Bass string gauge for drop tuned 8-string guitar DADGCFAD

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by techmetalshred, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. techmetalshred

    techmetalshred SS.org Regular

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    Hello, I am in the process of recording an EP for my progressive metal band, Divitius, and I am wondering what bass string gauges would be appropriate to play one octave below my down tuned 8 string guitars. I am looking at basses with at least 35" scale length.

    My guitar is tuned to DADGCFAD, and ideally, i'd like to use a 6 string bass tuned to DADGCF.

    Is it even possible to tune a bass that low with decent clarity?

    Here is a sample track from our upcoming EP if anyone is interested in listening. The bass is programmed in this mix:

    [SC]https://soundcloud.com/jleonjohnson/track-4-1-31-16[/SC]
     
  2. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Kalium Strings have string sets for drop tunings and gauges large enough for DADGCF:
    6 String Sets - Standard Scale - Balanced Drop Tune Tension - Hybrid Bass Strings - Shop By Material - Electric Bass Guitar
    These sets have equal tension strings in a drop tuning. The tension chart for 35" is:
    http://store.kaliumstrings.com/TensionCalculator/tensionChart.php?scale_length=35
    'Medium' tension is roughly 40 pounds, 'extra light' tension and Kalium's recommended minimum is 30 pounds so choose the set based on what tension you like.
    So extra light; .200 set, medium: .232 set.
    Strings that thick are not very clear but Kaliums are apparently excellent strings.
    Make sure you have a slotted top-loading bridge otherwise the big strings will have problems, Kalium strings have a short tapered section so won't work strung through-body.
    Sound samples for drop Ab https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNvl_agBqXI
     
  3. Action

    Action SS.org Regular

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    ^ It's doable, but this.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHiBnqdvU28 Here's one clean example. I believe he pauses on E0 at :19 and then goes down to B below. E0 is about as far as I find musical.

    There is a lot going on in the mix in the low D parts of your song, particularly with the kick, that may present a challenge to make a D0 really stand out to the listener and sound different from both a D1 and a bass drop.
     
  4. iron blast

    iron blast Northern Winds

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    Try finding a Ibanez btb 6 string used and load her with the kalium strings then you should be set. The only thing left will be finding cabs rated low enough to handle the low D string. The main ones I know are kalium, accugroove, bag end, green boy, and phil Jones all of which are pretty pricey and they are require a substantial amount of wattage so you will also have to factor the cost of a high power amp and preamp.
     
  5. techmetalshred

    techmetalshred SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the info guys, I use Kalium for guitar strings already, which worked out great. I was also looking at the Ibanez BTB 6, so that is reassuring that I was looking in the right direction.
     
  6. xwmucradiox

    xwmucradiox sweep.tap.sweep

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    I'd go with a more specialized bass for tuning that low. 35" just isn't going to cut it. Even with my Dingwall I'm not sure I would be able to go that low. You probably want a Quake bass or something 40" scale.
     
  7. ProtoTechDeath

    ProtoTechDeath SS.org Regular

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    I feel like, in a mix with super-down-tuned-8-strings-guitars, you ain't going to hear that low E0.

    Maybe this is a dumb suggestion other people have tried, but why don't you just have your bass in a regular drop-D tuning? You're playing the same octave as your guitar, sure, but the bass generates better fundamental tones, where the guitar has more harmonic content in the transient. The sound still gets filled out nicely. And, if you really feel you need that sub octave, just run the bass through an octave pedal, or even just put a synth bass down there. That way at least you can still have a normal feeling bass that isn't a completely monster to play.

    As mentioned above, it just seems to be impractical to try and get an instrument to play notes that low... especially when those notes are pretty much at the bottom end of the human capacity to register pitch.

    The Deftones do that sort of thing on Diamond Eyes, Stephen plays on an 8 string while Sergio stays in the same octave on a 5 string bass.

    Also, in my band, I play a baritone guitar in drop A, but my bass player stays in E-standard. No loss of low-end, I guarantee you.

    Edit: I think Action is suggesting you do exactly this in the quote I grabbed when he says you won't hear a big difference between playing in D1 and using a bass drop.
     
  8. Masoo2

    Masoo2 SS.org Regular

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    You are just recording the bass for now, right?

    If so, I think a low D would be perfectly manageable.

    Lose some low end fundamental? Just throw Waves MaxxBass on there.

    You could do literally anything to edit the tone if you are recording, so even a low C would probably be okay.
     
  9. akinari

    akinari no change, only age

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    Here's my two cents man. Any time I tune lower than F#, I just keep the bass in the same octave, so if I'm doing drop C#1, my bass is tuned G# C# G# C# or G# C# F# B E. It still fills out the sound perfectly even though I'm only in a different octave from my guitar from the second string upwards.

    More power to anybody going down to F0 and lower. It's definitely possible with even 34" scale basses, but whether or not you like the tone is entirely up to you and how you use your stuff.

    Although you didn't ask for my opinion, I think you would probably benefit from going the same route. In a full mix, you won't miss D0 much. That being said, forum member Tiger got some great sounding E, Eb and D0s on his last album, but he was using REALLY light strings compared to what I (and a large portion of other members here, I feel) would be comfortable using - something like a 174 on a 35" scale. Listen here for examples Weights | Iechine
     
  10. techmetalshred

    techmetalshred SS.org Regular

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    I appreciate the insight, my bass player plays a 5 string dingwall (the Nolly model) and it is tuned to ADGCF, so his lowest D is in the same octave as our 8 strings but he can still go lower to the A string when we play chords that are a bit higher, which gives a heavy sounding vibe.
     
  11. techmetalshred

    techmetalshred SS.org Regular

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    The bass that we have in our mix is actually programmed using this plug-in called Trillian, which turned out pretty decent but I feel like the tone is still not as good as using a real bass, which I am hoping to track with eventually. I'll look into MaxxBass though.
     
  12. techmetalshred

    techmetalshred SS.org Regular

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    I agree with you on that, we may end up going with my bass players Dingwall 5 string that is tuned to ADGCF, with his lowest D string in the same octave as our 8-strings. It sounds pretty good live at our practice space.
     
  13. ProtoTechDeath

    ProtoTechDeath SS.org Regular

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    Funny, you guys are doing exactly what my band does, only down a fifth. I'm in drop A, while my bass player has a 35" scale length 5 string, but he tunes up; E-A-D-G-C. Exactly as you said, when I'm playing as low as possible, he rides that A string and everything still fills out pretty well, but then he can go down even further to the low E and still audibly shake the room. The extra scale length on the standard tuning helps him jump out in the mix, too, since his parts ended up far more technically demanding than mine :lol:
     
  14. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear Vendor

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    I tune to E0. 200 at 37" :) Also have used 190 in F at 35"
    If you are going to try it, don't skimp on the gauge. Especially with the price of the string. 232-250. imo the 232 has the minimum tension needed for these pitches. Complete lack of buzz and string noise is essential for the note not to be overpowered by noise, and you want to be able to pluck it hard because it will be quieter.
    It is very effective!
    Longer scale will do you well to add some clarity, but it isn't essential. The string will be significantly darker than the rest even with a long scale.
     

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