#1
Yo bass forum...

Some people asked me to join their band, which is swell, but the guitarist are of the mindset that a low tuning automatically makes the music heavier, (Which we all know is not true and is something I could rant about for a long time, but ya know kids these days ), so they like to tune to drop A#.

I have a fender p-bass, and my first though was match the guitarist tuning. I got a set of strings for a 5-string, and planned on tuning it BEAD and then dropping half a step down.
The problem is the strings don't fit in the nut. I get a nut that will fit accommodate the low b-string, and I put the old strings back on to see if that nut can handle standard tuning, and the strings sit way to low.

So I'm thinking about just playing in standard tuning, because it's just going to be pain to switch everything if I want to switch tunings. But I have a couple concerns with going this route:

I'm worried that I'm just going to get lost in the mix, since me and guitarist are going to playing in the same range. I'm also worried that the whole band is going to just sound really thin without the bass being an octave lower.

Anyone have an personal experience with this kind of setup?
Are their any bands that play like this?
Last edited by Captain Insano at Nov 9, 2015,
#2
My suggestion would be to play in standard tuning.

You're not going to find much gear that will reproduce "downtuned bass." Think about what those frequencies actually are. You're correct that the guitars will be encroaching on your territory. This might be the time for you to be taking a page from Entwhistle's book and take your bass into the ranges where they ain't. Up. If they're going to be slaves to a low A#, it may be time for you to become a sort of punchy soloist above your 12th fret. You can reproduce cleans where they'll be slogging in mushy harmonics.
#3
I think too many bassists try to "match" guitarists without thinking about what will really sound better. Bass is low, it's our thing, but when guitarists get progressively lower and lower and number of strings get higher and higher until your range is totally eclipsed, you have to find your 'pocket'.

Maybe go and experiment and do what sounds best, but don't assume that tuning lower automatically puts you where you need to be. Also, don't make the assumption that plying in standard is going to make the sound thin. They can play lower than you, if you let them, but they can't reproduce the same frequencies that you can. That's what makes the sound thick and bold. You don't think that standard tuned bassists in bands with stand tuned guitars sound thin, so playing in standard wont automatically make you sound that way.
...it was bright as the sun, but with ten times the heat
#4
File the nut slots to accommodate the larger strings. You can actually do this using the string itself if you have a normal plastic nut.

If done this plenty of time to accommodate chunky strings and tapewounds, nuts are dirt cheap to replace too.
#5
have you tried using an octave pedal?

failing that, you can make your bass sound fatter with a bassier timbre by messing with settings and different kinds of strings. even different pickups sound bassier than others.
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!
Last edited by patticake at Nov 9, 2015,
#6
Here's another thing;

Most guitar players (even those with 8-strings) can't actually get into your bass region in part because their amps and speakers won't go there. It's like listening to a kick drum on the 5" speaker in your car. Your ear knows that someone has made the sound, but it's completely different from the *actual* sound you would hear live.

Your bass amp *will* reproduce bass notes and if you've got reasonable power working, you'll have a significant presence where they ain't, no downtuning required.
#7
Quote by patticake
have you tried using an octave pedal?


What bass speaker do you know of that will reproduce a bass taken down an octave from where a bass already works? Or are you thinking "fool the ear" here?
#8
to a great degree i was thinking fool the ear. if it sounds deeper... well, it might as well be, even if it isn't, ya know?

Quote by dspellman
What bass speaker do you know of that will reproduce a bass taken down an octave from where a bass already works? Or are you thinking "fool the ear" here?
Quote by Skeet UK
I just looked in my Oxford English Dictionary and under "Acoustic Guitar", there was your Avatar and an email address!