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Greggo

Anyone tune CEADG on a fiver?

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Let's be honest, the low B on a bass can be a floppy little fella on the majority of basses. I've certainly found this. I got a new 5 string CV jazz bass and the low B was predictably a bit rubbish, but I do find five's useful for me because I only have one bass for recording and I record in various tunings - E standard all the way to Drop C.

Which made me do an experiment recently which I'm quite happy with and can't believe I hadn't thought of it before. Tuning low B string up to C. The increase in tension has made it sound and feel better and I'm able to drop the saddle height a bit. It also sounds equal output when recorded now and none of the boominess.

Recording bass lines over drop C is better now because rather than using a fretted C like I was doing before I've got a nice fat open C note. Obviously position switching is a bit confusing at first but I've got used to it.

Anyone else ever done this?

 

I know I could get a heavier guage B, but this seems like a useful way for me to repurpose the low "B" so it's infinitely more useable with current guage and may become the norm for me

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If you're not using the G-string (ha-ha), you could just use a 4-string tuned to Drop-C:

CGCFA

I had been tuning a 4-string BEAD, but yesterday I decided that C-Standard was low enough.

 

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1 minute ago, Killed_by_Death said:

 

If you're not using the G-string (ha-ha), you could just use a 4-string tuned to Drop-C:

CGCFA

I had been tuning a 4-string BEAD, but yesterday I decided that C-Standard was low enough.

 

Not a bad idea actually,  though I think I'd miss the normal positions (EADG) for tracking anything in E standard. I tend to mostly treat the bass like I would a 4 when doing anything in standard but using the lower register for anything drop tuned. I definitely prefer the low B up tuned a semitone  though

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AEADG is my tuning, has been for over a decade. No flop. DR DDT heavy set on my basses.

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, TheLowDown said:

That would really mess with my OCD! The 5 string is asymmetrical as it is.

I know what you mean. I've actually played a 5 pretty much the whole time I've played bass. Around 1999 I got gifted an 80s Yamaha by my sister's fella while living away at uni, so I just kind of fell into using one, so when I bought a second bass around 2012 I opted for a 5 without thinking about it.

I did eventually get into 4 strings, although I just have one of each now, a 4 and a 5, many have come and gone!

Edited by Greggo

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31 minutes ago, Greggo said:

I know what you mean. I've actually played a 5 pretty much the whole time I've played bass. Around 1999 I got gifted an 80s Yamaha by my sister's fella while living away at uni, so I just kind of fell into using one, so when I bought a second bass around 2012 I opted for a 5 without thinking about it.

I did eventually get into 4 strings, although I just have one of each now, a 4 and a 5, many have come and gone!

Best way to be. 4 strings are standard and are used for almost all songs but 5 strings are very occasionally used, such as in in theatre work. It's good to regularly play both though because it gives your playing and way of thinking about the fretboard some flexibility. One of my rules of thumb is to only use the best tool for the job. Using a 5 or 6 string when a 4 string will do is like using the proverbial sledgehammer.

 

 

For the CEADG tuning, it would mean that I would have to reconfigure many of the patterns I have in my head. For example when I want to find a major 3rd, two of the places that I look would be one string down and 3 frets down as well as 2 strings down 2 frets up. With the CEADG tuning that would now find me playing a 4th and a tritone, respectively.

I would have to set up a special IF...THEN...ELSE condition in my head to get around it.

I don't go in for alt tuning for that reason.

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On 06/03/2021 at 13:42, Graham said:

I think @Monkey Steve did this or a similar tuning in a fiver for a gig

Almost

The band I was depping with had recorded their first few albums on 6 string guitars (and 4 string bass) down-tuned to C, so it was easy enough for me to tune everything on my five string up by a semi tone, and was playing C F A# D# G#

However, their latest album was recorded in E, so they would swap guitars and I would tune down by a semitone.  Didn't take that long, but it was annoying enough that I ended up bringing a four string tuned to E and just swapped between songs

I did try to persuade them of the benefits of going that extra half step down to a B, but they weren't having it.

Have to say, I didn't see any particular benefit in going up to a C, although after years of playing in a band which de-tuned half a step, where I really much preferred everything tuned to E rather than D#, and thus A# on my five strings, the extra half step up to C/F didn't seem like any sort of improvement from standard tuning

As for the OP, I echo what @TheLowDown says about it not feeling natural to tune the B string to a C but leave the others as E-G.  I also like having that extra note to go down to, and will regularly play a low B, so it's not for me

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If tuning a semitone up to C gives you a better feeling and sounding string, why not just pick a heavier string for B?

