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stout71
Intermediate Member
Username: stout71

Post Number: 157
Registered: 7-2011
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 11:45 am:   Edit Post

Ok folks - So I've been in many situations where I've had to tune my whole axe down because the band I was in liked to do that. Easier on vocals? Perhaps slightly, but I think it's a cop-out. (My opinion.) I always just tweaked the neck slightly to compensate. Anyway, I may be getting into the same situation again but now that I have a 5 string, I'm concerned that it will start feeling like a rubber band. The Rotosounds PSD's I use only have 1 gauge of string for the 5 and it's 130. So I don't have the option of compensating by increasing the gauge. The scale is 34" and it's barely tight enough as it stands.

Has anyone else run into this situation and if so, what was the solution?
fc_spoiler
Senior Member
Username: fc_spoiler

Post Number: 1461
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 12:18 pm:   Edit Post

I share your opinion :-)

We also play 1/2 step down, no problem for the Alembics (50-70-90-110-130 R.Cocco strings on the Elan 5)
stout71
Intermediate Member
Username: stout71

Post Number: 158
Registered: 7-2011
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 12:23 pm:   Edit Post

But there is a discernable difference in tension and feel, no?
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 2979
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 12:49 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Pal !
I was ask to turn down 1/2 step once at the last minute for a whole set once with out prior warning for a "Guest Performer" while I was in a house band in the 1980's . (4 String)Tension wise , WET NOODLES came to mind as I played . I was relieved when the "Guest Performer " nodded an approval to me and smiled as he walked off stage. After that nights gig I asked our fearless leader to please warn me the day before so that I can bring a Bass equipped with heavier gage strings for such requests.
The next time around with that 1/2 step down tuning I was prepared with La Bella .052-.110 Flats (4 string) ,It worked much better that time.
5a_quilt_top
Intermediate Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 157
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 12:52 pm:   Edit Post

The main reason I use a 5-string is to avoid re-tuning - I change the fingering as opposed to re-tuning to compensate for key changes.

Like you, I have a 130 low "B" (D'addarios) and it's borderline floppy when tuned to standard pitch. To compound matters, my action is fairly low.

Use of a 5-string is critical for one of the projects I'm in now, which is vocal-driven. If a given song is in "G" and the vocalist isn't comfortable with it, we transpose the key and I change my fingering as required.

On a 5-string, usually no problem if it's 1/2 step either way - but the real difficulties start when the song is originally in "D" and it gets transposed to "B"...yikes...but that's another topic.

One big upside to this is it has forced me to learn alternate fingerings for my parts and this has improved my finger dexterity and expanded my knowledge of the fretboard.

It's fun when I discover "Hey, that's cool, I can also get there from HERE."
that_sustain
Advanced Member
Username: that_sustain

Post Number: 214
Registered: 8-2012
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 12:55 pm:   Edit Post

I haven't played a half step down in years. I remember it made the whole bass sound better.
stout71
Intermediate Member
Username: stout71

Post Number: 159
Registered: 7-2011
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 1:11 pm:   Edit Post

There is certainly a case for making a bass sound better, by any means necessary, but not at the expense of significant diminished playability. Granted, I am at work and the bass is at home. I haven't tried it but I wanted to get some feedback anyway. A wet noodle low-B makes me cringe.
briant
Senior Member
Username: briant

Post Number: 656
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2013 - 2:32 pm:   Edit Post

When I play my 5 string I just don't tune down. I play everything in standard tuning while the guitard players switch instruments/tuning. Problem solved.

With my current band I play my 4 string 100% of the time and we change tuning through the night to match the original recordings. I can go from standard E to D (D G C F) and the string tension gets a little squirrely but it's still very reasonable. However my basses are all 35" scale and in my experience that does make a difference when tuning down.
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2007
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 - 12:26 am:   Edit Post

One of the side benefits for me to playing a five-string was I didn't have to re-tune, or tune down for certain things. I just move to the key, done.

I'm not smart enough to use de-tuners on one string, and I'd never take time on stage to drop the whole thing a half-step for this tune, then turn right around and go back to normal for maybe the very next song on the list. Too much work ! Besides, it helps bust me out of that box of so many tunes in E or A or G.

Although these days, I wonder why there's not some rack-mount or floor pedal RE-tuner that would just transpose up or down your pitch output like those auto-tune guitars. Or a pitch correction piece like they tune vocals with for ham-fisted, not quite there yet, fretless players.

J o e y
that_sustain
Advanced Member
Username: that_sustain

Post Number: 216
Registered: 8-2012
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 - 1:46 am:   Edit Post

I'll never own another fiver. It's fine and dandy, until you try and fake a bunch of songs for a setlist or whatever. Gets confusing.

