How low would a bass player actually drop on their bass?

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by Un1corn, Dec 21, 2019.

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  1. Un1corn

    Un1corn I love ShirokaneRinko

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    Hi, I'm a guitar player, I'm using a dingwall soundbank. my guitar is mainly drop F# and G#, but I noticed that F#0 for a bass does not sound good, there is only crunchy sound with barely audible notes. G#0 is acceptable but still not so good, even it's on a 37 scale dingwall.
    Now there are 3 questions
    1) Would bass player actually drop F#0 on their bass?
    2) If not, what's the common way to play with a F#1 or G#1 guitar?
    3) What's the lowest note a bass player could accept on their bass?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Hexer

    Hexer Contributor

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    The "standard" way for extremely low tunings like F#, F, E I'd say is to play in unison with the guitars. In the same octave. It changes the sound and role of the bass a bit. Also means that rythms in B (your second lowest string) may sound somewhat heavier since the bass can play an octave below that which means lower bass than when you go to F#.

    Don't have experience on how low you could go on bass. Will depend also on the bass of course but a low B on 5-string bass is already pretty damn low. Doesn't seem to hard to go down to A and I think I've read people say they play as low ad G or something around that but I think it gets kind of a challenge to the equipment in use then and much lower probably starts getting impossible.
    There are things like the Quake Bass that has a 40" scale length but yea.... that's special cases I guess.

    Take my input with a grain of salt. I've only been a bassist for a few weeks and haven't tuned to anything else than 5-String standard low B. What info I have is what I read from other bassists and what I learned in my guitar playing years earlier.
     
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  3. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    I'd say almost everyone is dropping to G#, whilst the vast majority are playing F# and below in unison. Plenty of people dropping down still though.
    Yeah the Quake bass is really good for that, but I'm quite happy with 37" F#. Don't know how it sounds on your soundbank. I go all the way down to E myself but I use it for individual basslines, octaving etc - I've always maintained that unison is generally the heavier sound for your typical djent riff copying.
    For a guitar in drop F#, a bass in C# standard works well for riff copying as you have the same note strings. However C# is pretty high, I'd be inclined to keep the bass in a lower tuning so I could at least octave down riffs in A or so.
    Personally I would just keep the bass in drop F# too (because I find it handles well at 37" and fretted notes on a ~175 gauge sound ok even if you don't want to go down as far as the open string), even if you don't use it for open riffs. That said a thinner string in a higher tuning will of course sound better if you know you aren't going to go that low ever.
     
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  4. A-Branger

    A-Branger SS.org Regular

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    just play in unison, but EQ both instruments so they have their own space in the frequency spectrum

    remove most of the bass and low mids of the guitar... something you should have already been doing regardless of tunning, in order to leave the bass to do their job and to cut trough mix better

    then have the bass fill that void. but not be "bass"... the natura of the instrument would be lower as it is already, jsut need a little extre push... and as much you might love distorsion, leave the abss to be more cleaner sound too. That would help to have its on sound and place in the mix while giving you guitar the push it needs
     
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  5. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    There's a lot of "but if" here...

    It really depends on the bass player and the context.

    A lot of extreme metal guys are tuning up a whole step to get unison.

    Super low notes are difficult to create, but F#0 isn't really a pain for a thick enough string at 37"; however...
    A) most amplifiers have some difficulty with such a low frequency
    B) most speaker cabinets have some difficulty with such a low frequency, and most of all
    C) the human brain has some difficulty interpretting such a low frequency

    If you have long, droning notes, you can persue it, but even playing quarter notes at 120 bpm, F#0 sounds more like percussion, because the brain doesn't get enough information from the soundwave to figure out what it is hearing. Tonal sound is like a cycle of pressure on the ear. 25 Hz means that one piece of the pattern is repeated 25 times every second. The lower the frequency, the fewer repeats the brain gets to see, so it has a more difficult time figuring out the pattern. Add in the fact that the ears are having a more difficult time detecting the sound, and it means that those shorter low notes are more likely to just contribute noise.
     
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  6. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    It is quite dependent on taste, but F#0 can sound good, especially on a Dingwall scale. Strings that big vary a lot in how good they sound, try Kalium. G#0 is not particularly low and can certainly sound good. Detuning a B string, as many people do, will not work well, the gauge has to be increased.
    There are many extended range bassists using C#0 (17Hz, 2 fourths below B) on 34+" scales.
    A few are another fourth down at G#00 (13Hz), gauge .266 strings are available from Kalium.
    It is just a case of how much you are prepared to compromise tone for low pitch.
     
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  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Personally: Lowest I've gone myself on any released music is F0 (in 2015). That was on 35" scale with a fairly light string (0.165" IIRC) and using super light touch. I have two basses with 37" on the low side, but I generally keep those at A0, because it sounds right to me. I've messed with them a little bit, but I think I've grown out of the super-low vision quest. As I mentioned in my other post, you start getting to the point where the issues you face go beyond the bass itself.

