Tuning a 5 string to drop C

Discussion in 'Bass Guitar Discussion' started by Leberbs, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. Leberbs

    Leberbs SS.org Regular

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    Has anyone tried tuning a 5 string bass to drop C? (CGCFA) or (CGCFC)
     
  2. Zeno

    Zeno SZ Hunter

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    Just get the right strings for it, and you're good
     
  3. Leberbs

    Leberbs SS.org Regular

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    (.040 .060 .075 .095 .125) Is the smallest gauge I can find.

    I have a .130 for the low B at the moment and I know it can be tuned up to C. I'm not sure how much thinner I need the other 4 strings. Do I go thinner in increments of .005?
    (.030 .050 .065 .085 .120) ?
     
  4. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    You'll need a custom set to cope with the lowest interval being a fifth, use a tension chart to design one.
    Or, Kalium Strings are the only place that sells sets for any drop tuning possible:
    5 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. Steels also available. Only work with top-load bridges.
    Here's the tension chart http://store.kaliumstrings.com/TensionCalculator/index.html
    Perhaps the .130 set?
     
  5. Leberbs

    Leberbs SS.org Regular

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    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  6. Zeno

    Zeno SZ Hunter

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    Yeah, just find yourself a string tension calculator, and build custom sets. personally I like around 40 pounds of tension on each string, but that may not be the case for you
     
  7. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Here's a funny thing. A typical bass set is so imbalanced (very loose B, slightly loose E, very tight middle, tight trebles)
    len 34
    b0 .130 ckwnb == 36.01#
    e1 .100 ckwnb == 38.82#
    a1 .085 ckwnb == 50.2#
    d2 .065 ckwnb == 53.01#
    g2 .045 ckwnb == 46.58#
    c3 .032 ckwnb == 43.26#
    :ugh::scratch:
    that it makes an almost perfect set in string drop C with the 100 E string thrown away. So a typical set with the E gone is actually pretty good. Like Daddarios XL 165 6 set.

    len 34
    c1 .130 ckwnb == 40.42#
    g1 .085 ckwnb == 39.84#
    c2 .065 ckwnb == 42.07#
    f2 .045 ckwnb == 36.97#
    a2 .032 ckwnb == 30.59#

    Much better.
    A tad loose on the highest string. Maybe a 5 string set plus a single 34 or 35 would be nicer for you.

    Honestly this is one of the most balanced solutions around. Weird huh?
    I highly recommend Kalium strings though, with very similar gauges.

    The Kalium set linked above is good and a similar descending tension profile to what I just posted - but too loose overall in my opinion.
    BH-130-5DS - 5 String Sets - Standard Scale - Balanced Drop Tune Tension - Hybrid Bass Strings - Shop By Material - Electric Bass Guitar
    You can see this one has very similar gauges to what I suggested :)

    Kalium strings aside though, it's cool that there's such an easy overlooked solution for such a popular tuning as drop C.
     
  8. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    So the top string would normally be a Bb but you're retuning it down 1 or up 2 semitones?
    You could buy a custom set based on one of their balanced sets but drop the gauge of the top string by 1 increment to compensate.
    Custom sets are no more expensive at Kalium because they have no pre-packaged sets, every set is put together at order time. Another advantage of mail-order stings.
    The .130 set is medium tension (40 pounds) the .118 set is extra-light (33 pounds).
     
  9. hairychris

    hairychris Hairy Old Bloke

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    I tune to CGCFA on a 34 scale EBMM.

    I use a .130 for the C, then (I think) a .095 - .040 4 string set for GCFA. This is quite high tension, but seems to work ok!
     
  10. kipaenbe

    kipaenbe New Member

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    good info,Just get the right strings for it, and you're good ,thanks[​IMG]
     
  11. AliceLG

    AliceLG \m/^_^\m/

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    I'd go for the triple-C tuning and a regular 6-string set minus the E-string. Sounds reasonable enough to give it a try.
     
  12. Random3

    Random3 SS.org Regular

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    Not to derail the thread but I have a similar question.

    On my 5 string bass I have a set of .045-.135 strings. (.045, .065, .085, .135)

    I usually have the higher 4 tuned EADG with the 5th string anywhere from C down to A.

    I am doing some recording in the near future and I need something that can handle the either CGCFC or CGCFA, with the low C tuned down to an A on some songs. I assume that my current string gauges would be way too thick on the higher strings?

    Can anyone recommend string gauges that would suit that?
     
  13. olejason

    olejason SS.org Regular

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    Just curious, why do you need to tune the bottom 4 strings up? Wouldn't it be easier to just transpose the notes to whatever fret? Unless you need to do a ton of pedal tones on the open string or something.
     
  14. Random3

    Random3 SS.org Regular

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    If that was directed at me, my reason is that some of the material I have written is pretty difficult to play and has some needlessly big stretches when played in CEADG. I basically want the bass to sound as good as possible so doing weird fingerings in needlessly weird tunings I assume wouldn't be optimal.
     
  15. hairychris

    hairychris Hairy Old Bloke

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    In my case it's because the band that I'm in tune to Drop-C - the intervals they play are a lot easier with the drop tuning, and a lot of open-string stuff is written on all strings.

    Transposing is also a pain in the ass when learning or showing riffs.
     
  16. Low Baller

    Low Baller SS.org Regular

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    I have an audition that tunes drop C# I tune my five G#, C#, Ab, Db, Gb I have 135 and the Low B is just ok I know I can't go any lower without playing a rubber band. I have tuned up before I just feel it's hard on the neck I am sure it's fine that's just me. Plus I can go low tuned down.
     
  17. ixlramp

    ixlramp SS.org Regular

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    > CGCFC or CGCFA

    Weird, 3 people use these tunings, why the top string at A or C instead of Bb?

    Random3, see my previous advice. Also, a .145 will really help for the lowest if retuning between C and A. .145 is at minimum practical tension at A and not overly tight at C.
     
  18. leftyguitarjoe

    leftyguitarjoe Correct-handed

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    This probably isnt what you're looking for, but I just tune to ACGCF. I use the lowest string as a thumb rest. I play 5's because 4 string necks feel too skinny.
     
  19. ilyti

    ilyti Lazy Ryebread Viking

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    I quite like this tuning with my drop C: CDGCF. That's also how the bass is tuned in Wintersun. That is, D standard with the fifth string raised to C for pedaling along with the guitar riffs. The 4th and 3rd string are still a 4th apart for "standard" bass playing. It seems awkward to have the two bottom strings tuned so closely, but you just think of the C as the dropped string 4th string when you need it, and D as the non-dropped 4th string when it's more convenient. I use the same set as I use regularly for Eb.
     
  20. JeremyRodriguez5544998

    JeremyRodriguez5544998 Well-Known Member

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    Helpful thread. I used to think the top string couldn't be tuned higher than B! never thought it mattered on the strings.

    I'm a 6 string electric guitar player, so this is a whole new realm for me lol.
     

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