Actually, I can't see (ever) owning another bass than the one I have.
stout71
Intermediate Member
Username: stout71

Post Number: 160
Registered: 7-2011
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 - 5:13 am:   Edit Post

Transposition is always an option, but since it's rock (90's stuff, mostly), the lion's share of the songs are in E, A, D and G. Transposing everything a 1/2 step down means I'd never get to play in open tuning, which sucks. Plus I've played all these songs for going on 20 years. I have so many of them ingrained that I don't even have to think about it when I play them. Switching it up and re-learning everything is not something I really want to do. I'm gonna pull out the axe today and mess around with it, to see if it's really as bad as I think it will be.
fmm
Advanced Member
Username: fmm

Post Number: 376
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 - 6:00 am:   Edit Post

I donít tune down. I just play in the key weíre playing in. Unless thereís a note below the range of the bass thatís absolutely integral to the song, I just play it up an octave. On rare occasions, Iíve detuned my E down as far as a D, but then I have to think really hard <grin>. If I have to play lower than that, Iíll consider grabbing my 6 string.

I once played in a blues band where the guitarist wanted to get as close to Stevie Ray Vaughnís playing as he could (just donít ask me to exactly clone the bass lines Ė I donít do tribute bands). He had 2 guitars. I really didnít know (or care) _why_ he had 2 guitars, thatís his business. It turns out one of them was tuned down a half step. We were playing a frat gig where we had consumed our share of adult beverages. Prior to the last song, he breaks a string on his standard tuning guitar, and grabs the one thatís in Eb. I soon realize the difference between the 2 guitars, and make the shift down a half-step, but the song contained a unison riff that bottomed out on an open E. Oops. That was not an easy real-time edit after 4 hours of free beer.

Iíve run into a similar issue with folk guitarists who use capos frequently. Having never played guitar, the use of a capo strikes me as odd. The only reason I own one is for setups.

Thereís a folk band Iíve been subbing with where Iíve had to ask, ďWhat key are you singing this in?Ē, rather than ďWhat key are you playing this in?Ē because the guitarist insists heís playing in G even though heís got a capo on the third fret.

Our praise band guitarist also uses capos a lot. I give him flack about it, noting that jazz players figured out these chords a long time ago. We had one song with a modulation in the middle. He was using a capo. I asked him if he was going to stop in the middle of the song and reposition the capo.

Thatís exactly what he did.
keith_h
Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 1882
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 - 9:19 am:   Edit Post

I had a similar situation with the guitar player keeping two guitars. One in standard tuning the other a half step down. Not to be out done I kept two basses. ;-) I used my four string for anything in standard tuning or where transposition sounded ok and the fiver for transposing the remaining 1/2 step down stuff. Since the guitarist would would limit how often he changed guitars it worked out reasonably well.

Keith
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5491
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 - 9:22 am:   Edit Post

Another common name for a capo is a "cheater". I have a Veillette Gryphon, which is an 18.5" scale tenor 12 string guitar tuned in high D, the equivalent of the 10th fret on a standard guitar. It sounds sort of like a mandolin on steroids. Wonderful instrument. When I play with others, I have to transpose up a whole step, or use a capo. I never use the capo. Good mental gymnastics to keep the mind sharp, I say!

Bill, tgo
fc_spoiler
Senior Member
Username: fc_spoiler

Post Number: 1467
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 - 10:44 am:   Edit Post

Here's an "ampcheater" Youtube link
5a_quilt_top
Intermediate Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 158
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 - 11:15 am:   Edit Post

Re: floor pedal device that autotunes up or down.

Such a thing DOES exist. It's made by a company called Morpheus (remnants of Digitech, I believe).

There are two versions - the "Droptune" tunes down in 1/2 step increments and the "Capo" tunes up in 1/2 step increments.

Works pretty good for guitar, but I've never needed to try either on bass (see 5-string remarks above).

Re: capos - yeah that's the nifty little secret employed by the vocal-based project I'm in. Key change = no problem for the guitarist! He just grips, moves and releases. Presto, new key!
stout71
Intermediate Member
Username: stout71

Post Number: 161
Registered: 7-2011
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 - 11:31 am:   Edit Post

I've got a tweakable patch like that in my Boss GT-10B unit. It's another option, but I haven't played with it yet. Seems to me that playing chords would be a problem and the whole envelope would change. I'll check it out. I'll check the Morpheus one out as well.

As for the amp capo, I love it. Hello Cleveland!
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2010
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2013 - 11:41 pm:   Edit Post

But see, that's the other thing: I only play five-string, as I'm not smart enough to go back and forth between it and a four. I have friends in town that effortlessly play a four, grab a six, put that down and go to upright, etc. Can't do it. If I pick up a four, something's hopelessly missing, and I'm off a string, so it's set in stone (ought to be, went to fives in the 80's). Those Stevie Ray and Van Halen things, no problem, and it now seems very ironic those guys tuned down to record and play those bass lines on open strings.

I've never thought much about the floppy part of playing that B-string: It is what it is, and I just don't think of it at all. Strangely, the B makes my G feel too tight !

Why is it no one capos a bass ? ? ?

J o e y
adriaan
Moderator
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 3040
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, July 20, 2013 - 2:44 am:   Edit Post

Moder Dave capos his bass, and it's a 6er ...

IIRC, he uses a SpiderCapo XXL.
fmm
Advanced Member
Username: fmm

Post Number: 377
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, July 20, 2013 - 9:50 am:   Edit Post

I mostly play only four-string. If I think really hard (or rehearse really hard) I can use the six, but the spacing is too tight. The six mainly gets loaned out to students who want to mess around with more than 4 strings.