    When I played in Khereb (2003-2006), our bassist used a 35" bass with a G0, and it sounded good to me, that's only a half step above your target. When I picked up his bass myself, though, I didn't like the weird responsiveness of the mammoth string, but I suppose you just get used to it.

    Do you have any sound samples you can post? It'd really help a lot trying to diagnose the problem and also understand your expectations.
     
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  8. Un1corn

    Un1corn I love ShirokaneRinko

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    Thanks for your reply!
    I uploaded 2 bass tones here, they all reached G#0.(the first one glitched a bit)
    Actually, I dont know which bass sounds right, or which tone is the tone bass should be.
     
  9. Un1corn

    Un1corn I love ShirokaneRinko

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    Thanks! Is there any good F#0 bass tone sample?
     
  10. GenghisCoyne

    GenghisCoyne im here to party

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    i once tuned a 35 inch scale 5 string to drop E0. i hated it so much i quit the band and moved 50 miles away.
     
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  11. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    The second one doesn't sound that bad to me. :shrug:
    They both sound like midi instruments, though.

    I'd explore the following:
    A) A real bass will sound more, well, real
    B) Mix the dirty sound with another track of clean. The clean will help the bass sound better on the low end, and the dirty will keep the tone better on the high notes. You can mix the two to taste, but best to do that as part of the final mixing process so the tone fits the final mix.
    C) Keep an open mind. The heavily gated tone sounds really cool to me, but I've never went with that for bass, myself. When writing for bass and guitar, I like to try to approach them with completely different mindsets.
     
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  12. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    I go down to F and F# a few times in this video, most notably around 3 25
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
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  13. Un1corn

    Un1corn I love ShirokaneRinko

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    Thank you!
     
  14. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    Drop Ab on 35" Ibanez, 37" Dingwall, stock strings and Kalium strings, comparison. Also some sustained Ab0 notes at 2:12:
     
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  15. cip 123

    cip 123 SS.org Regular

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    Not exactly sure what frequency but didn't Nolly have his 6 down in F# for Periphery? Maybe a look at his rig for some tips on sound?
     
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  16. Rev2010

    Rev2010 Contributor

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    I just tune my 35" 5-string down to F# as well. I tried using standard heavy strings and a ridiculously heavy string set, heard in the song below. I went back to the regular heavy set as the crazy drop tune set was way too thick at .170 for the lowest string. Now I use a D'Addario .145 for the low string and a D'Addario heavy 4-string set EXL260 I think it is. I play in A standard mostly but also have an 8-string guitar so when doing bass for that I downtune to F#, works perfectly fine. For B standard I just use a capo as tuning up is a lot of tension.

    https://soundcloud.com/blackingrace/all-will-be-dust-heavy-bass


    Rev.
     
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  17. Exchanger

    Exchanger SS.org Regular

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    I've experimented with down-tuning, and I also find G#0 to be a bit of a lower limit, in terms of tension, sound, tuning stability, string gauge etc...and it's on a 35" Ltd with that extra inch of scale and some active PU's / EQ bands tailored for heavy sound.
    Lower tension is not a huge problem as looser strings will go clank easier, but it will suck if you try to play fast and loud. To big a gauge will muddy up the sound even if the playability is better, and might not even fit in your bridge / mechanic.

    So what to do when you play an 8-strings in F# or drop E ? You can, as said above, play in unison or an octave below.
    When playing in unison, you indeed have to make sure bass and guitar are EQ'ed so they don't overlap too much.
    What I like to do : play in unison but with an octaver. So you get the low sound, but can still play in the normal range of a bass, so no weird setup, and no huge playability issue. I have like 40% dry signal to keep some attack and 60% of an octave lower. The raw sound of that will not be very nice, but in the mix it works just great.
    The breakdown at 8:50 is when the octaver kicks in (don't mind the loose timing of the guitar I'll definitely have to re-track that)
    https://soundcloud.com/nicklaussir2/severe-training-mix02/s-eTJ85#t=8:40
     
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  18. Dayn

    Dayn silly person

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    I want to go down to C#0 for a few of my songs, but I can't even get a tone I like out of my electric guitar for C#1 as it is. So E1 for guitar and E0 bass is what I'm working with.

    Unfortunately, my 35" scale bass can barely handle F#0. It would be fine, but the electronics don't support it as well as I like, even going direct into my computer. So while it works, and would work for many types of music, it doesn't work for my music. With those limitations, I'm just using a bass VST with samples that go to E0. It's probably not necessary, but I high-pass the fundamental on the bass and replace it with a sine wave to keep a tight low end.

    I like the low end rumble rather than playing in unison, so this is as best as I can do for recording at least until I get a Quake or something...
     
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