Drop G Tuning Bass

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by Pan3optic3on, Jul 21, 2015.

  1. Pan3optic3on

    Pan3optic3on SS.org Regular

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    Im using a 34" Sterling Sub Bass and Ive been trying to tune it to Drop G but it sounds a little flappy. I bought a .175 extra long scale string for it but its still struggling to intonate. Ive seen Gabe Crisp from Whitechapel use a 4 string bass thats tuned pretty low but cant get mine to sound right. Any ideas? :scratch::mad::wallbash:
     
  2. stevexc

    stevexc Laura Like Butter

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    34" is hugely suboptimal for Drop G.

    Gabe Crisp makes it work because he's either a) fine with it being floppy, b) has a much higher tolerance for intonation problems, c) has a professional setting his basses up regularly, or d) some combination of the above.

    The best option is to use a bass designed to be tuned down, at least a 35" scale.

    Barring that, invest in heavier, thinner strings like Kalium. Intonation problems are (in part) caused by the gauge of the string - the thicker it is, the further back you have to move the saddle. Strings like Kalium have more weight at smaller gauges, giving you more tension while decreasing the amount of distance you need to move the saddle.

    The other option is, and I'll put this bluntly for comedic effect, to just suck it up. Acclimate yourself to the lower tension and don't worry about the intonation as much. Or at least, make sure the notes you're actually playing are in tune - given my limited experience with Whitechapel I can't be sure but last I've heard there's not too much playing going on in the top half dozen frets on the thicker strings. Ergo, it's less important that the low G is intonated that high up, you've got a much higher tolerance for error.

    Keep in mind that his rig will likely be able to handle low notes as well. Going back and forth between my Ampeg (SVT 450 through 410HE) and my Fender Rumble 100 (V1) with my SR505, there's a huge tonal difference when I play my low B, even if the other 4 strings sound similar.
     
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  3. RobbYoung

    RobbYoung Psalm Mutes Fix Wars

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    I had a very similar problem when doing a similar thing (F# Standard on a 34" Squire PJ!) Turns out most bass are not made to sound good almost an octave below standard.

    I use a 175 on the low string, and for intonation you'll probably have to use your 12th harmonic instead of the open string to match tuning and intonation.

    Your signal path will be especially important at such a low tuning also. Make sure your pedal/DI/amp is suited to such playing.
     
  4. Systolic

    Systolic SS.org Regular

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    You filed the nut for that gauge string right? If not, that is one of many problems right there.
     
  5. Pan3optic3on

    Pan3optic3on SS.org Regular

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    Haha, yep. That was something that had me a bit nervous at first. It doesn't really house light strings tight anymore but its a f**k around bass for recording.
     
  6. Pan3optic3on

    Pan3optic3on SS.org Regular

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    Thanks for the info! I had realised after posting this I had gone back to the lighter string kinda like you had said using the lower notes.

    It seems to be better as I have loosen the string bar on the headstock holding down the 2nd and 3rd string. The tension seems better.

    Its more recording I struggle with at times I just cant seem to get the bass to sound right. Ive just done a recording where it sounds decent and wasnt to bad on the high notes.

    Are there any cheap basses that can hold drop g well? I play guitar so Im not so hot on my gauges and string tensions when it comes to bass.
    Are there 4 string bass in 35" scale?
     
  7. Pan3optic3on

    Pan3optic3on SS.org Regular

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    Yeah this is what I was finding. I picked up a DI box a few weeks back and it did help a lot. I dont think the pickup likes the low octave like you say. The other three strings are much brighter.
     
  8. Low Baller

    Low Baller SS.org Regular

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    Me personally I just transpose up, A is the lowest I tune a bass too IMO below that with guitars and drums in the mix the bass is gone. I will admit I am a baby and can't suck up lower tension, or intonation problems. Not saying tuning to drop G is wrong. I would recommend a 35" neck or invest in a fiver with thicker strings. But I know for me to just buy a new bass is not in my budget. You could try standard down a whole step (D,G,C,F#) you can transpose those open G riffs to what would be your A string. Honestly a guitar tuned to G is probably in the same octave as that string but that's not a bad thing IMO I find it keeps the bass present and makes it easier to keep the mix from getting muddy.
     
  9. Pan3optic3on

    Pan3optic3on SS.org Regular

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    I hadn't considered that but I think you might be right about the octave. It seems to be hard to mix the frequencies in that range with the G string. I normally cut low end on the 7 string to around 120hz but Im not sure if taking it down to around 40 hz would be better. I cant afford a 5 string at the moment even a cheap one so Ill give your idea a try. Cheers.
     
  10. xwmucradiox

    xwmucradiox sweep.tap.sweep

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    You could also get a pedal like the Digitech Drop to play in CGCF and drop it down a fifth. I know one bass player in a HUGE metal band does this for songs in a lower tuning live.
     
  11. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    yup, pretty much that. I too find that in a bass a limit should be A. Playing music in sub-sonic frequencies I dont really see the point of it. I understand the "want" on a guitar, but when you add a band and a bass, its just pushing it too far.