I have no problem switching from a long scale to the upright to the Ashbory and back again.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5492
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Saturday, July 20, 2013 - 9:56 am:   Edit Post

That Spider Capo is scary looking. Like it was designed during the Inquisition!

hehehehe

Bill, tgo
elwoodblue
Senior Member
Username: elwoodblue

Post Number: 1490
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Saturday, July 20, 2013 - 12:05 pm:   Edit Post

LOL Bill...exactly.
Do they really need to make it so pointy???

I'd be a little more than careful even bringing that into the same house as an Alembic in case someone besides me wanted to try and use it.
smuprof
Advanced Member
Username: smuprof

Post Number: 209
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Monday, August 05, 2013 - 7:18 pm:   Edit Post

Joey -

I play fretless occasionally. When I first started I was not confident (and rightfully so), and I actually tried your idea of running it through a TC Helicon pitch corrector for vocals. While it works well for vocals, it didn't seem "fast" enough for fretless bass. I don't recall playing particularly fast (although as I think about it, I guess vocalists don't sing articulate 8th notes), but it seemed to provide little correction, in essence "giving up" before providing any correction and/or the next note appeared.

I suppose part of the problem could be the bass frequencies, or perhaps my intonation was so bad it couldn't figure out what I was trying to play. :-)

Regardless, after trying it for about 20 minutes, I gave up and practiced more before the gig and was able to play passably well and still play fretless a couple of months out of the year.

JFT
edwin
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1605
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - 9:24 am:   Edit Post

I go from a 31.5" 4 string to a 35" 6 string to a 34" 5 string fretless. If you do it enough, it's not that big a problem, especially if the basses are very different. A Starfire is so different from a Modulus Q6 that the number of strings is the least different aspect of it.

The fretless has become a bit squirrelly as I don't play it much these days.
bigredbass
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2014
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, August 08, 2013 - 10:58 pm:   Edit Post

When I was coming up in East Texas, there was a beyond-fabulous local guy that played lined fretless, and had faultless tone and pitch. Like most newbies, I was a little intimidated by fretless. I picked his brain about it, and he was sure he could never play a 'blank' fingerboard-ed fretless, he needed the lines, and he advised if I went for it to play right on top of the lines as to be in pitch.

I was a little suspect of the advice to a point: I heard him many times in many situations, and he was always on the money. He told me he always tuned up at home, and if he was a little north or south of the band once he got there, he'd move ever so slightly to match them ! Sheessshhhh . . . . .

J o e y
rustyg61
Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 963
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Friday, October 11, 2013 - 12:35 am:   Edit Post

We used to play "Unchained" by Van Halen which is a drop "D" tuning & I used my Jazz Bass for that one song because tuning down to a low D on my short scale SCSD would be a nightmare! Now I have a 5 string & we quit playing the song! Go figure! LOL!
5a_quilt_top
Intermediate Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 186
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Friday, October 11, 2013 - 9:41 am:   Edit Post

Yeah, but you had a good excuse to get a 5'r.

Trust me, you'll find some other good use for it - especially if you join a project that changes keys frequently.
rustyg61
Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 965
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Friday, October 11, 2013 - 3:46 pm:   Edit Post

David, I have already put the 5er to good use incorporating it on 6 songs in our sets now! I bought a Schecter Stiletto Studio 5 to learn on, next up, a full custom Series II Europa 5!
5a_quilt_top
Intermediate Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 187
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 - 8:22 am:   Edit Post

Good move, buddy.

I'm currently awaiting my Europa 5 (with standard Europa electronics).

It's all paid for and it should be any day now that I receive the call "Your bass is ready to ship".

And no, the waiting is not any easier knowing it is this close to being in my hands...
rustyg61
Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 967
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 - 8:49 am:   Edit Post

Congratulations David! I would imagine the wait gets even more intense knowing it is close to shipping! I have been on pins & needles just waiting to hear on my loan approval, but I just got confirmation today that it is approved so my order will become official today!
jazzyvee
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 3665
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 - 11:43 am:   Edit Post

Excellent news Rusty, I will be watching the build thread when it starts.

Jazzyvee
sonicus
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3064
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 - 12:41 pm:   Edit Post

Rusty , Congratulations to you . I am happy for you as well !
rustyg61
Senior Member
Username: rustyg61

Post Number: 968
Registered: 2-2011
Posted on Monday, October 14, 2013 - 12:42 pm:   Edit Post

Thanks Jazzyvee! You played a big part in helping me realize this dream, so thank you very much!!
jacko
Senior Member
Username: jacko

Post Number: 3446
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Friday, October 25, 2013 - 7:19 am:   Edit Post

Just wondering if anyone here has tried DRs Drop down tuning strings on a fiver? see bottom of this link.
My new covers band plays everything a semitone down (singers voice) so I'm finding the B and E strings are a little loose . Been using DR black beauties for years and I'm heppy with DRs quality. Just thinking the DDT set should tighten everything up.

edit - would be looking at their 45-125 set

Graeme

(Message edited by jacko on October 25, 2013)

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