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Old 08-07-2013, 09:50 AM   #1
RobNovAr
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Bass Drop B tuning

I want to tune my 4-string bass to a drop B tuning, what kind of strings would you recomend me to use so that they dont be all loose since its a low tuning?
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:54 AM   #2
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Bigger ones.
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:56 AM   #3
RobNovAr
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I mean like, which gauge -.- (Thanks anyway :v)
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:04 AM   #4
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Kind of depends on what gauge you're using now. Honestly, it's been a while since I've played bass. I'd say at least .050-.105. Kind of depends on what you're looking for too. Some people like some clack.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:10 AM   #5
RobNovAr
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Great, thanks I've invited to play bass in a chevlle tribut band and I've ever play such low tuning on bass so I don't much about it haha
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:13 AM   #6
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I don't know as much about bass but I stick to a loose rule on guitar. For every step you go down, go up a gauge. So if you're on .040-.095 in standard, go up to .045-.100 for D standard/Drop C. So on and so forth.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:14 AM   #7
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.105 is nowhere near large enough. That's a standard E string. The low B on a standard five string is normally around 130-135.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:17 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Deliriumbassist
.105 is nowhere near large enough. That's a standard E string. The low B on a standard five string is normally around 130-135.

I didn't look right but goes to show how rusty I am.



So ignore everything I said.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:21 AM   #9
RobNovAr
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But on a 4-string bass is that gauge right for the drop B?
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:24 AM   #10
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Buy a five string set (as 5-ers are usually tuned BEADG) and just use the fattest 4. HOWEVER: The nut is probably too small AND the bass will need a full setup.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:28 AM   #11
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What I would personally do is buy individual strings. Maybe a .50, .65, .85 and a .130, give or take .005 depending on if you like your strings looser or tighter.

^If you're doing it that way, I'd discard the E string. In drop B, you would tune that low E up to F#- that's 2 semitones. Much better to get a heavier string set and tune down, in my experience. The low B is obviously fine, but tuning up by that degree is a bit much.
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Old 08-07-2013, 10:30 AM   #12
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Thanks everyone! what would you recomend then for playing alternative metal in Drop-B like Chevelle in bass? (4string)
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Old 08-08-2013, 03:22 AM   #13
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If I remember right, I have always recommended a set of 50-70-90-125. Of course you can always go 5 or 10 thicker with each string if you prefer it that way.
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:30 PM   #14
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Yeah, I'm thinking this is a non-starter idea. Especially when it's so easy to pick up a five-string that already has a nice B on it.

This is an '89 Carvin that magically appeared at a local GC (and then magically disappeared with me) -- the same model that Jim Lomenzo played with...uh...White Lion? Active pickups, ebony fretboard, real MOP inlays, all kinds of electronic goodies, neck-through construction, awesome playability.



Why go into all the screwithage of ruining a very nice 4-string?

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Old 08-08-2013, 10:47 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobNovAr
Thanks everyone! what would you recomend then for playing alternative metal in Drop-B like Chevelle in bass? (4string)


Failing your locating a 5-string...
I'd find the right notes in Standard bass tuning.

Think this through for a second.

You're a flippin' BASS. Why do YOU have to be tuned to Drop-B just because the guitars are? They're doing it so that they can flail away at power chords with that B at the bottom. You don't need to.

Remember that none of those guitars are ever going to actually have a dropped B note coming out of their guitar amps -- most 4x12s, for example, drop away rapidly in frequency response below 100 Hz And a standard low E is 81Hz. They couldn't reproduce the fundamental of a standard guitar low E, much less a drop B. What happens is that they "hint" at that low note with the combination of harmonics that actually show up in the registers that they CAN reproduce.

You, on the other hand, have a flippin' BASS amp. If it's worth anything at all, it can do a passable job nearly an octave below a 4x12. You'll still be providing floor, but you can't produce a fundamental of a Drop B in the bass register either. Fact is, your current bass amp probably can't produce a fundamental at B1 (61Hz), much less an octave below that at a 30 Hz B0. Any bass player worth his salt is fully aware that he's going to want an HPF (High Pass Filter) to keep the amp from wasting power trying to make those really low frequencies. It's not going to happen.
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:27 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dspellman
Failing your locating a 5-string...
I'd find the right notes in Standard bass tuning.

Think this through for a second.

You're a flippin' BASS. Why do YOU have to be tuned to Drop-B just because the guitars are? They're doing it so that they can flail away at power chords with that B at the bottom. You don't need to.

Remember that none of those guitars are ever going to actually have a dropped B note coming out of their guitar amps -- most 4x12s, for example, drop away rapidly in frequency response below 100 Hz And a standard low E is 81Hz. They couldn't reproduce the fundamental of a standard guitar low E, much less a drop B. What happens is that they "hint" at that low note with the combination of harmonics that actually show up in the registers that they CAN reproduce.

You, on the other hand, have a flippin' BASS amp. If it's worth anything at all, it can do a passable job nearly an octave below a 4x12. You'll still be providing floor, but you can't produce a fundamental of a Drop B in the bass register either. Fact is, your current bass amp probably can't produce a fundamental at B1 (61Hz), much less an octave below that at a 30 Hz B0. Any bass player worth his salt is fully aware that he's going to want an HPF (High Pass Filter) to keep the amp from wasting power trying to make those really low frequencies. It's not going to happen.

Even if it's so, the fact is that bands that tune to drop B or use 7 string guitars use the B string a lot. Most of their songs are in B. And if the bass in those bands plays the same riffs as guitar, it only uses notes that are higher than B. Those bands also use lots of open B string and it may be easier to play the riffs with an open B string. (And I think bass sounds better in lower register. When you start playing notes higher than the open G string and stay there all the time, it just sounds a bit "lame").
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Old 08-10-2013, 06:53 PM   #17
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Even if it's so, the fact is that bands that tune to drop B or use 7 string guitars use the B string a lot. Most of their songs are in B. And if the bass in those bands plays the same riffs as guitar, it only uses notes that are higher than B. Those bands also use lots of open B string and it may be easier to play the riffs with an open B string. (And I think bass sounds better in lower register. When you start playing notes higher than the open G string and stay there all the time, it just sounds a bit "lame").


Okay, one more time. The guitarists are in B only because their riffs are easier; pretty much mindless, in fact. At gigging volume, those guitars aren't really reproducing a low B at 61Hz. because the amps mostly can't. What you hear are usually whatever overtones are above about 100Hz. Not a bad thing, it's just the physics.

You can't reproduce a bass tuned with a low B, either. I know because I've got one (the red one, above) that has a low B. It's 30Hz and it's almost impossible to find a bass rig that will reproduce that. No matter what the manufacturer specs say, if you run a real time analysis (assuming you have a MIKE that will go that low with any efficiency), you'll find that the amp isn't pushing them out, even at -10dB.

So the point is that even though you think bass sounds better in lower register, you're not actually IN lower register. Even if you WERE in lower register, you need to know that you're sucking up a lot of power from the amp even trying to reproduce those notes. At least the fundamentals. Mostly you'll get a farty globby mess.

Note, here, that I have a bass capable of a low B. I've also got a 1500W Carvin BX1500 amp head and I'm pushing ported cabinets capable of very low lows and handling prodigious amounts of power without farting out. You still end up using an HPF that dumps most frequencies below 35Hz altogether.

Good luck with your project, though -- I think the plan of buying a set of strings that are the same as the 5-string but without the highest string is probably your best bet. Make sure that your nut is cut large enough to handle it and you should be good to go.
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