homepage   sevenstring guitars   sevenstring registry   subscription   spy 
Sevenstring.org - The Seven String Guitar Authority
Go Back   SevenString.org > Music Discussion > Bass Guitar Discussion
LIKE SS.org on Facebook FOLLOW SS.org on Twitter
  
Bass Guitar Discussion All bass guitar related discussion here.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-28-2011, 10:04 PM   #1
Czar_4514
ss.org Regular
 
Czar_4514's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Riverside,CA
Posts: 7
Thanked: 0
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Question 6 String Bass Tuning

I play an Ibanez 6 string bass and haven't really tuned lower than Drop C but Im going to be trying out for a band and they are in Drop Ab.Now I feel like a complete noob but what exactly is Drop Ab tuning for 6 string bass and what gauge strings do you recommend?

The music is a very progressive feel.
Czar_4514 is offline   Reply With Quote
Advertisement
Old 07-28-2011, 10:14 PM   #2
Origin
Rainbow In The Dark
 
Origin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,466
Thanked: 10
Feedback Score: 16 reviews
Drop Ab would require tuning down the low B string 3 semitones and the rest one semitone, I'm pretty sure. So high to low it would be

B
Gb
Db
Ab
Eb
Ab

I'd recommend a fairly thick gauge compared to regular ones, but nothing insanely huge. It's not short-scale so slightly thick strings would do fine

Praise the sun!
Origin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2011, 10:15 PM   #3
Demeyes
SS.org Regular
 
Demeyes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Ireland
Posts: 1,478
Thanked: 12
Feedback Score: 3 reviews
I'd tune the whole six strings down a half step with a dropped low string to AbEbAbDbGbB. I'm not sure what gauge would be best, what scale is the bass?
Demeyes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2011, 10:20 PM   #4
Czar_4514
ss.org Regular
 
Czar_4514's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Riverside,CA
Posts: 7
Thanked: 0
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Its a 34' scale length.
I like how GHS Boomers feel but I dont think they make 6-string bass strings if Im not mistaken.What would you recommend?

And thanks again you guys.
Czar_4514 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2011, 10:33 PM   #5
SirMyghin
The Dirt Guy
 
SirMyghin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Anywhere but here.
Posts: 7,875
Thanked: 41
Feedback Score: 3 reviews
for Ab you are going to want at least a .135 on the Ab, that is about the biggest 'standard' size unfortunately. This is the plight of 34" scales, maybe try DR DDTs or something, I use a .125 of that inplace of the .135 I used to use for low B on my 5 banger and it feels better and is very clear. I would still go heavier for lower though.

Guitar techs are for sissies.

Learn some damn music theory, don't complain, and you'll be a better person. -Schecterwhore

Show me a truly awesome guitar for under $1000 and I'll show you hateful lies.
SirMyghin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2011, 11:07 PM   #6
danieluber1337
☻☺☻☼☺☻☺
 
danieluber1337's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: St. Joseph, MO
Posts: 519
Thanked: 11
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I would try Elixir strings.

I.

Love.

Elixir.




Strings.

I'm trying to see if they will manufacture a 0.060" gauge string for guitar, and make a 7-string set that's for drop G or Ab.

They only make a 5-string set, but you can add a 6th string. Here's the link. I would recommend their standard 5-string set along with the 0.135" string. That is, if you don't mind buying online. I think it's totally worth it though... especially for bass. Their strings keep their clarity for a longer time, due to how they put the coating on it.


"i think you are right - the bass seems lower than the guitars" - Jogeta

Inside Black Mesa - Progressive Metal

WIP - Would love feedback!

Multitracking Guitars - A Short Guide - by yours truly!
danieluber1337 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-28-2011, 11:34 PM   #7
Czar_4514
ss.org Regular
 
Czar_4514's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Riverside,CA
Posts: 7
Thanked: 0
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
I think Im just gonna buy a complete set.My old ones are pretty worn out and I want to have that new string sound so now I know where to get em at.Thanks for the tips.
Czar_4514 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 12:18 AM   #8
danieluber1337
☻☺☻☼☺☻☺
 
danieluber1337's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: St. Joseph, MO
Posts: 519
Thanked: 11
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
No prob.

Welcome to sevenstring.org

"i think you are right - the bass seems lower than the guitars" - Jogeta

Inside Black Mesa - Progressive Metal

WIP - Would love feedback!