IMO most B strings in standard 5-string sets are too light to feel or sound right, and I've found that 130 is the minimum acceptable to me and ideally 135 is the way to go for a 40-100 G-E selection.

Having said that changing the tuning can also work and sometimes makes you come up with more interesting bass parts. I play Bass VI (6-string short scale bass tuned an octave lower than a guitar) but have it tuned EADGCE rather than the standard EADGBE, because we do quite a few songs in C and it allows me to use the high C as a drone string.

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I was in a doom band which played in drop c. On a 4 string jazz it was hardly decipherable to my ears but I bought a 5er Ibanez tuned up to c on the b it was tons better

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Turns out after a few days I couldn't adjust to the low string being C, so I tuned it back to B but was getting increasingly frustrated with the sound and feel of it through, it sounded really dead and thuddy, even with a fairly high string height.

Reinstalled string again to sanity check it wasn't twisted and set witness points again but issue the same.

Neck was fitted properly so not a neck pocket issue.

I had previously done a pretty thorough setup including lowering nut slots, setting relief and saddle's but thought best to go through it all again to troubleshoot the issue.

The action was fine on E - A - D, but G string was still a bit high and couldn't go lower because it had run out of adjustment on saddle and was still a tad too high relative to the other strings.

 

I decided to shim the neck at pocket end to get some adjustment back across all saddles and then take it from there. Doing this his has actually resolved two things. All the saddles are now able to be higher with the correct action so plenty of adjustment available and I could get G to where it needed to be.

Also, I'm not sure if it's because of the new neck angle, but it has made the B string feel a bit more taut and I was able to get it's string height proportional to the other strings and it now sound's correct! It's not flapping and the notes sound tighter.

I wasn't expecting to resolve the issue of the B with the shim, I did it more to sort gain more height on the saddles, but I'm very happy with the outcome!

 

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By being able to increase the height of the saddles you have changed the break angle of the strings and therefore made them less compliant which has helped with the feel.

OoI what gauge is your B string? As I said in my last post, IMO most B strings are far to light and therefore too low in tension when compared to the rest of the strings in the set. For a typical 40, 60, 80, 100 set the B string really needs to be 130 at a minimum and ideally 135 so that it starts approaching the same tension and feel as the E.

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29 minutes ago, BigRedX said:

By being able to increase the height of the saddles you have changed the break angle of the strings and therefore made them less compliant which has helped with the feel.

OoI what gauge is your B string? As I said in my last post, IMO most B strings are far to light and therefore too low in tension when compared to the rest of the strings in the set. For a typical 40, 60, 80, 100 set the B string really needs to be 130 at a minimum and ideally 135 so that it starts approaching the same tension and feel as the E.

I thought it might be something like that but didn't know the science behind it, that's good to know thanks. It's a 130 guage, so it's not exactly thin. Definitely a huge improvement not just in the B but the whole bass. I have shimmed guitars before but it's a lot more noticeable with this bass.

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Just now, Greggo said:

I thought it might be something like that but didn't know the science behind it, that's good to know thanks. It's a 130 guage, so it's not exactly thin. Definitely a huge improvement not just in the B but the whole bass. I have shimmed guitars before but it's a lot more noticeable with this bass.

No it's not exactly thin, but if you look at tension specs for those manufacturers that publish them, you'll find that in almost every case the D string is the highest tension and then the tensions decrease in turn as the strings get higher and lower, which means that the A sting will be lower tension than the D, the E string will be lower tension than the A and the B string will be lower tension still. To get a B string to approach the same tension as the E it has to be a lot thicker than 130.

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I think there are too many variables to point at just the string gauge - for instance, my favourite set are D'Addario EPS300-5, which ruins 43 - 107 for G to E, and the B is 127.  No tension problems, in fact a really good balance across the neck and the strings keep the zingy tone but with plenty of aggression when I need it.  I've never liked the tone of heavier B's, and it's the same on 7 string guitars, the heavier gauges seem to lose definition and give a booming, unbalanced tone in comparison to the other strings

YMMV

There could be other factors, to consider like scale length and even playing technique

 

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IME the string needs to feel "tight" to feel and sound good. That can be just tension or by being less compliant either through the construction of the string or by increasing the break angles over the saddles and nut. I've also found that having a taper wound string where the tapered section ends immediately the speaking side of the saddle helps a lot.

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