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De tuning for dummies, help please.


karlfer

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Not sure where to put this question, Mods feel free to move it obviously.

Some local musos have asked me to come to studio jams, just to keep your hand in really. The band I'm in, like most, aren't doing anything so why not every 2 or 3 weeks.

Anyway, guitar fella has a Ltd Ed Epi Explorer, everything has to be de-tuned cos he keeps breaking B strings apparently. I've never de-tuned.

MY CV 50's Precision has flats on it & my naive thinking is if I detune to D# G# C# F#, the flats will just have a bit less tension (obviously I'll do a set up to this tuning).

Am I being dumber than a rock?

Cheers.

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So long as you do a setup, that should be fine. Some basses can take downtuning easily, some will go all to pot with just a semitone down and need a lot of tweaking.

What's dumb is not getting that guitar looked at- the strings aren't breaking because they're tuned to standard (as they are designed to be). There is something not quite right with the guitar, and most techs will be able to find and fix it easily.

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27 minutes ago, Jus Lukin said:

So long as you do a setup, that should be fine. Some basses can take downtuning easily, some will go all to pot with just a semitone down and need a lot of tweaking.

What's dumb is not getting that guitar looked at- the strings aren't breaking because they're tuned to standard (as they are designed to be). There is something not quite right with the guitar, and most techs will be able to find and fix it easily.

 

22 minutes ago, Nail Soup said:

No, but the guitarist might be.

I don't see this as good reason to down-tune. Down-tuning should be done for musical reasons, not to work around gear issues.

Thanks guys.

Yup, had that conversation with him initially.  He maintains nothing wrong with his guitar. I maintain there is. 

He complains about the cost of strings 😂

I must admit it's a bloody nightmare playing along with a number that's in the right key, but I'm having to learn it a semi tone lower. It hurts my ears ☹️

Edited by karlfer
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47 minutes ago, karlfer said:

...he keeps breaking B strings...

Where do the 'B' strings break..? Most likely culprit, if it's at the bridge, is a slight burr on the bridge string saddle. A simple fix for a guitar tech, and easy enough for a clued-up guitarist, too. The best solution is to get the guitar fixed. It's worth it, as it's not, in itself, a bad guitar, and deserves sorting. Of course, if the fellow doesn't want to do that... :|

Just sayin, hope this helps. B|

Edited by Dad3353
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+1 to all the advice here. As a guitarist by training I'd say there's definitely a problem with the guitar. In truth I'm struggling to see how detuning a semitone would cure it.

Might be worth mentioning that in most styles the B string (along with the G) generally sees most of the string bends. As @Dad3353 suggests, the bridge saddle would be the first place I'd be looking.

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Do you need to detune? The one band I’ve played in the had a detuned guitar, I kept my bass in standard tuning. It meant the bass lines I was coming up with for the songs were more interesting.

of course if you need to do loads of octave/unison riffing with open strings then detuning might be the only way.

Edited by BigRedX
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Odd that, rather than him sorting out his issue, everyone else is expected to fit around him. I'd wager that, far from using a Brian May tanner, he is using a light pick and digging too hard into the strings. Used to play with a guy who did just that and who always broke strings because he pushed against them with his thumb in order to compensate for the fact that his cigarette paper pick would bend rather than shift the strings. Could never get it through to him that he needed to use a heavier pick and to improve/lighten his picking technique. But then, he was a guitar player...

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All the above have been considered, it's pretty much always the case when joining up with folk that you play what the guitarist has learnt.

I'm already thinking he's a bit high maintenance for what is effectively a musical kick about in the park.

Thanks for all the thoughts folks, appreciated.

 

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Let’s be honest, detuning is a fact of life for bass players (and guitarists of course) these days. I prefer basses set up in concert personally, but I’m currently in two bands that detune a half-step and one that plays a whole step down.

I once asked Jon Shuker about setting up a bass when you’re going to tune down and he told me that you should loosen the truss rod about 1/8 of a turn to detune a half-step.

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The covers band I play uses a few different tunings so for rehearsing and gigging I use one of these for one or two semitones down.  Dead easy and you can keep everything at std set up and tuning:

https://www.andertons.co.uk/guitar-dept/guitar-pedals/pitch-shifter-pedals/digitech-drop-pedal

Purists will of course hate it, and tbf I would never record with it, but it's fine for messing around with.  Everything from Greenday to slower stuff.

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13 hours ago, ead said:

The covers band I play uses a few different tunings so for rehearsing and gigging I use one of these for one or two semitones down.  Dead easy and you can keep everything at std set up and tuning:

https://www.andertons.co.uk/guitar-dept/guitar-pedals/pitch-shifter-pedals/digitech-drop-pedal

Purists will of course hate it, and tbf I would never record with it, but it's fine for messing around with.  Everything from Greenday to slower stuff.

When I returned to playing after, a very lengthy gap, the first gig I did the guitarist used one of those. It worked fine...until the derrière forgot to switch it back to standard tuning for the next song. 

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The only bass designed to be detuned all the way is this :

http://www.zonguitars.com/zonguitars/hyperbass.html

But get ready for new mortgage and a divorce...

Wow, this guitarist is really a ... guitarist !

Detuning because of string breaking : never heard something that stupid ... or selfish.

You know after 20 years, strings can break... sometimes. 🤣

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1 hour ago, Marvin said:

When I returned to playing after, a very lengthy gap, the first gig I did the guitarist used one of those. It worked fine...until the derrière forgot to switch it back to standard tuning for the next song. 

Yup always a risk.  I anotate the set list in big writing :D

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19 hours ago, karlfer said:

Apparently they break over the pickup. I don't really know this guy but I've had the nut and bridge saddle conversation.

I know if it was me I'd be sorting rather than deflecting but he's a guitarist.

That’s a new one on me. Strings usually break at stress points. Bridge or tuning peg. 

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I had an epi explorer, great guitar. Never broke a string on it, but mine was nicely set up. And I got decent strings. The guitarist is always saying how expensive strings are and how it is ok for me as basses don't ever have to change strings. I swear I change strings more often then him

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On 03/10/2020 at 11:59, karlfer said:

Not sure where to put this question, Mods feel free to move it obviously.

Some local musos have asked me to come to studio jams, just to keep your hand in really. The band I'm in, like most, aren't doing anything so why not every 2 or 3 weeks.

Anyway, guitar fella has a Ltd Ed Epi Explorer, everything has to be de-tuned cos he keeps breaking B strings apparently. I've never de-tuned.

MY CV 50's Precision has flats on it & my naive thinking is if I detune to D# G# C# F#, the flats will just have a bit less tension (obviously I'll do a set up to this tuning).

Am I being dumber than a rock?

Cheers.

 

It depends. Sometimes all you need is a small truss rod tweak and others more. 

What I don't get is... Shouldn't the guitarist get his guitar looked at? Detuning because you want to is one thing and that's cool, but if there's a problem, get it fixed. 

One of the guitarists in my main band kept breaking the B string too. He wanted to fix it by buying a new guitar. All it needed was a very soft file applied to the saddle.

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