#1
i realize that a lot of 7's are BEADGBE for tuning, and an eight at least somewhat commonly has FBEADGBE.

i am NOT going to argue with tuning and frequency occupation at different octaves.

i realize that such lowly tuned guitars have a different timbre than a bass, but...

what do you do with the bass? get a 5 string with the lower B, or do you go lower?

just curious. i am more of a standard tune type of guy but do have one in C# standard.
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#2
For a 7, you could tune the top string UP. EADGBeg, or on an 8, BEADGBea. Chris Letchford tunes his "lead" guitar B to a.
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#3
Quote by AWACS
For a 7, you could tune the top string UP. EADGBeg, or on an 8, BEADGBea. Chris Letchford tunes his "lead" guitar B to a.


i had a 7 a long time ago and had it at BEADGBe and i tried it at EADGBeg and hated it. i didn't even know if that was common or not, i just didn't like it that high, or really that low. i never liked a 7 and haven't bothered to try an 8.

so if you are at 'B' is the bass just tuned down or 5 string?

i know some bands go to the F, then what do they do with the bass?
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#4
Now, I don't know the most about downtuned bands, but I would assume the bass would follow proportionately to the guitar. Band centred around a 7 string standard guitar? Most likely theres a 5 string bass, tuned BEADG.
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#5
You would never ever want to have a 7 string guitar and not have at the very least a 5 string bass.

As a general rule of thumb you always always want the bass to be at least as low (or, technically an octave lower, of course) as the guitars. What I mean is, its okay to have a 5 string bass without a 7 string guitar, but you would never want to have a 7 string guitar without a 5 string bass.

You could technically just tune a 4 string bass to BEAD if a bassist really can't afford a 5 string, but I would never suggest tuning an instrument that low instead of getting an instrument that's actually mean to go that low.
Last edited by Macabre_Turtle at Nov 27, 2012,
#6
Technically it would be a low F# for a standard tuned eight-string. </pedantry>

Simply? You can do whatever you want. Make your own rules. I assume you're talking about the metal context, though. For sevens, people usually just have a bass tuned similarly an octave lower.

It's sometimes different for eight-strings. I have my six-string bass in standard with a low B and high C, and my eight-string guitar with a low B and E (a bass E). At the moment, I just arrange my music around that. They do indeed have different timbres, and they sit in different places in the mix. Having a guitar and bass play the same frequency when mixed right punches you right between the ears.

However, other bands simply play their bass an octave lower. Mnemic play with a low F#; After The Burial play with a low F... And although I am loathe to lose my upper range, I am actually going to lose that high C on my bass and follow my guitar's tuning. I'm going to put a .200 string under my low B so I can have a low E around 20hz on my bass. When mixed right that thing is going to hit hard.

So many people either follow the guitar an octave down; stay in the same octave; or just do whatever the hell they want. I've heard well-mixed music with a guitar with a bass low B, and bass with a low B an octave below a normal five-string bass's low B. So you're not going to be limited much by how far you can tune down... Limitation comes from being able to mix it.
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#7
I play both bass and guitar. Started playing bass a year after I started playing guitar, but a year after I started playing 6-string guitar, I also switched to a 7-string guitar. Sadly that was before I purchased a bass.

Soon found out I really needed that extra low B on my bass as well just to make things match when writing songs etc.

From my 6/7 years of experience with both instruments since, I would indeed say that yes, you can have a 5-string bass without an extended range guitar, easily, but the other way around it doesn't quite work.

Having had to work with a sometimes already muddy B-string on bass I would also say that if I were to ever go 8-string guitar, tuning a bass UP would be the better option to have the tunings of both instruments match.

You could do this with a 4-string, or a 5-string so you kind of have the '6-string guitar VS 5-string bass' thing going on.
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#8
Meshuggah's bassist tunes up so he's literally playing the same notes as the guitarists who have downtuned 8 strings. You'd think it wouldn't add much to the sound but it really does.
#10
Quote by captainsnazz
You can do whatever you want. I personally think having bass and guitar in the same octave sounds awesome. The 'octave below' rule is pretty boring imo.


You know, you can still play in the same octave even if you tune an octave below...


I'm okay with the way Meshuggah does it (and I presume most 8 string bands do the same?), but that's really the only way I'm okay with the bass not getting as much extra low range as the guitar has, just because I found it hard to imagine getting an instrument an octave below an 8 string guitar would be near impossible to make sound good.
#11
I have seen basses made to be tuned an octave below 8 string standard; I can't think of any that are currently in production though. From what I heard at the time it sounds fine as long as you have speakers that can handle the low end. In my bass rig I have a 1x15" cab which definitely gives the low B extra definition and body so I would imagine something either the same or similar would help if you were tuning much lower than that.
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#12
Quote by Zaphod_Beeblebr
I have seen basses made to be tuned an octave below 8 string standard; I can't think of any that are currently in production though. From what I heard at the time it sounds fine as long as you have speakers that can handle the low end. In my bass rig I have a 1x15" cab which definitely gives the low B extra definition and body so I would imagine something either the same or similar would help if you were tuning much lower than that.


I may be totally off about this as I haven't much of an ear for tone and the kind of things that effect it, but I would say there's probably also a problem of people wanting to hear your music not necessarily have speakers that let them hear it. It's hard enough to hear bass already for the average music listener that doesn't go out of there way to buy decent speakers.
#13
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
I may be totally off about this as I haven't much of an ear for tone and the kind of things that effect it, but I would say there's probably also a problem of people wanting to hear your music not necessarily have speakers that let them hear it. It's hard enough to hear bass already for the average music listener that doesn't go out of there way to buy decent speakers.