Multitracking Guitars - A Short Guide - by yours truly!
danieluber1337 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 01:18 AM   #9
ZEBOV
Banned
 
ZEBOV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Suburbs of Memphis, TN
Posts: 2,562
Thanked: 38
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
There's no sense in using a drop tuning on bass because you're not playing chords with it.

EDIT: Well, not with the lower strings.
ZEBOV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 02:44 AM   #10
thedarkoceans
Banned
 
thedarkoceans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Forlě,Italy
Posts: 864
Thanked: 58
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
i tuned in that way on my fender jazz bass 5 string for a while.if it hasnt got 35" scale dont do it.
thedarkoceans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 03:22 AM   #11
EtherealEntity
Tom Winspear
 
EtherealEntity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Southend-on-Sea, Essex, U.K
Posts: 10,125
Thanked: 105
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
I use this tuning on 35". D'addario .145 gauge, JUST about cuts it so I wouldn't go any thinner on a 34".
I buy a 4 string set and two singles (superlong so they don't taper off too early).

EXL170SL
XB145SL
XLB032

Custom ergonomic guitar picks ~ Designed to optimize your technique and tone. Built to last.
http://www.winspearpicks.com
http://www.facebook.com/Winspearpicks
http://www.tomwinspear.com
EtherealEntity is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 09:54 AM   #12
Explorer
He seldomly knows...
 
Explorer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Formerly from Cucaramacatacatirimilcote...
Posts: 6,131
Thanked: 114
Feedback Score: 3 reviews
I've never really considered using a drop tuning on bass. I guess I think of bass as a form of melodic instrument, with double stops and chords being a rarity.

I always think of drop tunings which break the fourths pattern on guitar being necessary for some because it makes it easier for them to hold down certain chords and to just easily reach across to hit the octave/fifth/fourth of a particular chord.

I'm curious. What is the motivation for using a drop tuning on bass? What advantages come from breaking the fourths bass pattern? Is anyone who's doing this coming from a background of bass playing, or does this come from someone just mirroring what they already do on guitar?

If the latter... does this mean that the basslines being played just mirror the same sonic and rhythmic space of the guitar as well? How do you make the basslines distinctive, in that case?

I own a couple of basses, 4-, 5- and 6-string, fretted and fretless, and I think of them as distinct instruments from my ERGs, with distinct techniques. I'm always interested to hear of different approaches, and the motivations behind those.

If you don't care enough to research your own question, why should anyone else care more?

"Pay no attention to his long winded posts... (Explorer) seldomly knows what he's talking about."

"Actual knowledge and a google bookmark are very different things." Anonymous neg-repper
Explorer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 10:31 AM   #13
Waelstrum
All Fourths Advocate
 
Waelstrum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,281
Thanked: 4
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Yeah, whenever people want to mirror the bass and guitar tunings, it normally seems to me like the majority of the basslines are intended to be doubling the rhythm guitar down an octave. I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing, it is certainly a good way to get that heavy homophonic metal sound.

It's not just limited to metal and guitars, though. Many double basses have extensions on the low string to get down to low C to allow the doubling of cello lines.
Waelstrum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 10:38 AM   #14
EtherealEntity
Tom Winspear
 
EtherealEntity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Southend-on-Sea, Essex, U.K
Posts: 10,125
Thanked: 105
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
Yep I also drop tune my bass to mirror guitar riffs. It's not the only way, no, but in my opinion it usually is going to sound best. Of course different fills here and there to make the bass line stand out, and distinct sections where the bass is upfront doing something different.

It just makes sense to me to be able to mirror shapes that the guitar plays, on bass. Not necessarily chords, but riffs using arpeggios, etc.

Having the bass in drop tuning makes it easier to mirror the guitar whenever you do wish to do so, and doesn't make anything else any harder in my opinion.

Custom ergonomic guitar picks ~ Designed to optimize your technique and tone. Built to last.
http://www.winspearpicks.com
http://www.facebook.com/Winspearpicks
http://www.tomwinspear.com
EtherealEntity is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 10:42 AM   #15
Waelstrum
All Fourths Advocate
 
Waelstrum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,281
Thanked: 4
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Is having a fifth there not a bit hard for scalic (sp) runs on the bottom strings? It seems like quite a stretch, I can only just make that sort of stretch on a 34" bass at around the 5th fret, and at that point it's basically guitar fret size.
Waelstrum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 11:02 AM   #16
EtherealEntity
Tom Winspear
 
EtherealEntity's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Southend-on-Sea, Essex, U.K
Posts: 10,125
Thanked: 105
Feedback Score: 2 reviews
^ True. I've thought about it before when playing guitar, even, and it's my only problem with drop tuning. That said, I don't really tend to do runs on the bottom strings.
I guess it definitely depends on your playing style.
I'm soon getting a guitar in EA EADGBE tuning, and my playing style is illustrated there. No runs on the bottom strings, just played like a 6 string guitar with octaves available at the same fret. I guess my bass playing is similar as I tend to follow the guitar on anything involving low strings. Unique lines I tend to always play much higher.

