down-tune my bass guitar to D standard (DGCF). Would I simply be able to rock the neck toward or away from the strings to compensate for the decreased string tension, without causing the neck to warp over time? I'd prefer to not have to adjust the truss rod.

What are my options here, guys?
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Last edited by crazysam23_Atax : 04-25-2013 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:23 PM   #2
moody git
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if you're planning on staying in D standard, why not set the bass up for D standard? (unless i misread the post) it will be better to play and it should keep the tension constant
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Old 04-25-2013, 10:41 PM   #3
crazysam23_Atax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moody git
if you're planning on staying in D standard, why not set the bass up for D standard? (unless i misread the post) it will be better to play and it should keep the tension constant

The bass is currently in E standard. Sorry. I'm basically asking how to set it up without changing string gauge (already at .105 on the low E) and without having to adjust the truss rod. If I understand what the tech did, the neck would probably be bent if he had NOT rocked it towards the string.
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Last edited by crazysam23_Atax : 04-25-2013 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:41 AM   #4
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You are going to have to adjust the truss rod to get the best action. The tension in the strings will flex the neck a little, as it does on any stringed instrument. Just changing the strings for a different brand will affect the action a little, though you may not notice. Down tune, see if you can live with the new action, it might be better than you expect, if not go back to the tech or learn how to adjust the truss yourself. The tech managed the adjustment so it probably wasn't fully tight, just stuck. There are guides to adjusting the truss rod all over the internet including here on UG.

Good luck
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Starr
You are going to have to adjust the truss rod to get the best action. The tension in the strings will flex the neck a little, as it does on any stringed instrument. Just changing the strings for a different brand will affect the action a little, though you may not notice. Down tune, see if you can live with the new action, it might be better than you expect, if not go back to the tech or learn how to adjust the truss yourself. The tech managed the adjustment so it probably wasn't fully tight, just stuck. There are guides to adjusting the truss rod all over the internet including here on UG.

Good luck

I know how to adjust most truss rods myself (I've done it on several guitars). This one is kind of funky. The tech said he had to use a special tool to adjust it. Before I took it to the shop, I spent an hour trying to move it with pliers.

I suppose I could always use a string tension calculator and get strings that would be equal out to roughly the same tension...
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Last edited by crazysam23_Atax : 04-26-2013 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 04-26-2013, 12:13 PM   #6
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After being unsuccessful in finding a string tension calculator tailored for bass...

I decided to bite the bullet and call up guitar tech who fixed my guitar before. I'd been hesitant to do that, because I was going, "It'll cost like $100. Ugh..." But I finally did call, and the tech's like, "Yeah, you wouldn't even have to change string gauge. Just tune it down, bring it in, and I'll adjust the truss rod on the spot. It should be a lot easier to play even". Basically, this means it'll cost less than $20 to downtune to Dstandard.
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:52 PM   #7
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Down-tuning a bass (at least, down-tuning a 34" scale bass) frequently leads to floppy strings. Down-tuning to "D" is not so bad, but any further than that and you might well encounter problems. Remember to adjust the truss rod only after you have settled on a particular string gague. Otherwise, you'll have to adjust againg. The difference in neck tension is much greater with different gauge bass strings than it is with different gauge guitar strings.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:50 AM   #8
crazysam23_Atax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatalGear41
Down-tuning a bass (at least, down-tuning a 34" scale bass) frequently leads to floppy strings. Down-tuning to "D" is not so bad, but any further than that and you might well encounter problems.

I agree, although I already have heavier strings on it. The low E is a 105. That said, I'm downtuning to D standard, as I said.

Quote:
Remember to adjust the truss rod only after you have settled on a particular string gauge. Otherwise, you'll have to adjust again.

Due to the fact that I lack the proper tool to adjust the truss rod, as I said, I'm having a tech adjust it for me.

Quote:
The difference in neck tension is much greater with different gauge bass strings than it is with different gauge guitar strings.

I'm aware. I'm not changing string gauges though.
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