Maybe, maybe not, I think it's as much a production issue as it is anything else; well produced bass can be hard to hear distinctly on a poor sound system but you'll always know it's there. Everyone who's listened to any track on just about any sound system without bass in it will tell you there's something missing even if they don't know what it is.

I'll definitely agree that to really hear what's going on in the bass you need a decent set up for listening but even on terrible earphones/speakers you should be able to get a sense of the presence of bass.

I'm not much of a one the kind of bass work that needs to be heard a lot of the time anyway; I would generally prefer that the bass holds down the groove or follows the guitar unless there's more sonic space for it to be used in a different way. Obviously that's just my opinion on music I make though, nothing wrong with going about it another way.
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#14
I really don't notice the bass until it's missing. Then there's a problem.
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#15
Quote by AWACS
Now, I don't know the most about downtuned bands, but I would assume the bass would follow proportionately to the guitar. Band centred around a 7 string standard guitar? Most likely theres a 5 string bass, tuned BEADG.


This. Just seems like common sense. 5 string bass = 7 string guitar, 6 string bass = 8 string guitar.
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#16
Quote by Offworld92
This. Just seems like common sense. 5 string bass = 7 string guitar, 6 string bass = 8 string guitar.


A 6 string bass typically has one extra low string and one extra high string. No 8 string guitar necessary.
#17
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
You would never ever want to have a 7 string guitar and not have at the very least a 5 string bass.


Funny. The stuff I've posted on here has been all 7-string guitar and 4-string bass, both in standard tuning. Sounds fine to me (though I should have run the bass through a compressor before I posted the tracks....).

Granted, most bands that feature 7-string guitars will feature a bass with the extra bottom string. I was in a band where the bassist had a 6-string tuned down to F standard, so it's definitely possible to run a bass an octave below an 8-string guitar. The trouble there is that you're approaching the threshold of human hearing, at which point the bass is felt rather than heard.
#18
Quote by Geldin
Funny. The stuff I've posted on here has been all 7-string guitar and 4-string bass, both in standard tuning. Sounds fine to me (though I should have run the bass through a compressor before I posted the tracks....)


I'm sure there are plenty of times when you're writing that you use the extended range on your guitar, and then you try the same on the bass and you say to yourself, "dammit."
#19
Not really. I try to avoid having the bass double the guitar line. I do want to get a five string bass, but that limitation does force me to be creative and skip the temptation to just double the guitars an octave down, which is something that I feel robs the bass of its identity in a lot of metal. But now I'm waxing philosophic, which is never a good sign.
#20
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
A 6 string bass typically has one extra low string and one extra high string. No 8 string guitar necessary.


Well tune it with two lower strings of course.

Quote by Geldin
Not really. I try to avoid having the bass double the guitar line. I do want to get a five string bass, but that limitation does force me to be creative and skip the temptation to just double the guitars an octave down, which is something that I feel robs the bass of its identity in a lot of metal. But now I'm waxing philosophic, which is never a good sign.


I don't understand the fear of copying the guitar. Obviously you shouldn't do it all the time, but it can be really effective for a driving riff/chorus riff.

It's not playing the exact same thing... that's the point of the bass. it's a whole octave lower.

I mean, if you're playing higher notes on the bass to match the lower notes on a 7 string, then you're really way closer to matching notes than playing the same thing in different octaves, I would think.
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#21
... So I had no idea that Meshuggah played the bass in the same octave... that actually sounds really cool. This thread has given me a lot of ideas .

But yeah, I'd do what Meshuggah does lol.
#22
Quote by trashedlostfdup
i realize that a lot of 7's are BEADGBE for tuning, and an eight at least somewhat commonly has FBEADGBE.

i am NOT going to argue with tuning and frequency occupation at different octaves.

i realize that such lowly tuned guitars have a different timbre than a bass, but...

what do you do with the bass? get a 5 string with the lower B, or do you go lower?

just curious. i am more of a standard tune type of guy but do have one in C# standard.


Some bassists tune their instruments ridiculously low; so low in fact that the strings practically flop around on the neck. To avoid this, others use ridiculously heavy strings. We're talking about a low "B: string that is as thick as the transatlantic cable. Other use different tricks to keep up the tension on the strings. One trick that they use is to cut a section of PVC pipe (about an inch) that is barely larger than the string diameter, then slide the string through it and then through the tailpiece of the bridge. This gives you more tension when you tune the thing. Personally, I hate playing a downtuned bass, but some people love it and it works for them.

And if that doesn't work, there are always the eight, ten and twelve-string basses. I don't mean basses that have octave strings like a twelve-string guitar. I'm talking about multiple single strings on a fretboard that is as wide as an ironing board. Not for the masses, but they do work.
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#23
Quote by Geldin
Granted, most bands that feature 7-string guitars will feature a bass with the extra bottom string. I was in a band where the bassist had a 6-string tuned down to F standard, so it's definitely possible to run a bass an octave below an 8-string guitar. The trouble there is that you're approaching the threshold of human hearing, at which point the bass is felt rather than heard.

The majority of the bass's tone in these contexts is not in the fundamental, but the harmonics. I can just barely hear 20hz myself. But, listening involves the ear and brain. When you hear overtones that imply a frequency you can't hear, your brain still hears it anyway. That's why you can hear low-pitched noises over a crappy phone.

But that's why people tune that low. There are different overtones than if you played it an octave higher, and your brain fills in the fundamental. It sounds incredibly different.
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