Custom ergonomic guitar picks ~ Designed to optimize your technique and tone. Built to last.
http://www.winspearpicks.com
http://www.facebook.com/Winspearpicks
http://www.tomwinspear.com
EtherealEntity is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 11:58 AM   #17
SirMyghin
The Dirt Guy
 
SirMyghin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Anywhere but here.
Posts: 7,875
Thanked: 41
Feedback Score: 3 reviews
Quote:
Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
I'm curious. What is the motivation for using a drop tuning on bass? What advantages come from breaking the fourths bass pattern? Is anyone who's doing this coming from a background of bass playing, or does this come from someone just mirroring what they already do on guitar?
Mirroring and boring basslines is the name of the game. You see it with guitars too, everyone wants the entire band in the same tuning for some reason. I used to play with a guitarist who dropped D when I played a 4 bang, I did not drop with him. My bass lines are a little meatier and melodic than that. Not static.

Guitar techs are for sissies.

Learn some damn music theory, don't complain, and you'll be a better person. -Schecterwhore

Show me a truly awesome guitar for under $1000 and I'll show you hateful lies.
SirMyghin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 06:05 PM   #18
ixlramp
SS.org Regular
 
ixlramp's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: UK
Posts: 1,717
Thanked: 90
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Quote:
Originally Posted by EtherealEntity View Post
I use this tuning on 35". D'addario .145 gauge, JUST about cuts it so I wouldn't go any thinner on a 34".
This is exactly my experience too. A D'Addario .145 at Ab on 35" is at the limit of good tone. On 34" it might just work (I would recommend 145 + 100-40set + 28)

Even better is a specially designed 'drop tune' set from Circle K Strings: Circle K Strings - Standard Drop-tuned 6 Strings. These 'balanced tension' sets have gauges chosen to result in equal tension on each string in the drop tuning. I recommend the .150 set or heavier, the Ab will sound much better than a .145.
ixlramp is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 07:15 PM   #19
Ryan-ZenGtr-
SS.org Regular
 
Ryan-ZenGtr-'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: London
Posts: 1,662
Thanked: 13
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Quote:
Explorer....

...drop tunings which break the fourths pattern on guitar...
I was playing bass in a technical metal band .... chug chug chugga chug chug wwwweeee ooppp chug chugga ....

Morse code metal, if you will.

There was a long period where I refused to play in a drop tuning on my 6 string bass, but practicality forced me to relent and tune my bass the same as the guitarist.

Drop tuning creates stretches that just aren't worth the bother on bass.

But I would definitely mention that playing in drop tuning stifles the imagination as the cycle of fourths is broken!

Let's say your a genius, probably not then, but for learners it is a crippling habit. That's what I saw anyway. Not one of my drop D or lower die hard friends ever got great at lead or chordal playing, but did all develope unique takes on the complex rythmn metal style.

Anyway... Bass thread = Gratuitous Bass Videos!!!









And one of my teachers... Mr Dave Marks! :hugs: +9 chords

Ryan-ZenGtr- is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 10:21 PM   #20
Explorer
He seldomly knows...
 
Explorer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Formerly from Cucaramacatacatirimilcote...
Posts: 6,131
Thanked: 114
Feedback Score: 3 reviews
I dunno... the idea of the bassline always being in lockstep with the guitar just seems like a lost opportunity to make one's music interesting. However, it *does provide* an opportunity... for those who want to build something which stands out from that lockstep crowd.

Even just using a pedal point can make something so much heavier on a four-string bass than any amount of downtuning.




I guess it's all up to personal preference. I don't like traditional Irish music seisúns for the same reason; everyone playing the same thing in unison just holds no interest for me, and I'd rather go to the most basic jazz or blues jam instead.

Horses for courses, I suppose.

If you don't care enough to research your own question, why should anyone else care more?

"Pay no attention to his long winded posts... (Explorer) seldomly knows what he's talking about."