    Guitar becomes a bass - bass becomes rumble :nuts:

    also a 5 string bass wont make any difference. apart of coming with a nut already cut for ticker strings. You prob need longer scale.

    the drop tune pedal could be a solution. Taking for experience on using it on my guitar, if you have your bass on A (a whole step down from a standar 5 string) you can get the extra step with the pedal and it could sound good, it would only need a good re-eq. But pushing the pedal for a whole 5th is bit too much..... Donno, I have never tried on my bass tho, I dont play any song that requires down tune my bass from 5 string standard.
     
  12. xwmucradiox

    xwmucradiox sweep.tap.sweep

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    I play in G all the time on my Dingwall. Its low but its not really that crazy. The reinforcement below drop G guitar is impressive.
     
  13. Pan3optic3on

    Pan3optic3on SS.org Regular

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    If that's who I think you are reffering to then will I have a field day on my bass?

    [SC]https://soundcloud.com/pan3optic3on/roam-progress-riffages[/SC]

    This is no plug just riffs Im working on but its the closest Ive got to a decent bass sound. Im using an ampeg impulse through the lecab plugin. The low end seems best on certain cab microphones. Im also using a sansamp plugin to try and get some nice overdrive but that sounded absolutely awful. I heard a clip of a deftones cover using the sansamp plugin and the overdrive sounded amazing as was the cover. In fact its the only cover Ive heard by other band that sounded like the original.

    I still cant get anywhere near it. This is with the bass tuned G D G C. .175 on the low G. It intonates ok but cant deal with to much bending as it goes out of tune.
     
  14. Systolic

    Systolic SS.org Regular

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    Well definitely switch to Kalium strings. See if that fixes the intonation issue. I suspect it will (as much as it can on that bass,) as you shouldn't have to move the saddle as far back.
     
  15. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula Indeed.

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    Not so in my opinion, provided players have the right kind of strings and know how to eq and compress their tones to work well in the mix.




    This is a string demo recently posted in another thread here. The bassist is tuned to G standard - you can hear plenty of low G around 7:18, in a mix. To me, it still clearly sounds like a bass, and the guitar (though not my favorite tone) is clearly a guitar.

    Of course it's subjective and everyone has a right to their own opinion, but I think it sounds pretty good. :shrug:
     
  16. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    yeah I can hear it. But again the amount of times hes playing an actually "G" is pretty null compared with all the rest of the song. Something that makes it sound better overall. In a way is like hes playing a normal 5 or 4 string bass for 90% of the song. Only around the 8:20 mark where they stay longer on the lowG section is when it becomes more rumble-ish, even then they are adding other notes.

    Guitars are always going to sound "good", as not only they still are on the nice sound FQ spectrum, but they are more high pitched. Bass is delicate. Not many ppl know how to nicely EQ like this guy

    also care to notice that it only sounds good (or best) when he plays with a pick, as the pick adds more attack and lots of high pitch (saem reasons I dont like playing with a pick, as my EQ is setup for fingers), and adding a bit of dirt helps too. When he plays finger style clean, the soud gets lost a lot on the low end register G..... as I only play finger style and with no FX all clean, maybe thats why I dont like anything lower than my standard 5???

    Nothing wrong with this song. They actually move around the fretboard a lot. I Think my problem comes more when they only stay on the low low low end of their instruments.


    I Might as well be that grumpy old man yelling "this dam kids and their low tunings......back in my day....." LOL
     
  17. LordIronSpatula

    LordIronSpatula Indeed.

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    ^ All valid points. :yesway: Especially in regard to the percentage of time he actually uses the low notes. I believe having an instrument capable of extremes makes good compositional taste all the more important. For instance it seems lower notes tend to need a little more space - I don't think octave-doubling a tremolo-picked guitar line in that register would come through at all.

    I also agree that it sounded best with a pick. I noticed a woofy frequency in the low/low mids that seemed accentuated when he played fingerstyle. But I'm not sure if that's something he should EQ out or an issue with my headphones.
     
  18. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    yup thats pretty much my rant against such low tunings. And pl who only uy 8 string guitars just to stay in the low 5 frets of their instrument for 80% of the song and want a bass to do the octave of that
     
  19. Pan3optic3on

    Pan3optic3on SS.org Regular

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    Mmm I tried using the octave higher and it didn't sound right and havent the cash for a pitch shifter. I think ill put up with the bass as it is until I find a cheap 35" scale. Ive started to take a bit more high pass out of all the guitars and it seems to be doing the trick. Its probably because of there being more bass frequencies. Ill check out those strings that were mentioned also because the .175 is like a suspension bridge cable.
     
  20. Nlelith

    Nlelith SS.org Regular

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    I'm interested to buy one too, did a lot of research about cheap 5-string 35" scale basses, and I think that the best price/quality would be Schecter Session Stiletto or Session Riot. ESP LTD has some tasty models as well. Used Peavy Cirrus BXP 5 may be nice choice too.
     

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