• Dryope

    Down-Tuning on a Five-String

    hi everyone, hopefully one of you can help me out:

    me an my band play in drop-c and our bassplayer plays a 5-string bass (scale length is 34 or 35). since most of our songs are played in d minor (and therefore easy to play...as well as d- major or f sharp minor) they sound one step lower (therefore c-minor) making it verey hard for our bassplayer to incorporate open strings to his bassline....

    so my question bassically is: will tuning down two half steps on a five string (with a 34/35 scale) affect the intonation that much that a set-up is a MUST or is it more like a subtle difference that barely anyone would notice in a live or rehearsal situation ? (the lesser tension on the strings won´t be a problem)

    any input is highly appreciated and many thanks in advance since i don´t know anything about basses

    • TheDevilHimself

      I read that John Myung from Dream Theater tunes down one half step while Petrucci tunes the guitar to C standard. Apperently this helps Myung to play lines more easily.

      Then the guitar would be tuned


      and the bass would be

      A flat
      D flat
      G flat

      Apparently that works better for bass lines (don't ask me how, though). I think the guy from In Flames does the same.

    • TonyFlyingSquirrel

      Tuning down affects the tension, which will affect the neck adjustment, and since it makes the waveform longer, you'll need to do a re-intonation as well.

      Usually doing a setup for downtuning by a whole step or more starts with increasing the guage of strings at least by one size, tune to desired pitch, adjust neck for straightness, check the action, re-set intonation (note: before stretching out the strings), then re-check the neck for straightness, re-check action, re-check intonation, if intonation is fine and playability is optimum, you're in good shape.

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