"Actual knowledge and a google bookmark are very different things." Anonymous neg-repper
Explorer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2011, 11:48 PM   #21
SirMyghin
The Dirt Guy
 
SirMyghin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Anywhere but here.
Posts: 7,875
Thanked: 41
Feedback Score: 3 reviews
Quote:
Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
I dunno... the idea of the bassline always being in lockstep with the guitar just seems like a lost opportunity to make one's music interesting. However, it *does provide* an opportunity... for those who want to build something which stands out from that lockstep crowd.
I'm not really quite sure what happened to basslines, but I pin it around the 80s (as the 50s, 60s, and 70s had some great bass lines and players) that they started shadowing guitar, and playing a lot more root static lines. Nothing but a octave under the guitar constantly. Kind of like all the bass players were used up and people were looking for a spot in their band for a friend and well, that works. Somewhere along the way people forgot the bass was an instrument and effectively reduced it to a rhythmic tool for the guitarist, strictly their to enforce his bottom end. I have never understood this either, but I have neglected, or been barred from playing with folks over it.

At the end of the day it always worked like this, I am going to play bass my way, and if you don't like it, I won't play. There tends to be a very good reason I don't play much metal on bass, for practice or otherwise.

This thread seems to have gone a bit astray, but hopefully it proves enlightening.

Guitar techs are for sissies.

Learn some damn music theory, don't complain, and you'll be a better person. -Schecterwhore

Show me a truly awesome guitar for under $1000 and I'll show you hateful lies.
SirMyghin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2011, 03:03 AM   #22
Explorer
He seldomly knows...
 
Explorer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Formerly from Cucaramacatacatirimilcote...
Posts: 6,131
Thanked: 114
Feedback Score: 3 reviews
I just went to YouTube to find a video with someone doing a bass cover of one of my favorite songs... and I ran across one of the evils of tabulature. It's like everyone learned this song without ever really listening to the original... even though they're playing along to a recording of it! WTF?

Anyway... here's a piece I play anytime I get a new-to-me bass over the transom. (Today it was a minty Cort Curbow 6-strring, with amazingly low action and comfortable strings. Normally I'd immediately order the appropriate light-gauge Chromes, but this came in with Foderas on it, and I'm kind of liking how it is.)

Anyway, here's a track from one of the albums from which I first learned deep lessons about music composition. I bought it when it first came out, and devoured every composition, and learned every instrument line. I actually learned guitar from the piano, forever ruining me for normal chord voicings, and the basslines remain a thing of beauty.

So, from the album Aja from Steely Dan (and what could be more metal than being named after a steam-powered dildo in a William S. Burroughs' novel?), I present you with... Josie.


If you don't care enough to research your own question, why should anyone else care more?

"Pay no attention to his long winded posts... (Explorer) seldomly knows what he's talking about."

"Actual knowledge and a google bookmark are very different things." Anonymous neg-repper
Explorer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2011, 03:09 AM   #23
Waelstrum
All Fourths Advocate
 
Waelstrum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Queensland, Australia
Posts: 1,281
Thanked: 4
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Quote:
Originally Posted by Explorer View Post
steam-powered dildo










Wow, I'm immature.
Waelstrum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2011, 11:40 PM   #24
Czar_4514
ss.org Regular
 
Czar_4514's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Riverside,CA
Posts: 7
Thanked: 0
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Well what tuning would you recommend?The band plays in Drop Ab and I use a 6 string bass with 34' scale length.
If anyone has some alternate tunings that would please let me know.

And also,I dont mimic the guitar most of the time.Of course I do play the roots so some parts but on other sections of songs I do not usually mimic and copy what the guitarist is doing.I prefer going off and play a melody upon melody but of course while in key and not just some random crap.

So for the Low B get something in the .130-.145 range?
Czar_4514 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2011, 11:41 PM   #25
Czar_4514
ss.org Regular
 
Czar_4514's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Riverside,CA
Posts: 7
Thanked: 0
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
And for the record,its not really just bland technical death metal.Actually,its not even death metal at all.Tis Progressive Metal.
Czar_4514 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
bass 6 string drop tuning

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:13 PM.


Our Network: PRS Guitar Forum | Luthier Forum | SG Guitar Forum | Les Paul Forum | Marshall Amp Forum | Acoustic Guitar Forum

SS.org proudly supports St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Copyright © 2004-2016, SevenString.org. All Rights Reserved.