#1
I am new to bass but I have been playing guitar for many years now. My bass is in standard E and I sometimes tune it down to drop D and D standard. I have noticed that the strings feel a lot more loose when downtuned which is obviously to be expected but I kind of like that lack of tension. It's not floppy to the point where everything sounds horrible but I wanted to ask if anyone here gets their bass set up to ease the tension a bit. When I play back in standard I just don't care for that more rigid feel it feels too tight.


I am saving up for another bass and this one will be used for low tunnings like in B and C. I just wish that in bass guitar I could change the tuning up and down like on guitar. I have been tuning my electric warbeast from E to A and back and forth for years and no problems but everyone says if I tune a bass up and down more than a whole step it will damage it.
#2
Down-tuning basses has become inevitable; what with the heaviest of heavy metal music down-tuning the guitars to ridiculous lows. This practice has resulted in an entire industry of "Baritone Guitars" with 27" to 29" scale lengths to cater to this down-tuning mania.

Unfortunately, electric basses are not as easily accommodated for down-tuning. The thickness of bass strings makes down-tuning beyond low "B" a royal pain. There have been a few basses with 36" and even 38" scale lengths to satisfy the down-tuners, but by and large, the scale length of an electric bass maxes out at 35." So if you like down-tuning your bass, then by all means, go for it. By floppy strings are the inevitable result; particularly once you get past low "D." You can try DR Strings' "DDT" strings ("Drop-Down Tuning"), which are designed to maintain tension at lower tunings. But unless you are willing to play strings that are insanely thick, down-tuning an electric bass is always a trade-off. You won't damage your bass, but you will have some floppy strings.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#3
Well what I am asking is even if I play in D and E, if I got my basss adjusted so that the strings were more loose. If that would be a good idea?
#4
It will not hurt your bass, if that is what you mean. But with the strings loose from down-tuning, you can have intonation problems, sustain problems, and poor tone.
"Maybe this world is another planet's hell?" - Aldous Huxley
#5
you could try different strings, and also different string gauges. i've been testing basses at stores for the past couple weeks, and i notice that there different basses with the same scale have different string floppiness - which i like - even though the basses have the same scale length. could be from having thinner cores or something else.

and there may be other options, as well. i know with acoustic guitar strings, round core strings are a bit floppier than hex core strings - don't know if that applies to bass.

Quote by Androxine Vorte
Well what I am asking is even if I play in D and E, if I got my basss adjusted so that the strings were more loose. If that would be a good idea?
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
#6
Quote by Androxine Vorte
Well what I am asking is even if I play in D and E, if I got my basss adjusted so that the strings were more loose. If that would be a good idea?


In general, there is no problem to do that. You could tune your strings even deeper than that.

You just need to take accurate care of the following:

1.) adjustment of your instrument which depends on the style or styles you play
(e.g. picking needs a slightly higher distance between frets and strings compared to tapping for instance)

2.) how your instrument should sound
(tuning the strings lower than suggested leads into a "lighter" sound which could work fine for you or not)

3.) finding the tension that feels best for you and your fingers


If you adjust your instrument to work with a lower tension, going back to an higher tuning changes the whole feeling and sound of the instrument.
"dream your life and make it come true"
Last edited by Adrian Magler at May 10, 2015,