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Discussion in 'Live Performance & Stage Sound' started by lewis, Jul 24, 2015.
this thread makes bassists look like bigger whiners than drummers.....
I don't think it's whiny to not want to perform moderate modifications to your instrument to play someone else's low-ass tuning
I play a 6 string bass in a band that uses 8 strings, they tune to standard F# and drop E.
I just tune my top 5 strings up a step to be in unison, and then leave my B string in B. That way all of the strings on my bass match the 8 string notes except I have the low B to chuck it up every now and then.
But honestly, playing in unison is sick because it sounds like one GINORMOUS riff with 3 players in unison with different tones.
saves money and time and opens your options a lot, tuning up a step isn't hard for any bassist. 4 stringers can too!
Such a low and specific tuning is narrowing your options quite a lot.
I would either transpose the tuning up (coming from the fact you said songs are written already) or tell the bassist to tune up (by the way, tuning up will give the whole mix a lot more clarity. see Meshuggah's approach).
Either way, good music is not defined by tuning. I wouldn't kill myself for the right to play in drop G exactly.
Music is written, band is ready to go, songs are finished. Anybody coming in now is going to have to adapt to what exists and would be kind of an ass to expect the band to work around what they're tuning to. A "musician" bassist would be able to play along whether he retuned or not, but its not jazz/blues/dad-rock and that low rumble is probably necessary to creating the atmosphere and feel that exists in the material, as-written.
I had heaps of songs written and riffs written in drop B before my band formed - recorded and everything.
But I still redid them in F# standard with my buddies for the band. And it was fun redoing the songs with fresh perspectives and also the ideas from my new band mates.
Idk I think youll find that flexibility is a two way street, and for the bassist to be flexible - you have to be flexible too, and youll probably have to compromise between yourself and whoever plays bass. Otherwise it limits your options quite a lot
A_Branger speaks the truth here.
Any serious musician should be able to transpose a song to suit the instruments of the ensemble. Jazzers do it all the time on the fly, to match brass sections or singers. With metal guitars I guess it really boils down to changing the tuning. Elkinz already pointed out that that can also open up new perspectives and enrich the creative process. I simply can't believe a good song only "works" in a certain tuning.
Refusing to change the tuning sounds a bit like a meathead attitude to me, sorry.
The key thing to remember is that flexibility in general goes a long way to finding band members.
too lazy to read every post, but i'd like to rant a little..
been in the op's situation before, was in a band that tuned: drop-G and drop-A. even with a laid-back/welcoming approach, I found that most people weren't confident enough in their own creativity to write/play to our material. some were honest about it, while others simply didn't fit --which was ok. we'd just move on. a minimal level of proficiency was expected, but nothing drastic. just be able to play/contribute on your own and be willing to practice. actually, practice is very important.
I don't think it's immediately necessary to change tunings to suit a situation. I find differences in whole steps more manageable over half steps, however. in my case, I'd take extra time to learn the material and see what I can add to it using what I already know. approaching auditions, i'd try to get ahold of any type of recording available so i'd have something prepared. i'd at least give it a good hard shake before giving up. I tend to focus on the fact that its up to me to make it work, especially with a project I like. generally, I don't expect any concessions outside of what's previously arranged and the usual congenial welcome.
the best and worst part about being in a band is relying on other people. seems like too many 'perfect coincidences' need to happen for it to work. when it does work, its great and I do miss it. I wouldn't worry about changing tunings or re-writing material. I know it's tough when everyone else is ready to play shows, move forward, etc.. just try to move on with what you have until the right people find you. we made the mistake of 'forcing it' with too much compromise and ended up dissolving.
I do agree on you on the fact that they are your songs, or better said your bands songs. So anyone who wish to join the band would have to deal with the fact that those songs are already written. Yes, as a part of a band you need to "compromise", but I would say that would be for the next songs to be written with the new guy, for now you have your songs, so they should be the one compromising first. So stick with your songs. To find a bass player is gonna be hard, but if one comes by that really digs your music, he wont have problem to adapt to it..... its jsut due to reasons already said before, is gonna be hard to find
yeah we might come accross as whiny, but I come back to my point
grab a 7 or 8 string guitar...... tune to E1....jam with it.... its awesome to play it
grab a 4 or 5 string bass...... tune to E0.....jam with it....... not so awesome to play anymore right?
May I ask why does the bass player needs to have the same tuning as the guitar? A bass and a guitar are two completely different sounding instruments. The difference is big enough to make the same played note be heard by both instruments.
Here's the thing, I play a 7 string guitar in a band with regular tuning, from low B to high E. The bass player has a 4 string bass with half step down on all strings. WE PLAY IN TUNE WITH EACH OTHER, go figure... I already played with him with my 8 stringer and my lower note was a half step higher than his... and we played in tune!
Some times we find that my guitar gets in conflict we the bass sound, so we work in order to experiment new approaches to his or my playing so we both get heard... and we get it to work. So me with an ERG and he with a regular 4 stringer in regular tuning (half step down ain't much) and we make it functional. There is no need for matching tuning, only for matching music and that can be arranged.
hence why lots of ppl here are saying to make the bass player to tune at the same of his 8 string guitar, and/or jsut play in the same octave Like meshuga does. His 4th string is the same as the 8 string of the guitar, so any riff there he plays in unison. Unless the guitar players goes to "7 string" territory, he then goes to his normal 5th string which is an octave lower than the regular 7 string
IMO if your band plays in standar 7 string B. Then your bass player should have a 5 string to go with your B. Of course he can go with the same octave B than you, but it will sound better going an octave lower. Nothing wrong with both settups, but generally bass should go an octave lower in order to add the lower note of the chord. The problem comes when ERG and de-tuned 8 string guitars that makes the "octave lower bass" approach far to low to be enjoyable for a bass player, and to actually add something to the music. Thats the grey area we are debating here.
you can have any weird tuning that you want on your bass. I have played songs on my standard BEADG tuning while the guitar was in standdar C and other song with drop D or C#. And Im fine, I just needed to re-write and learn the new fret positions to acomodate for it. As long as you can play the same lower note as the guitar would (ideally the octave lower, or same) then you should be fine.
The thing with keeping the same tuning as the guitar comes with being eassy to translate your playing. Like in a jam session I can see what the guitar player is doing and I just mimic what hes doing, instead of thinking "my low string is 2 steps higuer, my 4th string is one, my 3rd is one an half... etc". Also depending on your style of Metal and the riff you are playing, you might wont be able to play it if you dont tune the same. Think about if you make a riff using your low B as a core muting chunk while you press all other sequences of notes in betweens yours "0-0-0-0". How your bass player with a Eb-Ab-Db-Gb is gonna follow that?, unless he wont play the "0", then the riff wont have the same punch
We did find a bassist who is now on board and a permanent fixture. The guy is a total legend and even travels 60 miles every weekend for a practice. We really scored lucky with him.
He has a LTD 5 string bass which is amazing. He didnt even mention tunings or anything regards to the tuning we are in being a problem. He asked what we were using and the tabs for the tracks. Then turned up to the first audition with thicker gauges, tuned to our tuning (I think though he has his Low an octave lower so we might be able to make it easier for him by doing the Meshuggah thing. Hadnt thought about that until reading above /\ ) Had the tracks learnt and everything sounded great.
He has also brought an expertise in live lighting (he does it for a job) and also backing track/computer/sample sounds live too which is awesome.
To add too, my tuning really isnt that low for all the guys saying it is in this thread. Im on an 8 string yes BUT Ive tuned right up to Drop G# on it so its way above standard tuning for an 8 string which gives me way better tension. Sadly yes the high string is more prone to break now but everything still sounds way better and my newest track the low is even tuned even higher to Ab for a standard power chord setup. All this is way above Drop E or standard 8 string tuning. So Ive certainly made it easier for guys to play with this.
It really depends on what you want to do. I play an 8 in drop E, our bassist plays a six-string tuned down to E0 standard. That was his idea, so he invested in the proper strings and a set-up, and his bass plays like a dream from a performance perspective. He's got the same tension/action as you would have in a B-standard tuning. Admittedly, there are some caveats to amplification in that range, but he has a good grasp on when to stay in my octave, and when to rattle bowels. A bassist CAN play most music in standard tuning, but we're talking heavy stuff here, where that octave banger is necessary from time to time.
OP, cool you found a bassist!
A-Branger: my band is a power trio, so the guitar and bass lines are different and complementary to each other, which allows for everyone to be heard nicelly. It also allows for the bass player to keep his tuning as he wants. We are not in the game that we have to do the same thing to be punchier or heavier or whatever and we don't loose the groove, by the way.
lewis: good to know everything worked out.
cool, if it works for you guys then great happy days it is just thats not the case for everyone else, so in other music styles you cant get away with the bass player being in a waaay different tuning as the guitars. That was my point, not taking a go at your band
awesome Lewis! glad you found someone. Go record some track and share some music
woohoo! nice one man. He sounds pretty on to it if he shows prepared like that
yeah he really is. Quality guy. He is one of those musicians thats had experience playing everything. Done Folk metal, random Funeral/doom sounding stuff, hard trance/metal mash ups, Jazz, blues.
Very good track record.
Also he has his bass tuned so that the low is an octave below, and the next is the same octave as me so he can pick and choose what octave to be in. Pretty cool. He is a fan of the material and just seems really enthusiastic. Defo got lucky with this guy, especially as before it was a nightmare hence the reason I made this thread haha.
I would be interested to hear more peoples experiences on band member recruitment actually. From both sides of the fence.
I've been looking for a second guitarist to play lead for literally 7 years.... everytime I send them tabs they disappear. Don't know if its the low tuning, the atonality, the dissonance, the lack of (standard) structure or what... might be be all the poop jokes...maybe I smell funny? My GF told me the universe simply will not allow it.
I met my guitarist in the opposition music store to my work. We bought products from each other ahhahhaa. He was playing his tunes in his part of the store one day and I asked if hed email me it so I could jam over it - and he really liked it. And so we met up and started writing and slowly found other members and all of them are amazing people and musicians. The drummer was the hardest to find - we went through heaps of them in trials but found a good buddy who was keen and hes a MACHINE.
We all have heaps of fun playing which is what matters Almost done recording an album together!! gigs are a blast, its wicked.
This was our first gig (my bass wasn't very suited to tuning up so I used a capo - I look like a dick I know hahaha. I soon after got a Ibanez fan fret 6 string and its amazing now.) This gig was insanely fun, first metal gig iv ever done haha. Full house and super rad people with us!~
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